Categories
fiction sketches

We’re Being Eaten

J– is studying at the kitchen table, pencil scribbling, lamp-lit, while the things slide in from the back yard. They slide out from holes we never noticed before (or maybe we always knew they were there, burrows with milk-gray wrinkled things inside, like overlarge moles, like leftovers we forgot about). J– needs to pass this test because she owes far too much already, and her children sing softly to each other under the covers because the night is too dark. When the things push their noses through the sliding glass door, she clamps down her gaze to her notes, arcane scribbles of magic that might save her, but such talismans can’t stop the barbed yellow teeth that bite through her ankle.

M– is sitting in the park, sipping, his silver flask glinting off the halogen lamps, wondering what to do next now that everything is gone. He hears the things slide up from under the leaves (like skinks or snakes. They’re so large but they only make a slight shushing sound. It must be, he thinks, because of the slime.) He picks at the hole on his right elbow, a twist of thread in his blazer that’s come unraveled, and he thinks of how much it took to get this blazer in the first place, how much he had to give up. The things snake under the bench and needle narrow-tipped fingers through the gaps to poke at his haunches. Their mouths water.

Q– closes the blinds. They avoid the broken slats, not just because they can’t be caught squatting but because the things slide through the streets, a slow tide of sludge, their entangled bodies twisting around each other like a mole rat king. The bloodied parts of meals are dragged along the tide, arms and feet and noses, shreds of clothing, workplace badges, uniforms. Q– tapes up the gaps between the doors and walls, stuffs blankets between the cracks, whatever they can find, and under a tiny lamp they write letters to anyone who may still be left. The letter will be thrown into the air, tossed into the sewer grate whenever they dare venture out again. The shushing sounds move over the door. They do not expect a reply.

Categories
fiction journaling

The Things in Ozymandias’ Shack

Old toasters, broken Rolex watches, reclaimed pallets, Prada bags shredded by biting winds and hail storms, cracked cell phone casings, hamster cages, Ed Hardy shirts hung up on the walls like ancient scrolls, mardi gras beads, BMW hood ornaments, caviar jars (empty), shake weights, plastic hurricane glasses from that one trip to Vegas, Turkish rugs, Burberry scarves, diamond tennis bracelets with half the diamonds lost, bottled water (empty), coffee tins, record players, the bones of past housecleaners, perfume bottles, rubber chickens, crack pipes, Cuisinarts, the deed to the timeshare, gold-plated uzis, marble countertops, one smart fridge wearing a blue screen of death, champagne (empty), tiny spoons, lace underwear, and, of course, Ozymandias himself.

Categories
fiction

To the Apocalypse, she took

To the apocalypse, she took with her an oversized beach towel, heavy and orange, bought for ten dollars at a discount bulk supplier before the starving rioters burned the building down. The towel had pineapples printed on it: stark geometric patterns of yellow triangles and vivid neon green leaves. The towel was very warm when the snowstorms hit without warning, and it dried the sweat from her head when the heat slaughtered her neighbors. She saved all the water it soaked up.

Eventually, the towel became the sigil of her gang, and her gang flourished. They waved flags filled with rows of fat fruit depicted in triangles while they ate mud and moist cardboard left over from the snows. (The cellulose kept them going, a favorite in her youth, although she didn’t realize she was getting so much in all the parmesan cheese she bought in bulk). But she remembered the pine-apples, told takes of them–pi-napples, pi-nap-els, and they sang the word like a sacred chant. They dreamed of soft,golden sugar dripping over dry tongues.