A Fall – a story

rough draft of a story i wrote this week before finding out about the loss of a friend who took their own life. this story feels very raw and real to me but i think there’s a sort of truth in that that maybe someone can get somthing from. 

There was no flash.

No revelation.

No playback of life’s good, bad, or ugly.

There was only anger, rage, pain, and the fall.

The fall.

 

I’d like to tell you that there was something that made me do it. Some cataclysmic something that was the final straw, that was the final proof for me.

I’d like to tell you that the reason was enough, was enough to make everyone understand why, why, why.

I’d be lying though.

I can tell you that it was the culmination of years and years of something burning in me, beneath the surface, consuming my memories, my dreams, and my relationships until it finally broke through to the surface.

I can tell you that the occasional thoughts turned to day dreams turned to fantasies turned to reality.

I can tell you that a vague flower of sadness had blossomed into a flowering mushroom cloud that wiped out reason and left only action.

I can tell you it was a mistake I intended to make.

It wasn’t sadness or pain that guided me though but rage, pure, black, self-directed rage. It was the need to punish myself for another mistake, another fuck-up, real or imagined. I needed to hurt myself in order to hurt the world. There was no darkness that took me over though, there was just me and that fire in me that had finally gotten out of control.

When I think about it, when I force myself back to those moment, because that’s what they were really, moments, it seems like a dream.

A nightmare.

My body a sparking wire, movements spastic, mind a shark searching out prey. I stormed into my apartment and searched everywhere for something, something, something…THERE!

I grabbed a detached electrical cord and quickly rushed to my closet and pulled open the door that was already ajar. I pulled coats and shirts out with my free hand and threw them onto the carpet until there was a small open space before me. I took the thin black cord in both hands and wrapped it around the closet rod and looped the two ends and created a knot. I started to make a loop but was struck by a thought and dropped the cord and turned to scan the one room apartment again. There, on the floor I saw it and rushed over and grabbed a dirty sock and then returned to the closet. I stepped within the darkness, crowded by clothes I never wore, and turned to face out once more.

There it all was, my life in clutters and piles.

Clothes.

Books.

Movies.

Music.

A discarded guitar.

An abandoned basketball.

A forgotten suit, piled in a corner.

An unmade bed.

Unwashed dishes.

Dirty clothes mixed with clean.

I looked at it and all there was was hate and rage and it was with pure clarity that I wrapped that cord around my neck with the sock against my throat, and tied it off.

Just in case, a part of my thought, just in case it didn’t work I didn’t want to crush my windpipe or voicebox.

Just.

In.

Case.

I tied the last knot and let myself drop, pulling my legs up as I did and I fell.

I fell.
The cord pulled taut and there was a moment where I hung before my weight snapped proved too much and my noose snapped. My knees connected with the floor and pain ran down my shins and up my thighs. I fell forward into an abandoned pizza box and let out a rage filled sob.

I pushed myself up onto my knees, broken cord around my neck, and struggled to my feet, legs aching. I stumbled forward, intent on finding another way, some other way to do it. Tears ran down my eyes as I searched everywhere for something, something, ANYthing that could just end me.

That could make the pain that seemed so bottomless go away.

I fell onto my knees and let my shoulders slump.

I couldn’t even do this right.

All that came then were tears.

I closed my eyes and saw the face of my mother, ten years dead but smiling at me from a long-gone birthday.

Back when I was still a kid with the sky in my eyes and the sea in my heart.

Christ.

 

I opened my eyes and my eyes caught a picture of my brothers and me at a baseball game, laughing, beers raised.

I clenched my fist and punched at the floor and stood on wobbly legs and put my hand down on my dresser and looked down and saw my hand on a letter from an ex that had tracked me down, wanting to know how I was. A letter that even now, after everything, after two weeks, still had me laughing.

I wiped a hand across my eyes and looked outside and caught sight of the setting sun and that was all I needed because it meant the day was ending. And if this day was ending then that meant there was a tomorrow.

It meant I’d have a tomorrow.

Tomorrow.

