Friday, 1 March 2013

A kind of Homecoming - Chapter 7


                Abbey realized she had been holding her breath as she stared out of the window, her muscles tensed reflexively as she gasped for air.  She squinted at the curtains; they were pushed back as far as they could go along the length of the black metal curtain rod.  The tail on the left side was flipped up hanging over the arm of the chair; the other side twisted exposing the lining.  The window sat undisturbed, the glass still intact, the sash still tight against the frame.  How could someone have simply passed through glass, it could be the story line for an X-Files episode or Stephen King novel but this was real.  Even as Abbey tried rationalizing this there was no way around the evidence, at least the stuff that was still in the room.  She looked all about her as if to confirm what she had been thinking, and yet, if someone was telling her the story she would be the first one waiting for the punch line.  A trace of a smile passed over her lips just as a wave of nausea pushed in, a simple reminder that this was no joke.  She fought it off, being sick anytime felt like a sign of weakness and at the moment if felt like an excuse. 
A headache followed close behind and she closed her eyes to trying to block it.  Raising her hand up to her face she winced as her fingers brushed across a large bump forming above her right temple.  The dull ache reminded her of when she was twelve; her brother had been fooling around in the house with a tennis racket, pretending he was McEnroe performing one of his signature temper tantrums.  Abbey caught the edge of the racket right between the eyes and she tumbled backwards into the hallway.  Jorge of course had rushed to her side but she remembers that when she looked up it was not Jorge that was kneeling beside her, I was her Grandmother. Her face, she was so young and beautiful – she said everything was going to be all right.  Abbey broke into tears.
Another wave of nausea hit hard and fast, there was no fighting this one off, nothing to do but hang on and go for the ride.  She rolled to one side catching a glimpse of her right foot that had been neatly folded under her after falling into the hole in the floor.  She cried out as a sharp pain telegraphed up her leg.  Shaking and crying she wrapped her arms around her bare legs; pulling them together panting loudly and growling underneath each breath hoping that it might somehow relieve the pain when she heard a faint knock at the door.  Abbey held her breath and listened but it was quiet, panic washed over her not sure of what she may have heard.
A second knock echoed inside the room and she bit her lip to keep from crying out.  She inhaled deeply, on the verge of yelling when she heard the unmistakable sound of someone walking across the floor and down the steps to the front door.  A chill ran up her spine, the hairs lifting on her neck and arms.  Then she heard the unmistakable sound of the deadbolt as it clicked and turned inside the cylinder.
“Oh, hello, I didn’t think anyone was home, I hope I’m not troubling you?”
“No, no, not at all.  How can I help you?”
“What the hell?  Holy shit, who is in my house?”
There was a short conversation too quiet for Abbey to make out but for more than a few words.  She thought she heard the name Strauss, then a hearty “Merry Christmas” just before the sound of the door closing.
Abbey’s breathing increased and her mouth went dry. “What the fuck?” she whispered to herself.  Whoever was out there was coming up the stairs,  Hard souled shoes clicked on the tiled staircase, pausing briefly as they reached the top and started getting closer.  Her pulse rocketed and she could hear the pounding in her ears.  The door!  She had to block it somehow; block out the searing pain as she leaned over and dragged herself across the floor.  It was getting closer.  Click, click, click, Abbey tried to picture the length of the hall, she’d walked it a million times. How come she couldn’t think of how many steps it took.  Six, seven, maybe 8 tops and whoever it was would be at the door.  Abbey pulled herself up on her hands and lunged at a chair close to the door managing to slide the back just under the handle as it began to push down.  She began to breathe again and there was a rapid jiggling on the handle and the door began to shake.
