Thursday, January 07, 2010

Entry #16

Shadow Theater
by Missy Vinson


“You did this! I told you it was foolish.”

“I know, Papa. I thought…”

“Stupid child, we will all die. If not now, on the outside. Cora dropped the basket. No food, no seeds.”

“The light, Papa! Look. On the west wall!”

“Yes, Cora, come close to Papa.”

Evan looked to the southwest corner. He remembered home, when Mama was still alive. She would clear the table after supper, and lift the fireplace guard behind the oil lamp to focus the light into the corner. Shadow theater by candlelight! They spent hours cutting backgrounds from an old tablecloth and fashioning paper dolls for an elaborate performance. But simple hands made for the best play. Cora’s favorite was the mouse, one of his more difficult tricks using a few bits of string for whiskers. Evan, however, never tired of the hawk. Thumbs linked; fingers ready to fly.

“Papa, we can make it. Take Cora’s hand.”

“No, we can still go ba…”

“Run!! Stay against the wall. Find the hole!”

“Evan! Evan! Stay with us! Where…”

“Keep moving, Papa!”

Evan ran, pumping his legs so fast he lost any sense of the ground at all. One look back. He could barely see his family in the darkness.

“Papa, I see it!”

“Cora, go. Go, now!”

“But, Evan?”

Evan stopped, blinded. Papa looked back to see his son glowing like an angel, as his shadow covered their escape.

As the shots rang out, Evan lifted his hands, thumbs together in flight.

29 comments:

Lena said...

I really do not know what is there in this piece that got me all emotional. I'm yet to figure it out. But it is indeed a very strong one.

Bernita said...

There are different forms of freedom and they all come by sacrifice.
Beautifully done.

Aniket said...

No war is more righteous than one for freedom. Alas, every war has a price...

Kartik said...

I had the shadow puppetry idea too while brainstorming ... but your story takes the motif to a different level altogether! Bravo!

Aerin said...

Oh crap. Don't /write/ this stuff when you know there are moms reading!! I thought, oh, dystopian future, mmhmm, okay, moving along - and then, BAM. Angelic Evan. I would say "nicely done" except I'm too busy sniffling....

Beth Harar said...

The ending is very powerful. "thumbs together in flight." What a fantastic image.

catvibe said...

Oh thanks, now I'm crying. Seriously, this was heartbreaking to read. The intimacy of playing the games, the innocence of childhood, and then boom, gone, taken by bloody circumstance in a gruesome world that stomps on innocence. This one is a hammer on the heart.

Leatherdykeuk said...

Such tragedy!
Great image with the thumbs.

pjd said...

I had to read this a couple of times, but each time I did I found it deeper and more complete than the previous read. This is quite good; I especially love the shadow puppetry section, and the way it was echoed in the final image. My one trouble is the shifting POV; I think that's why I had to read it a few times.

emeraldcite said...

I loved the tone in this. Some great use of dialog too.

Sarah Laurenson said...

I had the same trouble as Pete with the untagged dialogue and the shifting POV, but it was well worth the extra effort. Awesome!

Tara said...

Wow, what an ending. Stunning.

Missy said...

Thanks so much for the kind words and for the criticism. I do see what you mean, Pete & Sarah. I rarely write with much dialogue and was deliberately attempting to use more. Maybe a little tagging is necessary when you have more than 2 in dialogue. Thanks, again!

Craig said...

Very strong, emotional piece.

JaneyV said...

Missy - Fabulous heart-wrenching stuff.

Amias said...

Deep. Touched the very heart of me.

Meghan said...

Sad, but very touching.

Four Dinners said...

The most emotional post to date by far!

Supurbly written.

A lump in my eye and a tear in my throat.

Thank you for this. It was a marvellous read.

My top 5 just became a top 6...oh eck....

laughingwolf said...

oh wow, a keeper for sure!

Aimee Laine said...

Oh that was so sad! Great job!

kashers said...

A strange, highly emotional piece. I stumbled with the early dialogue, but the shadow puppetry scene was more than vivid, as was the ending.

Preeti said...

Beautifully written. Poignant. Sadness, sacrifice, war, bloodshed, helplessness, happiness, innocent childhood pleasures...so many different facets of life and living all amalgamated into one 250 worded piece...

How on earth did you manage this feat?

I loved this thoroughly.

Laurel said...

Shattering. I agree with some of the other comments about the early dialogue but this really hits its rhythm about a third of the way through and by the end I was completely invested.

The image of the shadow hawk was heartbreaking.

Wow.

Harish said...

Beautiful! Love this for the visuals that your piece evoke :)

Tim Remp said...

The imagery was the thumbs was very powerful. Great piece.

-Tim
#138

Kansas Bob said...

Magnificent job Missy! Loved the imagery and simplicity of your story.

Anonymous said...

I'm in agreement about those dialogue tags. It's not easy when you're limited to 250-words. Where to put them? What to cut? --JT

McKoala said...

A little confusing, but powerful nonetheless.

Deb Smythe said...

I thought Evan was Papa at first. But confusion aside, I loved the angelic ending.