I made my way to my bed and sat heavily onto it and closed my eyes and started untying the noose from my neck and in the darkness of my mind I saw dad, napping on a lazy Sunday like a cat in the sun. I opened my eyes and looked around my apartment and put my focus on that and nothing else.

One moment.

One thing.

One day.

One at a time.

Like an addict drawn to death.

One day at a time.

I took a deep breath, wiped my face again, and then stood and started cleaning my place up.

…c…

 

 

 

Wanderer – a story

This is a wee tale. First draft. Very rough. Me working out some ideas and seeing what is there. There’s the seed for another story planted here if I ever have time to swing back to it. We shall see. 

He wasn’t sure when his choice had become his fate.

He wasn’t sure when the distant hum in his head became a voice and then a chorus.

He wasn’t sure when the bottle stopped being a party and became a sentence.

He wasn’t sure of much anymore, just that some days it felt as if the fog had cleared from his head and he found himself in a place he didn’t recall and he wasn’t sure where he had been, where he had come from, and how he had come to be where he was.

And it shook him.

To his core.

To his faith.

To the bottom of himself

To sobriety.

But it never lasted.

The fog came back.
The voices returned.

And both seemed to be at the bottom of the bottle.

And they helped, the smiling faces, the nodding heads, and the open wallets.

Helped as much as they could.

But he wasn’t able to return their gestures.

Unable to repay their kindness with the truth because the truth was a sea he had not sailed in how many days, or weeks, or months, or even years.

He couldn’t even remember his age.

So he’d lie.

He lost his job.

He lost his family.

He lost his love.

He tuned out, he gave up, he walked on.

It was different every time, his earnest responses met with a pat on his shoulder and a knowing nod.

On and on and on he went, never sure where he was going, just that it was forward.

He has always seen himself cast in the part of victim in this play, as the man slighted by god, by society, and by his fellow man.

The truth of that lie though was revealed to him one day when the clouds cleared for him as he lay next to the bodies of two dead teenagers.

They couldn’t have been older than fifteen.

They could have been his children.

His daughter and son.

Their heads had been caved in, presumably with the shattered cinder block he was holding in his hand, their blood thick and sticky on his hands and face.

Their wallets were still on them.

There were no drugs around that he could find, and no booze.

The only clue he had was the change that was scattered around the bodies.

He looked around and saw that he was at the end of an alley full of piles of trash and burned out lights.

He wept beside them as he it slowly dawned on him that this probably wasn’t the first time he’d hurt someone.

He just couldn’t remember.

His left arm was itching and he looked down and saw there were two fresh cuts in the skin that were red and inflamed.

Two fresh cuts to go with four other cuts that were scarred over.

He took the boy’s wallet and the cash from the girl and covered them up with some boxes, the best burial he could offer them.

It wasn’t fair.

This wasn’t fair.

But if there was someone who understood how unfair this world was it was him, so maybe it was fitting that he was the one to usher them into the darkness.

And the clarity would fade, and the voices would get louder and they would drive him forward, telling him where to go and what to do as he slept deep within.

Trapped within the madness.

Trapped within his cage.

But as he shambled out of the alley and down the darkened city sidewalk a chilling thought came to him, a question that asked if these moments of clarity were not his true personality, his true face.

The face of the killer.

The face of the monster.

The voices were the lie, the sweet whispers to lull him back to sleep to keep him safe.

To keep him buried.

To keep him dead.

 

…c…

ROAD MAP – a story

So this is where they put in those trigger warnings, right? OK. This is a story about cutting. If that’s not a topic you want to read about then please turn away now. Otherwise, this is Road Map. This, like all my stories on here, is a first draft. Accept it as such. 

ROAD MAP

When I was young the setting of the sun meant an ending.

The end of the day.

The end of adventure.

The end of fun.

It wasn’t until I was older and was taught the magic of night, the mystery of the moon, and the dangers of darkness that I learned that the setting sun is just one part of a cycle of life and death, death and life, one stepping aside to give the other the stage.

