Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams

Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: August 2013

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Audition

Billy stared. "What happened?"

"Bowled my fingers off." Cecil lifted his left hand to show the missing two fingers; the stump of a thumb.

Billy's eyes widened. "Really?"

Cecil shrugged. "Show me and Antony what you got."

Billy stood and hiked up his jeans, patched roughly with them iron-on jobs that peel at the edges. He plugged his fingers neat into the ball, lifted it and did some kinda' two-step.

"You got ants in yer pants?"
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Tuesday, August 20, 2013


"A stranger approaches from the east!"

Before the war, strangers were welcome. Now...

"Haste, Marcus."

I hurry along the grassy path leading to the village's center.

The baker is here already, a dusting of flour on his skin. The ironworker clenches a hammer in his hand. The mute healer sits on the ground, herbs spread upon her lap, hair wild, eyes wilder, rocking to a rhythm she alone can hear. Wrapped up in her visions, the healer never sees the world as it truly is.

"The stranger wears the brand of wealth." The sentry approaches with a woman. "Clean and sturdy boots. Nary a patch upon her dress. Pale skin. Clear eyes."

I look up and into the eyes of my sister Sauren.

"Marcus," she whispers.

"Kill her."

The healer looks at me, her rocking ceased.

"Her city has been built upon the backs of our people," I say. "She has trod through her world in pretty lambskin boots, made, no doubt, by Wynne." I gesture to the bootmaker. "And what does Sauren do in thanks? Cuts off Wynne's hand."

Sauren's husband couldn't keep his hands off Wynne's round bottom as she'd knelt before him measuring his feet. 'Get your hands off that vile creature,' Sauren had said. And Wynne had dared to speak. 'I'm not dirty, Miss. Just poor.'

"Sauren's actions started this war," I say to the healer.

"Please, Marcus," Sauren says.

My sister had cut off Wynne's hand because it was in her power to do so. Was I doing the same? Even among the woodspeople, there is power and hierarchy and thirst for recognition. "No." I turn as the sentry raises his sword. "Stop." The people of the village gaze at me. "A change in sentence, perhaps. Wynne is in need of an apprentice. Sauren, meet your employer. And your niece."

Wynne smiles broadly and Sauren commences crying, although from relief or resignation or sadness, I do not know.

The healer returns to her herbs and recommences her rocking.

This was written for this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge. The word was brand.

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Things More Easily Understood

"Why did he do it, Gramps?"

The man sighed. No amount of education or experience could prepare someone for this. "When your daddy came back, he couldn't grasp the fact of what he'd done." He cleared his throat and spat. "What he'd been made to do. He'd sit for hours in his hickory rocker on the front porch."

"He made that," the boy said, pride in his voice.

"He did. He sat in that rocker, staring wide-eyed over the farm as if he'd never known it. He couldn't hold onto a conversation; couldn't hang onto the ideas that swirled around his head like golden threads just out of his reach. Do you understand?"

"A little." The boy pictured his father, poised behind a computer monitor, pressing a joystick to send bombs raining down over neighborhoods and onto buildings full of people just setting down to their dinner. He wondered if they liked fried chicken, where his father had been, and the apple pie his grandfather managed to coax from the oven every once in a while.
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Friday, August 9, 2013


She stands at the window waiting for the trash men to remove the detritus of her life. She'd hidden the last tooth among broken eggshells, swollen coffee grinds, and the bones of chickens.

 This was written for this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge. The word was tooth.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Clouds of white bloom in Charlie's coffee, the colors blending: dark to light; light to dark. Outside, snow begins to fall. Fat flakes land upon the grass and dissolve immediately: white to clear.

There's a knock at the door of the cabin. He remains still, expecting no one. He hasn't seen a human being since he went to town three weeks ago.

The knock again, more insistent. He sips his coffee and waits for the person to go away.

The doorknob turns. The door swings open. A woman stands there, wearing a down jacket and a striped scarf. She unwinds the scarf from her face.


"I've been looking for you for four months."

"Here I am."
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