Thursday, January 31, 2013

from dream to story

I stood behind a discarded car, its trunk lid missing and glass shattered.  My feet were buried in mud. Water cut quietly through the ground. The scrub trees typical of culm dumps were on three sides; a muddy, rust-colored dirt road was to my back.  I should have flinched when I felt something grab the leg of my pants, but froze and looked down instead.  A small hand flexed open and closed, reaching forward with each movement.

I grabbed the forearm and pulled, moving mud from under the heavy 1950s bumper.  An infant emerged without a cry.  Her bright eyes closed against the sun.  In the gap I saw another small hand.  I stepped into the trunk for leverage, and my foot crashed through the rusted floor.  Further away by the passenger's rear tire, fingers emerged from the mud.  I desperately yet gently pulled a third, fourth, and then fifth child from under the vehicle.

Wood cracked behind me.  Culm dumps are good for announcing visitors.  I turned to see train trash running towards me with a large branch poised to slam whatever part of my body it could catch.  I freed another child as I hunched over to avoid the swing.  I didn't.  It caught me square in the back.  I was braced against the car for the hit and absorbed it.

I freed another child.  I saw the branch being lifted again.  A second person came, this one running.  As I pulled the seventh child free, train trash and tree crashed into the ground next to me. The person on top looked at me and smiled.

I tore into the rusted bottom of the trunk.  Four, five, no, six infants looked up at me, squinting against the bright day.  As I pulled each one gently from the mud, I saw the fighting body of my attacker being dragged face first through mud and into the road.

More men appeared, circling the attacker and blocking my view.  It was a fierce, one-way fight.  Three men had hatchets, which I saw only at the apex of their swings.  Horrible slicing and cracking sounds filtered out of the mass of bodies.

One by one, each of the men left.  With just my original protector remaining, I looked at the ground.  Only the head of the attacker remained.  My protector picked it up by the hair and walked down the road.

I looked around me.  The children were all gone, but somehow I felt they had been rescued.  After several minutes, I walked down the road.  At a bend was a stake.  Blood ran its length. The attacker's head had been shoved on top.  A blood-trailed sign beneath it read:

Warning to train trash:
This place is not your's to visit

S. Lindsay Locke

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