a year in stories::thirty six

Well, wrote another story last night. first in a while. It’s short and maybe not as cool as I think. But that’s the thing about short stories, yeah? They’re sort of like a sandbox where I write the rules to new games. Run a practice round, then, maybe, it’ll be ready for the world outside the box. I guess the strangest bit of what I’m doing is that I’ showing you what happens in the sandbox. Every little new idea I make to disrupt the way I used to tell stories falls in here.

But, yes, playing with dialogue here. Or, to put it more appropriately, playing with getting around dialogue while still using dialogue. Probably that doesn’t make sense but that’s what this is for. A little experiment.

Maybe I’ll return to it for something a bit more refined. But, for now, another story about purposelessness/meaninglessness.

I have a pretty cool idea in my head for the next one, which I might write tonight. It’s about pandrogyny, which is a meaningless word I discovered today. Or maybe it means a lot. I’ll decide in the writing.

Driving for Witches

His body went limp in her hands and turned to floating when she let go, long after his body stopped thrashing and bubbles ceased rising. Wet and weary, she walked to the shore, stepping gingerly with barefeet over sharp rocks. Looking back as the body drifted in waves, she picked up stones from the stony beach and threw them at the body wandering aimless over and through water. Some stones skipped so she threw bigger ones which crashed into his body.

There was no blood.

The sun wound over the horizon, the wetness clinging to her, turning her skin cold, the tightness of cloth threatening chafe. She walked on past the beach to the grass to the parking lot to the road. Looking left then right, she saw only the blankness of night descending. Turning right, she walked.

Headlights cast her shadow long against the everywhere shade and she threw up her hands, no dry, stepping out into the road.

A truck, red with greys, slowed but didn’t stop. The man inside called through the open window.

She walked backwards, keeping pace with the truck and told him what he wanted to hear.

The truck stopped. She went in.

The cold of being wet became conversation and he reached behind him for a towel. Though far too small, she took it and wiped absently at the drying cold. He turned on the heat, punched it high but rolled down the windows. Country music sucked away by the wind as they drove.

The man spoke and she smiled. She spoke and the man halfsmiled.

Caught in darkness, their faces remained outlines and flashes of features swallowed quickly by night. He pointed at the fragmented moon and spoke of a time when it was whole. She spoke of it too.

In the speaking they drove and when hunger became the topic they did not stop for neither was.

Her feet on the dash, she told him of her night walking and of her evening killing, and of her day at the beach on a date. The man did not speak to this but kept driving and as she spoke he gripped the wheel tighter, drove a bit faster until the reckless nature of his careening became conversation. Apologising, he slowed but he did not look at her.

Neither did she look at him. She watched the absence beyond the window. The countryside of a wartorn world. In the night the landscape spread vicious.

The clocked ticked silently on, collecting minutes, then hours. She recited poetry, sang songs, all of her making. All about murdering.

He asked her about this and she coughed to clear her throat. Coughing more and more, holding her throat, he motioned to the water bottle but then the coughing stopped.

I killed him, she said. I murdered him. Drown him in the water. I’d do it again. I killed him but I don’t think I’ll kill again. I killed him for him. He didn’t ask me to but he needed to. He needed to die, I mean. I don’t know if he was a bad man or a good man. I know he was a stupid man. I know I don’t like him anymore. I liked him as he lived but not now that he’s dead. I don’t think we should like the dead. I don’t think we should forgive them for dying. But, yes, I killed him.

They drove on through the night but never returned to that topic. When morning came and the radioactive desert spread in all directions, she took his hand and he held it as she drifted to sleep and didn’t hear him ask about the remaining population.

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