I went from running in the street, playing in a yard, and screaming at a lake to smoking in the woods, drinking in the backseat, and fucking in a field.

Maybe the old me had to die to birth the new me.

Some days I like that, that transition.

Other days I hate it.

Today I hate it.

Today is a red day.

They aren’t all red, which is why I never go deep, but a lot of them are red, which is what leads me to the relative darkness of my room in the first place.

Privacy, something I was never really afforded as a kid, feels like it is everywhere as an adult. The places I can go that I couldn’t before. The things I can do. The fact that I can close a door and not have someone feel the need to open it because they can.

It was my door.

I paid the rent to have that door and even if I shared the apartment, that door was still mine.

As was the dark.

I didn’t always love the dark but red days I did.

Loved it as much as I hated it.

That’s why I started painting, with my skin as my canvas and a blade as my brush.

It was a friend that opened that particular door.

A friend long gone now, drowned in their paint, but someone whom I loved, and missed, and who helped form who I am.

For good or ill.

I saw the scars on her legs once, after we’d played a gig together, and I reached out to touch them, instinctively, without even thinking, and she recoiled from me, dropping her guitar over her thigh to hide it, not realizing her shorts had climbed high enough to reveal what had clearly been a secret.

“Why?” I asked.

And she answered simply.

“Because there are things that tears, and words, and music, and nothing else can speak life to. Only pain can. Only blood can.”

She looked around to see if anyone was near but we were sitting on the back stoop of the coffee house and no one was out here but us smoking heathens. She pulled out a tissue from her back pocket and opened it to show me a razorblade. I leaned in and saw the red on its edge.

I asked her to show me.

Fascinated by this.

Drawn to it.

I think she thought I was turned on at first but I wasn’t.

I am not.
But I was drawn to it like it was fire.

She pulled the blade out and looked around again before moving her guitar aside and sliding the blade against her thigh. I watched as her skin tore open and a thin line of red appeared and then wept gently down her leg.

She hadn’t cut deep but she had cut.

She went to do it again and I grabbed her hand.

As drawn as I was I was also scared.

She smiled at me.

“Oh, you never cut deep. Not unless you want to drown. This is just swimming for me. Not drowning.”

And it was.

I watched has her legs and then her upper arms became a roadmap of whatever she was dealing with.

I never quite knew what set her off.

Happiness or sadness or both.

Eventually she started to swim out deeper and deeper and I couldn’t keep up.

We stopped playing shows together.

We stopped going for coffee at all hours.

We stopped catching each other when we fell.

I watched the scars deepen.

I watched her friends change.

I watched her eyes change.

The last time I saw her I knew she was looking to drown.

We were booked to play the same night at a new bar. I hadn’t realized I had booked to directly open for her. She was the headliner, I was the middle act, and some guy who played Uke was booked first. She was the headliner. She booked the gig.

All of the songs she played were happy.

They were love songs, they were dance songs, they were things that she would pepper into her performance but never lean on. I watched her from the back of the bar, nursing a whiskey and sour about having to play the gig but I was in awe of her. She owned these people.

She owned me.

It was the best I had ever seen her play.

When it was done the bar had made her do two encores because the crowd demanded it. I went to see her, to talk to her, to see if she was better, had changed.

I caught sight of her as she was getting into a cab with a couple other women who’d played backup with her, she waved at me and was gone.

And then she was gone.

She drowned a week later.

They found her in the tub of one of the girls.
She was drunk.

She’d done a sloppy job.

There was blood everywhere.

She became the new posterchild for tortured artists and suddenly people wanted her bootleg tapes and CDs. Her last performance became the stuff of legend. The stuff of masturbatory prophecy.

But I was there.

And it was legend.

But it was also tragic.

And it broke me.

It was painting that saved me.

Painting lead to where I am.

A map to a road I had never taken, to a roadmap I needed to write.

A story written as song.
A song written as prose.

So I dove into the red water to see how it felt.

The first time I went too deep and just barely made it to the ER before it was too late. I struck a vein with my pocket knife but was able to stumble the fourteen blocks to safety. I was embarrassed but they were scared.