“Who are you, what do you want!”  Abbey screamed.  The rattling stopped.
“Very clever Abbey, I hope you didn’t think that was someone coming to stop us.”
“Stop you from what? And what do you mean us?
“Us?  Why you and me Abbey!”
Abbey sat leaning against the door, her mind whirling. “There is no you and me, I don’t know who you are.”
“Ah but you do, and I know you very well my darling we’ll have plenty of time to chat once things get back to normal.”
“What the hell are you talking about, back to normal, normal left sometime after supper last night? This... I don’t know what this is and I don’t like you being in my house!”
“It’s our house now darling; you might want to keep that in mind.  Oh, and you better wash up now, dinner will be ready soon and the guests will be arriving.
Abbey closed her eyes and started shouting, “No, NO, NO! Get out go back to where you came from!”
There was a few seconds of silence before the sound of footsteps clicked and echoed down the hall towards the living room, within seconds a fire orange glow of light flickering under the bottom of the door and Abbey realized that there was a now a fire in the other room.  The images from the other night flashed behind her eyes; what she thought was only a dream was something much bigger. 
The familiar buzzing of her cell phone announced an incoming call.   She was terrified to move from the door but knew she had no choice.  Abbey rolled on to her left side and began clawing her way over to the phone reaching it just in time.  “Hello?”
Silence, for what seemed like forever then – Hello, Abbey is that you?  What’s the matter?”
“Francis, I’m so glad you called, I don’t have time to explain, please…click. “Francis,  hello, are you there? Francis!” Abbey knew that the call was lost and was just about to call back when it began to buzz in her hand. The reception was horrible and there was a lot of static. The voice of an overly cheerful operator came on the line, “We’re sorry, your call cannot be completed as dialed, please hang up and try your call again, we’re sorry, your call-.” The light flickered and went out. The phone was dead, she began to cry.
After about 5 min the sobbing had subsided, she wiped her eyes and looked down at the floor letters strewn about her when she noticed a familiar name, Albert Brude.  She picked up the envelope and flipped it over and saw it was addressed to her.  She had just finished closing his estate, how was it possible to have a letter concealed in the floor of her bedroom.  She put it to the side and picked up another one that had Ted Jacobs name printed in sharp precise lettering, he was the train engineer in the accident with Albert.  She began organizing and stacking the envelopes, most of them were from people she had helped over the past year, all of them with a family member that had died or were dead themselves like Albert.  Others she didn’t recognize at all and stacked them in a small pile to the right.  She found a large manila envelope covered in doodles of moons and stars that had her name handwritten across the front and below it were three small words. Don’t be afraid. She sliced it open and searched the edge with her fingers for a piece of paper but it was empty.  She pulled the ends apart and looked into the sleeve and saw a small business card and reached in and read the name on the card, Mystic Angels -psychic readings by Anna Krauss.  Abbey stared at the card and read it over several times before she realized why it sounded so familiar.  It wasn’t Strauss she heard the voice at the door say, it was Krauss.  It was too much of a coincidence for it not to be.  Abbey pulled herself over to her desk and pulled down a pad of paper and a pen and began to write.  When she was finished she sealed the letter in an envelope and addressed it to Anna before dropping it into the hole in the floor and covering it up.  She waited 5 minutes before removing the section of flooring again and smiled, there was nothing there, just as she thought.

