Monday, January 11, 2010

Entry #117

Rustle
by Melanie Odhner


fuzzy.

sticky and fuzzy, the line between flesh and tangled wind. should be warm here. should be the hot, sick red of light on eyelids.

breathe out

turning gray, wanting glass to fill my lungs. not glass. something clear

gasping, chilled

something beyond my head and chest. limbs. dead weight. living wind. dying bird.

what was that last part?

My eyes opened. I woke to sky laced with fine black cracks. Branches, I decided. And that fuzzy rustling sound must have woken me.

I turned to look. The rustling stopped.

With difficulty, I spotted the quivering of a terrified animal. A crow, pure black like an ink blob. No shifting gray lines reflected to give depth or details. The blurry outline of a bird, thrown on the forest floor to die. It didn’t belong.

Freezing wind hurt my eyes. I blinked away tears. Wet reminded me of my dry mouth, which reminded me of my numb legs. Cold in my stomach told me I no longer believed in warm.

Eyes clear, I saw the bird clawing for purchase on the stick-covered ground. No blood, but it couldn’t pull free from the dirt hollow it was accidentally carving.

Still dark out. Barely. I knew not to walk this far in winter. Long way home. Moving hurt. Not moving scared.

I got up, brushing frost off my jeans. An ornate, gray-and-white kaleidoscope of dizzy clouded my vision. When that settled, I looked at the bird. It had stopped shaking. I had started.

24 comments:

Bernita said...

That's a killer ending!
Good voice.

Tessa said...

Convincing - had me shivering, too!

wrath999 said...

A vivid and great tale

Aniket said...

Am glad am all snuggled up in my quilt. :)

Great imagery.

onipar... said...

Very cool. I love the poetic dream beginning, as well as the continued staccato style.

lena said...

That was very intense. Loved the voice in this one. Well done.

Meghan said...

Freezing wind hurt my eyes. I blinked away tears. Wet reminded me of my dry mouth, which reminded me of my numb legs. Cold in my stomach told me I no longer believed in warm.

Love that!

Tara said...

Eerie. And so well written.

Four Dinners said...

Powerful imagery and the staccato writing only adds to the overall effect.

Brilliant stuff!

pjd said...

It's hard to do waking-up-in-semi-delirium well, but you got it just right. The ending is right on. Nice work.

Preeti said...

Liked the gradual shift from blurriness to clarity. clever use of staccato and smooth flowing narratives added relevance to the context.

This contest has brought out some really interesting staccatos. Entry # 36 sets the benchmark though!!

laughingwolf said...

made my day, thx melanie...

Laurel said...

My favorite thing about this is the inertia of death is overcome by the instinct to help the struggling bird. Even though the bird dies, the MC has found the strength to move again and hopefully survive.

Deb Smythe said...

Yes, nice job. Loved the way the sentence structure reflected the MC's mind.

Kartik said...

Yes the transition from blurry to smooth was very eerie!

Craig said...

Your paragraph structure emphasizes the franticness of the piece really well.

catvibe said...

Wow, the way you wrote this was brilliant. The dream/nightmare/fuzzy state with no caps, coming into consciousness brings caps. Nice! I loved this story too, it would SO SUCK to get lost in the woods, I can imagine this scene happening for real and it makes me shiver too.

truevoid said...

agree with others. the ending was superb.

JaneyV said...

I think you pulled this off beautifully.

Nice device not using capitals in the beginning when her thinking was at its fuzziest. It added to the sense of confusion.

Well done.

Anonymous said...

Interesting use of punctuation, going from lower-case letters to signify the character's insignificance, to the capitalization which forces the reader to take notice of the action.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Intense is right. I'd love to read more.

Terri said...

Like they all said - intense, chilling and clever. Did anyone mention gripping?

Chris Eldin said...

So many layers to this one. I also loved the subtle transitions that occur in your story, and in such a short amount of space. Masterful.

Aerin said...



my caveat

Something I Would Keep

I'm so glad everyone seems to have appreciated how masterful this is - the subtlety but effectiveness of the transitions, the smooth flow of some really evocative phrases, the sense of movement in the plot - just wonderful

Something I Might Tweak

I don't think the title is strong enough to carry the strength of the rest of the piece