The Wake

This is a story I wrote, because I have brain damage. Feel free to comment and tell me how much it sucks. 


Cold beauty in the forest at night

His heart recoils from the deathly sight

Now was usually the time he spent waking up; but, sleep having eluded him, he decided to go for a walk instead. He walked straight into the beating heart of the forest and took some turns he had never noticed before.

Somewhere along the way, he was lost.

He found himself in a dark corner of the woods. Dark, because it was nighttime. Corner, because the only way out was through the way he came. Woods, because he was blocked in by the trees. Soon the night retreated, though, and sunlight crept in through the branches above, and water seeped into his moccasins below. Now was usually the time he spent waking up; if he was home, he would be brushing his teeth, he would have just finished breakfast, and he would be combing his hair and getting ready for the school day. But he was not home, and he was all too aware that he was not home.

A whimper tore its way out of his throat. It broke the silence surrounding him and made him muse on his aloneness. He remembered that this was usually the time his mother would say to him, Now, Jim, you be a good boy and you make sure you say please and thank you to everyone you see today, because you don’t know how they’re feeling and it’s your job to make sure they feel better.

And he would say back to her, Yes, mother, I’ll make sure to say please and thank you to everyone I see today, and I’ll make sure to be kind with my words to the people I don’t because he knew if he didn’t she wouldn’t hand him his lunch and if she did not hand him his lunch then surely he would starve, or at least have to ask little Timmy Mack for his lunch, and Timmy Mack was not a kind boy like he was.

He thought to himself, If Timmy Mack was here then he would not be nearly as brave as I am. I am the bravest boy in my class. I will be alright.

But the woods thought otherwise, because they began to growl and howl in discord. The trees rustled as a cold wind flew through the branches. He heard a minor thump against the tree trunk next to him and he looked down. Tangled in the piano wire of roots was the corpse of a small fuzzy thing, with bright eyes and long ears. It was a rabbit.

Jim loved rabbits.

He knelt down next to the thing, his black frock flowing behind him gently in the breeze. The breeze died down and the world around him was silent. He took his thumb and massaged the thing’s forehead, first consecrating it with the dirt under his nail, and then with his tears. This thing was as lost he was, he thought. It was not uncommon to see rabbits in fields at times, but they stayed from the depths of the woods where dark things lurked.

Now was usually the time his mother would say to him, right before he left home: Jim, boy, you be safe, love. Don’t go too far into the woods. It’s dangerous, because there are all sorts of wild things and they are bigger than you and can break your neck in one good whack.

Something had broken the rabbit’s neck.

Jim loved rabbits.

His reverie was crushed by a very loud noise. The noise was close by and getter closer all the time.

He turned about-face to the entrance of the corner and saw a great black mass approaching. Its paws stomped the ground like beats on a heavy bass drum, rocking the earth around them. It growled again. Next it stopped, and it looked from Jim to the rabbit, and from the rabbit back to Jim, and it thought for a moment and it crouched as if getting ready to have already leapt in Jim’s direction.

He flung himself back just in time, more from instinct than a conscious desire. It was not much, but enough that the mass missed him.

Jim knew. He puffed up his chest and put up his arms and he said in a loud, booming voice: “I am not afraid of you!” even though it was a lie, and he was a liar.

The mass snorted at him, knowing it had been defeated. It tramped away through the impassable brambles.

Jim went back to the thing, and whispered to it in a soft voice, the voice of his mother: Now, Jim, you be a good boy, and make sure you don’t go too far in the woods, for the woods are dangerous and there are things far bigger and badder than you, things very much capable of breaking your neck with one good whack…But if you do end up in the woods, though, fear not, for I shall be there with you, and I shall make sure you are safe. I am always with thou, always.

He closed the thing’s eyes, and went back the way he had come from, and as he did he reflected on the cold beauty of the forest around him.

Now was usually he spent waking up, but he felt he already done enough of that already for one day, and decided to go home and sleep instead.

~~La Stranezza


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