New Stories for July 15, 2019
The white deer is a rare and beautiful creature reported to be spotted in the Pacific Northwest, in the dreams of tired mothers and the buying of unsent, but pristinely kept, valentines.
A white deer runs across my dreams now.
Laundry, work, walks circling the same streets.
To invite this same deer by day, but how?
Not chase it, but invite it lie next to me.
At the park, the families walk in neat trios
At the store, they stand together in line:
call and response, response and call; and me
Summoning deer bound into this scene.
Maya exited the independent bookstore owned by a friend, Dax walking beside her. She had a couple more errands to run and it felt good to have a companion, even a four-legged one, to walk with her. Well-trained and protective, he made her feel safe. She loved living in the city but it wasn’t always safe. Two weeks ago, she’d been attacked when leaving the post office. Some young punks seemed to think it was a game to run up, hit someone and beat them while they were down. Thank goodness she hadn’t been seriously hurt. Although it scared the bejeebers out of her.
After mulling it over for a day or two while recovering from her traumatic experience, she decided she was not going to be a victim again. Ever. She began her search for the perfect dog. One that would be a comforting presence yet capable of ripping an arm off anyone who tried to hit her. Well, maybe not literally take off an arm, but make the perpetrator think it would.
Dax accompanied her everywhere. Everywhere but work. Mostly Maya avoided going places where she couldn’t take Dax, even sitting outside at the coffee shop with Dax at her feet. Tomorrow would be her first day back at work. She wasn’t afraid at work, so that wasn’t a problem. She realized she would miss his steady presence at her side. She wasn’t supposed to get that attached
We hear a knock on the door from offstage.
The lights are still down. After no answer,
We hear the knock again, faster,
Peter, reluctant, lights a lamp.
Looks through the peephole,
Not taking any chances.
Lets John and James in.
“I thought I heard thunder,” he says.
James does not laugh.
John, warm, does, wraps Peter up in a hug
His friend receives.
“Hell of a day,” he says.
“Hell of a week,” Peter responds.
“Hell of a fucking life,” James chimes in.
Peter looks at John
John raises a pantomimed bottle to his lips,
Shrugs “Maybe he’s got the right idea, eh Pete?”
Peter gets the wine, pours three glasses,
And they remember like it was just two days ago.
The interior of the car was dimly lit in the city’s halogen glow. Its leather seats were tattered from many years of hard use. The fabric glued to the ceiling dangled low, a victim to the ravages of time and heat. The steady rhythm of quiet breathing. A lone figure drives through a forlorn neighborhood obsessively glancing through the rear-view mirror and into the back seat. The car smells like sweat, blood, and cigarettes. In his lap, black hot gunpowder steel. His assurance that no one will take what he has found, even though guns didn’t stop him from taking it from them.
Nestled in the back seat of the car is the object of the man’s obsession. The thing he had abandoned the entirety of his life to obtain. A puzzle piece that’s whisper had created in him a zealous yearning fever to find it. After he heard the sweet music of its voice he was enthralled to its discovery. He knew he must find it, and the searching for it had led him down a dark and twisted path. He had given up all he had ever known; His job, his home, his familiar life, and his wife and kids…what were their names again? It didn’t matter now. Now that he had it. He had lied to keep others from it, stolen to continue on the paths towards it, and finally he had killed to obtain it. But he had emerged victorious. His prize tucked safely in the backseat of his hijacked vehicle, wrapped like a baby in a morbidly stained jacket.
He glanced back at it again and glimpsed its sheen poking through the torn and bloody apparel. He couldn’t even remember the face of the man whom he had taken it from. It didn’t matter. He didn’t really have it, and he didn’t really deserve it anyways. He was just some pretender playing dress-up in a hierophant’s garb. Defrocked and insane he had huddled in a seedy back alley warehouse muttering to himself and his doe eyed followers about the majesty of it. They had looked on as he held it aloft with the confidence that only he knew it and only he could possess it. Thinking himself protected by his fanatics and their weapons, imagine his face when it was taken from him. How could someone so weak and afraid even think he had the right to hold it, to tell others he had it, to show them its glory? The man had slain them with a burning righteous hatred in his eyes and a cold empty vacuum for a heart. The pretender to its throne had clutched it tightly to his chest even in death. Part of the man was left behind in that place as he squeezed the trigger again and again, but what he had gained was so much more than anything he had lost. And at least part of him believed that.