An Attempt, they called it.

They knew who I was, that singer that knew that other singer, so they nodded and patted my back. It was two months after she had died.

I wasn’t famous but in the city,  I was known.

I was patched up, I was given the card of a Professional, and I was sent home to rest.

‘No partying’, they said, seeing me as a typical artist with an addiction.

My addiction though was my disconnectedness.

I wanted no one.
Nothing.

Being a performer there were always people wanting to talk, play, touch, kiss, fuck, or take.

There were always drugs.

Always drinks.

Always something.

I wanted nothing.

The music had been my refuge.

I wasn’t me on stage, I was a performer hiding behind an acoustic guitar.

I was a second name on a bill.

But now that she was dead the spotlight had tipped my way because I had been so close to her.

I was the next hot falling star.

I hated it.

I stopped playing.

I picked up shifts at a diner downtown.

I hid in my room.

But they wouldn’t stop calling, or writing, or coming by.

And I needed to play.

So I painted to build a bridge between me and the performer I pretended to be night after night.

I was lucky in that I made enough performing that taking these side gigs could just be for extra dough or for a break. I wasn’t rich, by any means, but I was lucky, and I was good, and I had the zeitgeist, at least for the moment.

And it felt dirty, but I didn’t abuse it.

I didn’t write some fucking opera about her. Or make anything about her or my pain over her loss.

No.

I sang.

I just sang.

My songs.

Other songs.

Once in a while one of hers, when it felt right.

And I missed her.

But the painting helped.

 

After that first dive I realized that that was my bottom, or close.

I had been pulled under and had to be careful not to go under again.

I wasn’t ready to die.

I just wanted release.

So I didn’t go deep.

I sat in the dark, listening to one of her tapes, the first one she made, she and I splitting the cost to record, she getting one side of the tape while I got the other, and it was there, in the dark, engulfed in her memory, that I started making my map.

I started on my thigh, like she had, but over time the map changed as I changed.

Relationships guided it.

Heartbreaks.

Successes.

Failures.

The record contract that never got signed.

The one that did.

All of it chronicled across my legs, my stomach, my chest, my arms.

Tiny slices that stung as the blade dipped into the ink and burned as the air hit the cut.

It didn’t make me feel good, doing it, no, but it was release.

It was focus on something other than me and the bullshit that I was.

I would look into the mirror and see the failures and fuck ups.

In the darkness I could make my own red dawn, a crying sun that would burn into my skin and create another piece of the roadmap of my life and one day I would be able to run my fingers over it all and know where I was and who I was and what had made me.

I was lucky, like I said, in that my gigs allowed me to cover up anything that I didn’t want seen.

Sure, I liked to fuck, who doesn’t, but I did it at clubs, or in cars, or anywhere it was dark and where there was no need to talk.

I didn’t want a relationship.

I didn’t want more heartbreak.

I had had my fill.

I just wanted release.

I never cut too deep, just deep enough to leave a scar.

Deep enough to carve more of the map.

Sometimes I went too far, carving at myself like I was a pumpkin, stabbing and gouging behind a veil of rage filled tears.

I hated those times because it meant recovery, and rest, and it meant me reflecting on what the fuck I thought I was doing.

I knew what happened to my friend.

Is that what I wanted?

No.

I wanted a sunset that lead to a night that lead to the day again.

I didn’t want one or the other.

I wanted the cycle.

The cutting let me live through a red night while the scars were my dawn, my reminder that I survived with the knowledge that if things got hard, there was always darkness to hide within.

Maybe it was sick.

Maybe it is.

But it’s me.

It’s my addiction.

My release.

My red bliss.

I don’t want to die.

I just don’t want to live like anyone else.

I want to live like me.

And the only way to do that is with a roadmap.

…c…

A Girl In A Coffin – a poem

I was selling my wordy wares at an event some friends and I cooked up this past weekend and during the day I wrote this creepy little missive to underwater love. 

