a year in stories::six

Been kneedeep in Breaking Bad but am almost caught up to present time. Burnt my whole weekend doing that which is kind of a waste but whatever. Anyrate, I’m going to get back to the madness there but here’s this week’s story. It reminds me probably too much of the kind of stories I used to write but I still like it.

Don’t

 

The storms up and crystals numbered millions fall. He sat staring at the window reflecting him and the room. Darkness beyond and he saw nothing past glass.

The clock revolved.

Used to be snow reminded me of connectivity, he said, Now. Now–he shook his head–I don’t know.

The light flickered. The walls creaked, pipes screeched, ground shifted.

From the sidetable he grabbed a knife, grazed the blade with his thumb. He did this again and again staring at his reflected self in the window.

Franny, he said lilting. Franny, again he called and an old tabby cat prowled into the room. He watched it in the window, its body skeletal and rickety, too old for grace and poise. It crept arthritic over hardwood and pressed against his legs. The purr vibrated against his skin and his hair stood on end.

Light in the room flickered. The walls creaked, pipes screeched, ground shifted.

Now snow reminds me of nothing, he said, taking Franny into his arms, onto his lap. The Tao, he said, River of Infinite Flux dumping always into the ocean where everything becomes everything. But snow–he ran a finger from the top of Franny’s forehead to the bottom of her spine–snow follows that same river of flux but ends in dirt and mud. It becomes nothing.

The clock revolved.

Running the knife edge over Franny’s fur, she purred, her large eyes blind, cataracts. Why do we love you, he said, You. Animals. Cats.

The light flickered. The walls creaked, pipes screeched, ground shifted.

The window showed him himself while snow piled outside, frosting the glass, his image, him and Franny, man and cat, distorted, fogged as a photograph, the edges burnt. Ageing against his reflection, years burying them beneath snow. The knife blunted against his thumb.

The clock revolved.

What does it mean, he said, For us to go on living so.

Franny pawed at the knife in his hand and he stabbed it into the table beside him. Franny started at the noise then stared at the knife, her movements mechanical, ancient.

The clock revolved.

You’re too old, Franny. Too old to keep living.

Franny stared at the knife then slowly turned to him and yawned. The light went out and through the glass he saw snow.

Ah yes–he nodded–it’s only snow.

And the snow fell and falls still but the man and the cat remain.

 

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