Water like stone

        The water is like stone, heavy on my back.  I shake the world off with gritty hands filling the voids with fragmented sediment.
Hold steadfast to great plumes of grey smoke that rise from autumn fires as the forest looks on, snow nestled in a thousand bows, lidless eyes.
Be good to yourself you said, and always remember to remember.
Imagine innocence and the pure beauty of youth…It will sustain you I say.
Strawberry fields of winter snow lay at the feet of bended knees as the catacombs of spring lay beneath, rich and sweet, patiently waiting.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

A kind of Homecoming - Chapter 6


                Melanie closed her eyes and stared at the ceiling.  She had gone to bed, more out of habit than for sleep and pulled the covers over her as she had always done in her 8 years of marriage.  Habits are hard things to break, the little things we do for ourselves or for others.  Sleeping on the left hand side of the bed for instance when you don’t have to.  She listened to the noises of the house and the rattle of an engine as it cruised down the street. 
Sleep came slowly but it did come and she woke up laying in pretty much the same position.  She had that familiar jet lagged feeling of having too little sleep and with the sense of being in a strange place.  It had been a warm night for end of September but she was still wrapped up in the comforter.  She casually thought of how Gary would have had kicked off everything and still complain it was too hot, or worse, he would have the sheets pulled so tight that you could barely move.  With that she kicked her feet side to side enjoying the freedom of it, it felt almost luxurious and she began to laugh in spite of the empty feeling she carried, tears streaming down over her cheeks the whole time.
The sun was high in the sky when she finally decided enough was enough, “action needed to be taken!” popped the voice of her mother in her head.  She slipped out of bed and crossed the floor to the bathroom stepping over her clothes that lay strewn across the floor from where she dropped them last night.  She didn’t bother getting dressed and headed towards the kitchen catching a glimpse of her reflection in the mirror and stopped, looking at the face and shape of a woman she did not recognize.  How long had it been since she had looked at herself, honestly?  A chorus of echoes inside her head yelled Years - and yet the woman staring back was not altogether displeasing.  She had always been active and so she was firm in all the right places and no gray hairs yet, well maybe one or two but it didn’t matter.  She lifted herself up on her toes and turned sideways looking back over her shoulder and smiled.  An unexpected feeling like teenage giddiness softened the melancholy of the empty room and she left the door open as she headed down to the kitchen. 
She placed a fry pan over the element and turned the knob on the range and a bright blue fame sprung to life.  As the pan heated she pulled out some eggs and orange juice from the fridge.  The sun room was bright and inviting; the warmth of the morning sun heated up the slate tiles and pushed a warm breeze across the kitchen to where she stood and raised goose bumps on her bare arms and breasts.  As she stood there, she noticed the business card that Anna had given her stuck to the fridge door.  “Abbey Parker” – she read the name out loud then looked at the number.  “This can’t be right, Delta 559. They haven’t had numbers like that in years.  How would you even call a number like that?”  There was a popping sound from the frying pan clearing her thought.  She jumped not realizing she had even cracked an egg, in fact her glass was full of orange juice, coffee was made and the toaster sprung up a second later with two pieces of bread.  Melanie had prepared everything without memory of doing any of it.  She finished up and made her way over to the nook and sat down in the sun looking over the place setting.  Her mind was trying to catch up but her body was already dipping the corner of the toast into the middle of the yolk.  Melanie began wolfing down her breakfast like she did when she was 5, eager to get outside to play.  The warm golden yolk of the eggs spreading out over the plate was delicious and tasted like nothing she had ever had before.  Within minutes she was done and ran the last piece of toast across the plate scraping up tail ends.  Melanie relaxed and sat back in the seat and took a sip of coffee when she heard a clicking sound coming from the counter.  She looked over and saw the carton of eggs sitting out beside the stove. The clicking began to increase in speed and get louder; little chips of shell broke off and dropped on to the floor.  Within seconds a small beak popped out, then another.  She dropped her cup and hot coffee spilled down over her legs making her jump up.  Multiple chirps echoed inside the kitchen instinctively she placed her hands over her ears and lowered her head to block it out.  After a few minutes the noise stopped and Melanie cautiously looked up and her gaze froze on her plate.  The residue of yolk on the plate had turned blood red, small drops that left a trail from the plate to where Melanie had lifted the toast up to her mouth.  Her stomach heaved and she felt the rise of fluids in her throat making her want to scream and throw up at the same time.  She jumped up and backed away from the table coughing and spitting out little pieces of toast and bile on the floor just as the phone began to ring.  She answered frantically, hoping the person on the other end could help.