A Girl In A Coffin

A girl in a coffin

Lives in the bay

Though no tongue she still has

Much she can say.

Of Whsipers

Of Passion

Of Promises

Of Lies

Of all of the reasons that all of us die.

 

A girl in a coffin

In a water grave

Long dead though she is

She has something to say.

The Reasons

The Places

The Hows and the Whys

And maybe the answer

To why she had to die.

She loved the wrong woman, or maybe wrong man.

Or the right one perhaps

If answer, she can.

Or she picked the wrong coffin,

To lay in and nap.

Or maybe she lies.

Maybe it’s a trap.

 

You’ll find her in water

Both deep and quite cold.

You’ll find she is lovely,

Though covered in mold.

Her beauty they spoke of

In song and in poem.

And even once in,

A damnable tome.

You’ll find her hands grasping,

Her body calling your name.

Maybe you’ll fall

Prey to her game.

You’ll find her lips

Wanting

And

Waiting

And

Patient

And

Yours

If only you’ll love her

Till you breathe no more.

…c…

Bunni – a story

Bunni didn’t like her name, though that seemed fair because her family didn’t like that she told everyone that listened she was a girl. 

Bunni wasn’t born a girl but she was fourteen now and she figured she knew better than them, didn’t she? Yes, she did. 

Mom and dad had been living with Bunni, who her parents had named Tomas, for eight months now and while they didn’t like the way things were they also knew well enough that if they fought her on it they’d just entrench her deeper. That was how they saw it, not seeing that maybe instead of a weed, Bunni was a flower that had just now blossomed. Mom had been in a band when she met dad, who had been managing a store in the local mall. They wouldn’t tell anyone that it was love that brought them together but it was, well, something, and it was enough, and when Tomas came it was just barely enough. It was when Tomas’s sister Carly was born that they realized that love may not have brought them together but it was what kept them together. 

Carly was different. 

Bad different. 

Different in the way that she was never going to be in a public school. 

Different in that she’d never have a first date, or dance, or kiss. 

Different in that the doctor said she wasn’t going to make it to ten. 

When Carly came the fractured family became whole as they rallied together. 

That was why they learned to live with Bunni. Not because their punk rock pasts has opened their minds more than other people, because as they aged they realized how false that flag was, no, it was that they knew there’d be a day when Carly was gone and they didn’t want to lose Bunni too. 

The rest of the family hated Bunni though. 

Freak, that was the big word they used, though there was another one she had heard as well that started with the same letter but was directed at her interest in who she wanted to kiss. 

What they didn’t know is she didn’t want to kiss anyone. 

Boy or girl. 

All she wanted was to just be herself.  

To wear dresses and makeup and cute shoes and pants and tennis shoes and whatever else struck her. She didn’t want to be girly all the time but she wanted the option to be girly when she felt it. Sometimes she was just happy wearing jeans and a baggy t-shirt but sometimes she wanted to look cute.  

That was what she wanted.  

What she really wanted.  

But how did you tell your family that when they didn’t want to hear it? 

Let alone the teachers at school.  

The funny thing was how much mom and dad would tell her to be careful, and to not be too showy at school when the kids gave her the least trouble. Sure there were some that would bother her but most of them knew she was a girl before she did.  

It was the adults that gave her the trouble and her family that gave her the most.  

Grammy and Gramps were the worst.  

They had been hippies once upon a time, and supported everyone’s right to be who they were – be you, baby, was a popular phrase they would say to one another when asking for suggestions on where to eat or whether to buy some new slacks. The thing was, their little Tomas wasn’t a girl and they weren’t going to stand by and let him follow the herd of sheeple and ruin his life by denying who god had made him.  

Bunni disagreed but Grammy and Gramps were joined in chorus by auntie and uncle and her other auntie. And they were joined by cousins. It felt like she was surrounded by all sides.  

Holidays were worst of all.  

It was always – What would God think of how you are denying and desecrating His gift.  

She got that a lot.  

What would God say? 

What would God say.  

Only…she liked to think that the God she prayed to would still hold her in His hand and that His Son would still embrace her for who she was.  

