Our little Phillip had complained about his nightmares for weeks. Lisa suggested we take him to a doctor. I resisted. I had nightmares when I was his age. Awful ones – ones that, to this day, I still shudder to recall. It seemed poor Phillip was more like his old man than his mom and I had hoped.
In an abandoned house about ten miles south of our high school, deep in the woods, there’s a bedroom that is always wet.
On the surface, it sounds unremarkable. Woods. Abandoned house. Water. Leaks. Wet bedroom.
Go inside, though, and you’ll realize it’s a little more complicated than that. A little harder to explain.
The water in that room clings to the floor and walls and ceiling in heavy, gelatinous globules. Touch one and it’ll break, spilling foul-smelling water on you. I made that mistake the one time I visited on my own. It takes days to get that stink off. Continue reading “Wet Bedroom”
I have a condition called “dermatographia.” It is what it sounds like: you can “write” on my skin. It’s not as bizarre as it looks. All it means is I get scratches very easily. If I run my fingernail across my skin, I’ll get a raised, red trail. It doesn’t hurt or bleed and it goes away after a half hour or so. Still, it’s pretty noticeable.
Kids used to make fun of me at school, as they’re wont to do with anything they find new or weird. It wasn’t too bad, though. Nothing traumatizing. I’m grateful for that, because as I got older I realized how great a bar trick it was.
Maybe that makes me a little weird. I’m okay with it.
I’m going to dispense with the backstory because I need to talk about what’s been going on lately. The other day, I woke up with a word on my stomach. It said “soon.” Continue reading “Dermatographia”
“Not all men are rapists,” my Dad would grunt as he scrolled through his friends’ Facebook profiles and read the articles about sexual assault they’d posted.
“Not all men are abusive,” my Dad would mutter as he did research to disprove the domestic violence statistics that bothered him so much.
“Not all men are like him,” I’d mouth to myself, as Dad threw Mom across the room for having the temerity to contradict something he’d said.
After hurting her one night, he came to my room a few hours later. “You’re a sweet boy,” he told me. “I know you’d never harm a woman, no matter how much she deserved it. Not all men are like me. You don’t have a temper.”
We weren’t allowed to leave our home; the suited men were everywhere and kept insisting it was for our own safety. They wouldn’t give us a hint about what was going on.
Being right across the street, I stayed glued to my front window. It was fascinating at first. Then interesting. Then tedious. Still, I felt like I had to keep watching. There was something going on in there and I needed to know what. Nothing on television gave any indication something was wrong. Our cell phones had no service. It was as if the signals were being blocked.
Toward the end of the first day, I’d started to feel a surprising amount of apprehension. My wife, too. It felt as if we were about to receive terrible news, despite not having any reason to. Continue reading “Last Weekend”
When the little ghost first starting coming to me, he whispered nice things that made me feel good.
“You have pretty hands.”
“I love how you do your nails.”
“How did you get your skin to be so smooth?”
He stayed with me all day and all night. As the days went by, though, I must have done something to make the ghost angry. Instead of mawkish pleasantries, the messages grew negative.
“I’ve seen other girls with prettier hands.”
“What happened to your nails?”
“I’m sorry your skin looks so dry nowadays.”
I started to get upset. I’d grown fond of the little ghost. Since he’d always been so positive, it was comforting. But once he started to get mean, I wondered what I’d done wrong. I didn’t want my ghost to feel like I’d disappointed him. Continue reading “The Little Ghost”
“Under every scrap of confining skin is the potential for escape. When life grows from your husk, you, in turn, may be reborn.” -William James Lemaire: Seeding the Verdant World
It had been so, so long since my soulmate had felt anything resembling escape.
We sat and talked about the process that would surely end his life. Our Benefactor, William, had proposed this journey to us at our final meeting. William, who’d given so much of his time and energy to the wretched around him, was generous in imparting his wisdom. He believed my soulmate could be saved – but only if he gave his life to the Verdant World. I remember looking at the swaying trees and long grass around us – trees and grass seeded by the numberless Saved. It was a defining moment.
“Grow what we love in whom you love.” -William James Lemaire: Seeding the Verdant World
I kissed the lips of my soulmate before removing them. He didn’t move. Tears sprouted from the corners of his closed eyes. The sweet taste of his kiss lingered as I poured honey in and around his new mouth. The honey was from bees which had pollinated the flowers grown from other Saved. The cycle was continuing with us. We whirl the wheel. Continue reading “Escaphism”