“Hello, hello?”
Nothing more than static filled the ear piece.
“Hello, who is this?” said Melanie again but the phone began to ring again in her hand and she dropped the receiver.  As it bounced off the wall the cord straightened and turned into a bell shape as it remained swinging back and forth.  The phone had changed into a period model, with a wooden box and fixed mouth piece.  The ringing continued but changed in tone, over and over and she felt like she was being pushed backwards and over something hard in the middle of the room.  She fell backwards and just as she felt herself hit the floor she bounced back up in bed drenched in sweat and still wearing the clothes from the night before.  Her body was achy and stiff and the cloud of sleep infused with the depth of the dream made her feel like she needed to move gently.  She slowly rolled over on her side facing the night stand cluttered with Kleenex, pill bottles and various hand creams over that surrounded the alarm clock and night lamp.  As she focused on the clock to check the time she noticed a small white card clipped to the rim of the lamp with a clothes pin.  It was a business card,  the same card that she received the other day from the young girl living next door; Abbey Parker,  Madison and Harper Law.
Melanie sat up quickly and rested on the edge of the bed drawing in a deep breath trying to gather her thoughts and push out the images of the mornings dream.  Each time she closed her eyes the cracking shells hitting the floor and tiny heads poking out was all she could see.  Shuddering she stood up and peeled each piece of clothing off and let them drop to the floor.  On her way over to the dresser catching a glimpse of herself in the mirror and paused.  She half expected to see egg shells stuck to her bare skin but there was nothing.  The rest of the morning was routine, coffee and a dish of yogurt with granola, no eggs on the menu for a while.  She started the dishwasher after she had cleaned up and was just wiping the counter when there was a knock at the door.  Anna stood in the same place as she had the previous day holding the morning paper in one hand and a set of car keys pinched firmly between two fingers in the other.  “We need to go for a drive!” she said rather sternly.
Melanie hesitated, almost ready to object but something in Anna’s tone measured something a bit more than what it appeared.   “Okay, yes, come in while I get my things.”
Anna stepped in and stood in the hall and placed the paper down on a mahogany table. 
“Do we need coffee for this?  I just made a fresh pot this morning?  Will we be long?”
“I never say no to coffee, good idea.  We should be about 2 hours I would guess.”
“Can I ask where we are going?”
“You can but you won’t recognize it once we’re there anyway.”
Her lips parted; ready to make a comment but only air escaped in the form of a very faint “huh?”
“I know how that must sound but you will understand what I mean I promise.”
“Considering the fact I just met you yesterday after my husband remarried someone else under my nose that resulted in a horrific nightmare… I would say I doubt it.”  “But for some unexplainable reason, I trust you, here is your coffee.”
Anna smiled and stretched out her arm. “Thanks, it does sound crazy doesn’t it?  I’m not exactly sure myself why I’m here.  Something told me I needed to do this and it needed to be with you.  Ready?
“I guess.”
Within fifteen minutes they were on the highway heading southwest passing by the last row of houses on the street they headed out into the flat prairie, round bales of straw dotting the landscape.  Yellow and brown leaves swirled in the wind of the car at the side of the road.  Anna turned right at the next intersection and pressed hard on the accelerator.  Melanie sunk back into the seat and looked over a little apprehensively, “Whoa, what’s the hurry?”
“We have to get there for noon.”
Without shifting her focus, she raised one eyebrow and recounted sarcastically, “ah I see, Noon, of course.  Actually, isn’t it supposed to be midnight?”
Ann ignored the remark and kept her eyes on the road, after all how could she know.
“How long ‘till we get to the spot?” asked Melanie.
“Should take about an hour!”
“Do you mind if I close my eyes? Terrible dream last night, remind me to tell it to you sometime.”
“No problem, I’ll wake you just before we’re there.”
She closed her eyes and drifted in and out, feeling the rise and fall of the road on the hills as they headed into the foothills.  They were just passing over the crest of one when Anna slammed on the brakes and steered into a roadside turn off at the edge of an old cemetery.  Melanie sat straight up and reached out for something to hang on to.  The car settled to a stop in a cloud of dust that followed a breeze straight down the road ahead of them.  A magpie lifted up into the air, disturbed of its seed gathering and flew up into the cross brace of the nearby telephone pole.  Both girls followed the bird’s movement and then followed the progression of dark brown poles and wire that marked the edge of the road off into the distance.  Anna got out first motioning for Melanie to do the same leaving the door ajar.  Melanie watched Anna move around the car and through the ditch towards the cemetery.  She started quickly after her when it looked like she wasn’t stopping any time soon.