Her family didn’t feel that way.  

Which is really how she got the idea.  

Grammy liked to talk about His message and portents and how He spoke through deeds and signs.  

Bunni smiled thinking about that.  

Deeds and signs.  

 

Bunni had met Nathan when they were in tee-ball together and while they weren’t close anymore they still said hello to one another in the halls at school. Nathan’s family had a farm where they raised chickens. Bunni hadn’t been out to the farm in years but she still remembered when Nathan’s older brother had shown them both how you checked the eggs to make sure they were safe to sell.  

 

“Nobody wants a scrambled egg with a beak in it, ya know?” He had said, and Bunni and Nathan had laughed until Chuck-o had grabbed an egg he had put aside and cracked it open and showed them a half-formed chick inside. That image had stuck with her for years and when she was lying in bed a week before Easter she thought of it, out of the blue, and shivered. She had been glad she’d never found one of those eggs, though Nathan told her that Chuck-o would slip him one of those almost every time the family sat down to have eggs. It was a cruel prank that had lost its humor and even its edge and was now just something he did, their parents not even bothering to cluck their tongues or correct him and Nathan not even bothering to acknowledge it outside of throwing it out. Casual cruelty was something Bunni was very familiar with. The kind that was deeper than habit but was more of a truth that refused to be hidden, like a weed that could never be pulled completely free. She had lived with the casual cruelty of her family for her entire life so she had always felt close to Nathan in that way, the two of them survivors on a liferaft that was leaking. She didn’t think he’d survive. He was too soft, too weak, and a day would come when he would want to turn the joke back on them. She saw it in his eyes and his shoulders, which had slumped more and more over the years. Not her though. They would never break her. And as she lay thinking about those eggs and about Nathan a nasty smile formed and she went to bed with a purpose and woke the next morning seeking to fulfill it.  

 

Nathan had been surprised to see her in the morning but he didn’t seem upset at the surprise. He was a lonely kid who liked having a visitor. Bunni asked to see the chickens and he shrugged and they headed out to them. As they stood looking at them she looked around and then leaned in to him.  

“What if I had a way to get back at your brother? What if I had a way and all it’d cost you were some of those eggs…” She pointed towards a box where they kept the bad eggs, Chuck-o using them for pranks and target practice with his hunting rifle. Nathan turned his head to the side and she smiled.  

“What if I told you that we have the power to exorcise our demons?” She said this with a laugh and told him her plan.  

 

The plan Bunni had for Nathan was what she called the ‘long con’. It would take time and patience but she assured him it’d pay off. When they were still kids Chuck-o had had a period where he had wet the bed for about a month straight. No one knew why, he just did it and for a seventeen-year-old to do that, well, it mortified him. Nathan was beaten up once as a warning to never mention it to anyone but he did, to Bunni. Now was the time to revisit that past ghost. Chuck-o had become a fan of malt liquor and every night he’d drink three forty-ounce beers and pass out about midnight. Nathan was going to go into his brother’s room and start slowly pouring a cup of water on his brother’s crotch and the bed beneath him. If he did it slowly Chuck-o shouldn’t notice. Once or twice he’d shrug off but when it happened for longer he’d get worried. As that worry spread he could up the ante and start pouring his own pee on his brother to convince him that he wasn’t just spilling water onto himself. And then, then he would tip off mom and dad to it. Nathan wouldn’t say anything, no, he’d let his parents do the heavy lifting, and when it was all over, Chuck-o wouldn’t be the same person as he had started. He’d be humbled. He’d be shrunken. And Nathan, Nathan wouldn’t be the whipping boy any longer.  

Nathan liked the sound of that.  

As for Bunni’s side of things, well, that was a shorter con.  

A nastier con.  

A better con.  

