Friday, November 09, 2007

Entry #17

Escape?
by Church Lady


The boy scoots inside the rusty recess of a car because Papa has told him to hide. He counts breaths and waits. He waits and sleeps and eventually he wakes. The boy has learned to be a good listener. He lifts the trunk the length of his ear. No pop-popping of a worn-out knee. No wet, phlegm coughs. No hushed murmurs of love and dreams and life and skies.

Where are you, Papa?

The boy hears beyond Papa’s silence. The familiar wind loops around the desert brush. Aimless feet shuffle in the distance. His own heart struggles beneath his breath. He is scared and curious and hungry and alive.

He opens the trunk and scrambles out. The brown sky is pushing into the brown earth. His hand fumbles for the sky-paper and upon contact, comforts him.

“Hey! You there!” A Gatekeeper sees him.

The boy walks faster.

Where are you, Papa?

I’ll help you as long as I can. Remember what we talked about. Focus on the gate.

I’m scared, Papa.

Focus on the gate.


“Halt!”

The boy runs. The gate is near and the Gatekeeper is near.

“I said, HALT!” The Gatekeeper fires a warning shot.

The boy is a good listener. He knows he will get no further warnings. Whether he stops or not.

I’m focusing, Papa. I’m trying real hard.

You’re close. The earth, the sky. You have a right to them. You have a right.

Will I see the sky, Papa? Will I make it?

19 comments:

Sarah Hina said...

I love the tension and desperation in this one. Some truly great descriptions ("wind looping around the desert brush"). Since it's a child, it's all the more poignant. I hope he made it...

SzélsőFa said...

Very emotional and tense. I feel sorry for the boy...

The Quoibler said...

I have goose bumps right now. I, too, hope the boy made it. Perhaps the guard was a terrible shot...

The Anti-Wife said...

Tense and emotional. Makes me want to read more. Good job.

Beth said...

Yes, emotional and tense. That's it exactly.

Church Lady said...

THanks!
I love this photo. This was fun!

Bernita said...

You manage to create empathy for the boy character in the first few lines.Well done.

Jaye Wells said...

Full of emotion for such a short piece. Nice job. I'd like to know more.

Precie said...

"The boy is a good listener."

What a simply perfect characterization in the midst of such turmoil.

Nicely done! I agree--emotional and tense.

Church Lady said...

Thank you, Bernita, Jaye, and Precie. Your kind words mean a lot!!
:-)

desiderata said...

Emotional, suggestive of danger, yet I feel optimism in the air. "Papa is always around to guide me to safety" -- I'd infer was the boy's constant sentiment. (Reminds me of my late Mum always watching o'er me (Desi) in challenging times:)

Hoodie said...

This is the kind of text that gets you shouting "Run, Run!" right out loud.

Emotionally stirring and well-paced. Good writing, CL!

Church Lady said...

Thank you, Desiderata and Hoodie!
I hoped it would be tense. That was my aim!
Thanks for commenting. This is such a nice contest!!!
:-)

Thérèse said...

I really like that you leave it open-ended, and I really like the way you did it. Well done! :)

Dottie said...

Great tension in your story.

raine said...

You made me hold my breath.

Ello said...

Great job CL! You had me really invested in this story and feeling so strongly for the boy. I am dying to know what happens next.

Church Lady said...

Thank you!
:-)

jason evans said...

I like the structure of this. The detailed movements, then the silent conversation. I hope he makes it too!

High marks.