Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Entry #77

I Saw Hearts But You Saw Skulls
by Simon Kewin


‘The sky is full of hearts, Jen! Come see.’

I’ve come out for the newspaper, groggy with sleep, and there they are, filling the bright morning air. Not aorta and blood hearts, but stylised hearts, symbolic hearts, flitting around like butterflies. Beautiful.

‘What the hell you shouting about now, Dan?’ says Jen from somewhere inside.

I step into the street, one hand holding my robe closed. People stand around, looking upwards, amazed. Cars too, drivers’ heads peering out of lowered windows.

‘Hey, Dan, you see them?’ Mrs. Green from next door. ‘The angels? Is it the end of the world, Dan? You think that’s it?’

‘They’re not angels, ma,’ says Grace, her daughter. ‘They’re fairies. You can see their wings.’

I walk up to Bud. He’s reaching up into the air, trying to grab them. They flit out of the way each time.

‘Eyes,’ he says. ‘Like, demonic eyes. Red. What are they doing there?’

‘Beats me.’

I suddenly have to know what Jen sees. Mrs. Green’s head is full of the gospel while Grace spends her days playing fairies. Bud sure has his demons. And I see hearts, because of Jen. Despite everything.

I find her out in the yard, the same open-mouthed expression as she stares upwards. I put my arm around her.

‘You see them?’

She shrugs herself free. Like she does these days. Since him.

‘Yeah.’

‘What, Jen? The hearts?’

‘Hearts? No, they’re skulls aren’t they? Like, death’s-heads. Dan, the sky. It’s full of skulls.’

27 comments:

Chris Allinotte said...

I like the multiple viewpoints here - but I think you may have spread the reactions among too many characters to really get the impact you want between Dan and Jen.

The symbolism is really great, and the direction this is going is really cool - it'd be neat to see this as a longer story, where you have room to stretch out.

Precie said...

Interesting play on perception! Certainly not the answer he wanted to hear.

Aimee Laine said...

Yikes! I'm guessing he loves her and she's got some ulterior motives! I really liked this! Good job!

Old Kitty said...

Oh my stars - skulls! - you tell a brilliant multi layered complex story in so few words like no other - you really do! This is perfect. I love the dialogue, the little nuggets - Jen shirking from being touch "since him" - I mean that just speaks volumes. Some see fairies, she sees skulls.

Wonderful!!! Take care
x

Catrina said...

I like the tension between Jen and the narrator, and I would have loved to seen that really magnified and explored. I want to know more!

Nonetheless, an interesting tale. Good job.

Damyanti said...

I would have loved to read a longer story...but it is cool how you end with death-heads.

Dottie (Tink's Place) said...

Hmmm...Jen sees skulls, Dan sees heart....love gone wrong?

Dottie :)

pegjet said...

I loved the title, and that made me want to read. But, it gave away the ending.

A fascinating concept, nonetheless. Expand this one, then sell it. It has so much potential with their relationship and the magic realism.

SzélsőFa said...

aww, i sense another tradegy, a child loss here in this strong writing :(
i liked how each one of the characters came alive with just a couple of references... perhaps Bud was a dog...

Simon Kewin said...

Thanks for the comments! You all make excellent points. I may well write a longer version. And fair point about the title giving it away. It was just such a good title, I felt, that I couldn't resist!

Katherine Tomlinson said...

Count me in for the longer version. I loved ALL of the viewpoints and even though I knew Jen was going to see skulls, it didn't matter. Poor Dan...

Col Bury said...

Hi Simon,

Really liked this concept, fella. And, I agree, this story defo has legs. You did well exposing their relationship issues in such a short piece. Perhaps, "I Saw Hearts, But..." - or similar - just a suggestion.

One of my faves.

Regards,
Col

Phil W said...

Nice fantasy idea. It has many strong points.

fairyhedgehog said...

I really liked this, despite the ending being given away by the title.

SzélsőFa said...

sure the title gave away what Jen saw, but is it never near as important as the why.
and the why is not given away that easily.

bluesugarpoet said...

I like the magical realism of this piece. They see what is in their hearts - and he better drop Jen if he knows what is good for him! Nicely done! ~Jana A.

Mikki said...

Excellent! I love how all the different perspectives merge, until we culminate with the broken-hearted and the metaphorical sight of death. You floated through POVs like the symbols floated through the sky; the effect was wonderful.

Thank you for sharing!

Rabid Fox said...

A really cool story. The different points of view from the folks was very interesting. Kind of interested to see if this could be expanded.

Aidan Fritz said...

Touching. I like the affect you've achieved with different viewpoints here. At first, I thought they were slightly different ways of seeing the same thing, but later it seems they are appearing differently to different people. Until we get to Jen, you've created a terrific sense of wonder. With Jen it turns deliciously darker.

Richard Levangie said...

Simon:

I think this would make a terrific short story, and hope to see it some day.

My wife and I started a little campaign for movie titles so they tell you more about what you're about to see. An example of a good would be: I Murdered My Wife By Drowning Her Under the Bridge, and You're Next!

It might help us save a few bucks, but it does release the tension. :-)

Michael Morse said...

I simply enjoyed reading this, and that is what it is all about, nice job!

Aerin said...

I enjoyed this. It was so visual, it moved well, there was investment with the main character. I think it's a great flash piece!

Guilie said...

Beautiful read... Poignant story, the tension between Dan and Jen emerging towards the end, just peeking out and giving us a ghostly shove. Very well crafted, and the imagery and characterizations are fantastic. Thank you for sharing this!

Simon Kewin said...

Thanks for all your comments and feedback folks - very much appreciated. Now I really am tempted to work this up into a longer story.

Richard : point taken! Don't think I've seen that movie though?

JaneyV said...

Simon - I very much enjoyed the multiple interpretations. I thought that this could definitely be the lead-in to something much bigger. What I couldn't see though was why Jen saw skulls. I'd love to know what she's hiding.

Cath Barton said...

Hew! - well done on your honorable mention Simon.

jason evans said...

I love super creative stories like this one. Stellar isea and excellent writing to support it!

Congratulations on the honorable mention!