“You’re right about one thing; I don’t recognize this place at all.”
“That’s because it’s missing something.”
“I drive this way out to Banff all the time but it all looks the same”… her voice trailing off.  “How exactly do you know that I travel out here enough to recognize that something is missing or out of place?”
Anna had her back to Melanie looking intently down at a large headstone and didn’t answer.
Melanie charged through the grass and grabbed Anna’s shoulder intending to make her look up; look back at her when she caught was Anna was looking at. The sandstone marker had several names on it for a couple of generations of family members.  It had eroded over the years but was somehow the small chips and weather worn edges were repairing themselves.  Anna stepped forward and pushed a large clump of grass to the side revealing a flat black granite headstone with the name William Adamson on it, Born 1808, Died 1889 then pointed out towards a farm house in the distance, “Look over there.”
“What am I looking at?”
“See the farm over there?
“Yes, but...”
“Shhh, just wait, watch the farm and the road past the house.”
Melanie looked at Anna a bit suspiciously but did as she was asked and stared off at the horizon and the old farm house.  There was a shimming like a heat wave off pavement on a hot summer day and gradually the black asphalt began to lighten and turn gray.  She wasn’t sure but it almost looked like it had a textured appearance as well.  “Is that gravel?”
Before Anna could answer Melanie choked out “holy shit.” 
Anna looked up and nodded, “I noticed this this last week when I was a bit farther out West.  No idea how long it’s been happening but it seems to be speeding up.  At first I thought it was random power problems, maybe related to the dam, but the more I watched it started to make sense.
Melanie watched as the road past the farm driveway began to shimmer and change colour.  It was almost like a funnel of mature hay, golden brown and ready for harvest was growing down the road.  Just then the small second house at the end of the property simply vanished.  “Oh my god, what the hell is going on?”
Anna answered Melanie’s thoughts as if she had heard her ask the question. “I think it’s all reversing and repairing the changes we’ve made, the history of civilization. I think that house was built early 1940’s.”
She had to force herself to look away and she found herself staring down at a thick patch of prairie grass where the black tombstone used to be.  “Anna, are you seeing what I’m not seeing?”
“That house belonged to Mr. Adamson” whispered Anna pointing down to the headstone.
“This is insane, how can time simply be erasing itself like this, and more importantly where does it end?”  Suddenly there was a large tree stump about 4 feet in front of them, rotted out at the base.  They quickly walked over to the side of the road again; afraid of what might disappear, but the realization that something could also reappear or come back suddenly dawned on them.  They looked out towards the Adamson farm again, the road now ended at the foot of the driveway but things seemed to have settled.  The valley between where they stood was still covered in crop at some places but already harvested in most and ready for winter.  A light mist was beginning to form in the low areas as the warmth of the day began to let go as the sun began to slide behind the mountains.  What they didn’t see was the small river that was once again flowing at the very bottom of the valley.  The valley has been dry since 1983 when a dam was put in to act as a reservoir and power supply to control floods from the Red Deer River. 
As the car pulled away Anna watched in the rear view mirror catching glimpses and fragments of changes.  Melanie refused to look at anything else; she pulled her hat down over her closed eyes and waited until they were back to the intersection just at the edge of town.  As they turned to head back to the house they were both aware that there were no  changes, nothing had disappeared, nothing added, not even the paint on the houses.  They looked at each other but said nothing, didn’t need to say anything, and drove the rest of the way in silence.
As Anna pulled into the driveway she was deep in thought and jumped as Melanie spoke.  “There has to be a source, a starting point to all this”, she had been looking straight ahead but looked over at Anna as she continued.  “Have you seen anything on the news?  We can’t be the only ones who have noticed this – Right?”
Anna shifted the gear to Park but left the car idling and reached over hitting the power button on the radio. The display light up but there was just static.  When she hit the seek button the numbers cycled around the entire FM band.  “Maybe we are just in a void or something on the driveway.”  Anna shifted the transmission into drive and pulled forward letting the radio continue its infinite cycle in search of a signal.  She crept forward as far as she could go and then back. “Nothing” she said.
“Let’s drive through town and see if we can find something.”
They drove in a crisscross pattern for about a half hour when the dial stopped and a voice penetrated the silence.  It was so unexpected Anna slammed her foot on the brake and came to a screeching halt in front of an old house that had been turned into a Law office.  “No, no way, it can’t be.”  Melanie reached into her pocket and pulled out the business card for Abbey Parker, Madison and Harper Law. 