 

Easter came for the family and she was up early to dress for Easter service. She was warned not to make a show of things, meaning to dress like Tomas, not like Bunni, so she did as she was told, though she wore a hat she’d bought herself for Easter. A pretty blue thing that had a small mesh veil. Her parents grumbled and the rest of her family refused to sit in the same pew as she was in but that was fine. She sat in the back with a smile and a held tongue. After Easter was the family Easter party and egg hunt, culminating in a ham dinner. Grammy left the church early to set out the eggs but Bunni had made sure to help her with it. She had used her mom’s spare keys to go out to Grammy and Grampy’s car and swapped the eggs out with ones she had brought, then slipped back into the church and into her pew and bowed her head and gave thanks for the Resurrection and the Glory.  

“You shame our Lord, Tomas. You shame your family.” Aunt Petra hissed, after the congregation was released.  

“But what if I don’t? What if it’s intolerance that shames God?” Bunni asked.  

“If that’s the case then why does he not show us a new way, eh?” 

“Like a portent? Like an omen?” Bunni had to hide her smile as she said this.  

“That is how the Lord works – in Mysterious ways!” 

 

With the extended family there were fifteen kids lined up and ready to go. The hunt was an old family tradition and the kid with the most eggs would get a prize, this year it being a large chocolate bunny so the kids wanted it. Badly. Grampy raised his arm, Grammy gave a whistle and the kids were released. The children became a blur of colors, a broken rainbow running to and fro through the grass of the property Bunni’s family owned. The laughter that filled the cool afternoon air made Bunni reconsider what she had done but then she remembered how her little cousins would tease her and spit at her when their parents were looking, these apples not having fallen far from their trees. Bunni smiled again.  

The first egg was found, then the second, and third, and the eggs were found in a flurry. Screams cutting through the laughter as each one was found. The eggs mirroring the bright dresses the girls were wearing or the equally bright ties the boys wore. The first egg was broken just as the kids were heading back in, their arms loaded up and balancing their findings to turn them in for counting. Cousin Patrick stepped on the long legs of his passed-down pants and fell forward and landed with an eruption of exploding eggs. The kids all laughed and the adults joined them, despite Patrick’s tears. His tears turned to screams as he realized what were in the eggs and his screams were echoed by first one, then another, then finally all of the other kids. The eggs the children were holding all dropped in piles to the grass and broke apart revealing the dead bodies of half-formed chicks, an army of the dead sliding forth into piles of colored egg shells. Grampy ran forward and when he saw the mess of dead bodies and the grandchildren that were covered in their mess he crossed himself once, then twice. Grammy ran forward and did the same. The rest of the adults ran forward and crowded around and Bunni ran with them, marvelling at the horror she had wrought as her little cousins rose, and fell, rose and fell, as they slipped in the slop of the dead chicks. After the kids were able to get free of the mess they latched onto their parents and began to sob quietly as the adults considered things.  

 

“A portent.” One voice whispered.  

“A sign. ” Said another.  

“A reckoning.” Came a third. 

“A punishment for closed minds.” Whispered Bunni.  

After that there was a hush that fell over everyone. This could go one of two ways. Bunni knew it and accepted the risk. Better to risk it all than settle for nothing. She clenched her hands into fists and waited.  

It was her mother that spoke first.  

“This is our warning. This sign. This portent. This is His Mysterious Way. Remember His words well, we should – Judge not, lest ye be judged. We have been judged and we – are – guilty.” Bunni’s mom fell to her knees and turned towards Bunni.  

“Please forgive me Tom…Bunni. Please forgive all of us. And with your forgiveness shall God learn to forgive us as well.” 

Bunni’s mouth dropped open as her father fell to his knees and bowed his head, then some of the kids, and the aunts and uncles, and finally, last of all, Grampy and Granny slowly went to their knees and lowered their heads and raised their hands in supplication.  

Bunni raised her hands to the sky and closed her eyes.  

“Please, oh Lord, on this day of Resurrection, please resurrect the forgiveness that lives in your heart and forgive us our trespasses and forgive us our petty sleights. Forgive us!” 

 

Bunni felt her hands grabbed up and heard her family say ‘Amen’ after she had finished speaking and she allowed a small smile to spread across her mouth and gave thanks to small minds and large Gods.  

Amen.