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Closed on Thursdays

I wrap my tired arms around your closed off flesh. Tried to beat into you - I love you,  I love!
You just shook it off and wiped it clean with a glove.
Can’t wait to see what happens next, god dam this living god dam this mess.
Shoe boxes full of laces and letters of bilk, razor blade apples and cyanide milk.
I stare at the ceiling but I can’t make it work. God dam this living god dam my soul its not that I want to I just can’t control.

I can see the end so clear don’t know why, you can’t see it too, there’s just so much everything and everything’s you.
Cigarette burns on the back of your hand, candy coated meth balls to make you subdued.
Jet fuel and ashes cover the earth, life is for living from day one of your birth but I just can’t stand it all the fuss and the shit, god dam this living I don’t see the worth

Sunshine and rain showers, snow storms and floods, black hoods and iron rods coming back all in blood. Why can’t they just let me be
God dam this living, it feels more like hell, needles and 2x4s do just as well to stop all the voices inside my head, time to stop screaming, time enough to be dead.
 God dam this living, god dam this mess, if it seems I’m unhappy it’s because of the dress,.. the dance.

There’s only escape in shadow and dust, kick off the bed sheets and roll in the crush of this 4 star traveling day dream peep show, the playgrounds on fire and the children all know.
God dam the sinners and saints meet there too, just an average night in the life of a muse, forgotten and broken in throw away shoes.
 The shallow rise and fall of the battered and broken make me feel so alive, I feel so unspoken of words that elude me again and again it’s late and I’m tired it’s time now to end.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

A Winter Poem

A Winter Poem

                I stand looking at the small window at the back of the house, a candle yellow hue framed in black. 
I breathe in the freezing air and it feels like the blackness of night as well; the sting of it burning my lungs and bleeding steam as I exhaled. 

You are not there, no one is but I picture you all the same.
                I have to, or go mad in accepting I can’t bring you back.

 I lift my scarf up to cover my face; the faint tenuous fragrance still in the fibres lifts my spirit and closing my eyes I fold into the din and disappear.
                 I have to accept the madness of knowing you have disappeared too. 

They say time heals all wounds but I think it only outruns them.  Time encapsulates the memory so you can only see it as if behind a glass, preserved but no way to get through it.
                I hold my breath and picture you, I have to or it will be like you never existed.

But I see your smile, your soft amber lips and emerald eyes and I so dearly wish I could understand the wordless stories they used to tell me.  I reach out to touch you but I stop myself for if I don’t then it will only remind me you are gone.
I stand looking at the small window at the back of the house and I breathe in the freezing air letting it burn my lungs so I cannot speak.
                I have to or I will go mad with the knowledge I can never say I love you again.


Wednesday, 5 December 2012

To Move

To Move

Go forth and bellow for the art of moving men is a simple recipe of blood, fire, metal and stone.  Given no reason at all his seductive mind conjures all the ingredients to produce spontaneous and combustive prejudice against everything in spite of himself.
Whisper into empty shells and let the echo reverberate, sail on the breeze and to the ears of those that have nothing to lose but their passion and so the seed of influence sprouts and feeds their minds and soul for power.
Sit alone with split fingers, molding together reflection and perception into art that transcends time and space to alter tradition and faith with the subtlety of ocean tides.  Cast the net and capture the essence of man’s soul and let eternity either chide the maker or praise his end.
Compassion and hope to heal the dispirited minds and fractured bodies in simple gesture and reassuring tones that teach and multiply efforts ten thousand fold to bleed away sheer existence.
Love yourself unconditionally and in that truth, share it in order that others can understand it and erase barriers hidden by all other senses.  

Thursday, 22 November 2012

A Letter to Myself

A Letter to Myself

Forgive me, my friend.  for I do not mean to make you feel sad - melancholy.  And it is with trepidation that I enter into this one sided dialogue but it is important, these things that I must tell you for the summers grow short.
Some things are obvious, like the changing of the seasons, each quarter year unique and yet comfortably familiar.  Almost lulling you into a kind of sublime rhetoric.  It is only wen you look back that you can truly see ahead.
For instance, you will probably type this and save it digitally on the computer.
1's and 0's
Don't fool yourself into thinking it is more real than pen and paper, the paper you leave behind as you are typing. This technology only came into existence in your lifetime, along with cell phones, remote keyless anything, hell TV for that matter. No good sir, nothing you take for granted now even mattered when the only thing that did was just letting you be.
How simple (pause) how simple it is to find the frame of reference in your mind and imagine the innocence and beauty of youth but impossible to find the tongue to speak of it.
Friends come and go along with the changing seasons, scatter like the fallen leaves of Autumn and grey like the mantle of fresh fallen snow.  On and on it goes......melting away into spring.  New generations to replace the last.
You will travel many miles in your life, physically and mentally and always will you have a place to call home but none so grand as the home you make for yourself in your heart.
So be good to  yourself and keep the heart of youth to carry as companion on your journey and always remember to remember.