Excerpt from “Ashes”: Saturday
“Do you ever think about the end of the world?” she asked. I looked to see if she was smiling, but she was serious. Her deep dark eyes staring at me when we passed streetlights.
“Not like in the Bible. But…” She sniffed, looked out the window, rubbed her nose. “How close things are to it.”
“I think I understand,” I said but wasn’t sure. I remembered the book of Revelations from when mom and I went to church. It was the only book of the Bible I had bothered reading.
“It could end at any second. I mean, how can this all just keep on going?” she asked. We pulled up to her house. A light was on. Maybe her father was just getting up. “I used to think God would come down and crush us with his giant foot. On his way to the kitchen. Or stepping outside for the first time in days.”
“I remember summers like that. I’d go outside, and, all of a sudden, my grandfather’s watermelons would be plump and green.”
“It’s so close to the end. Sometimes, I can feel it.” She kissed me and then departed. She wobbled up to the front door, as if she were falling asleep between steps. I noticed there was a bruise on the back of her calf from me. Despite what she said, I still worried about what her father would say or think. I drove off, hearing him in my head. Instead of reciting inventory demands over the phone, he was demanding me to leave his daughter alone. Light glinted off the windshield; it dazed me and made me yawn and shake my head. I almost drove the truck up our lawn. I was glad it was Saturday. I would sleep—still smelling gardenias in my bed.
Excerpt: Untitled Fictional Non-Ficition
In the diffusion of dawn and mind, I see Atlas across the street spring from lawn to lawn. I see him mid-leap, forever hovering over his slight shadow, forever poised to meet the yellowed grass, sun forever brightening his orangish, wood-grained coat. As I step forward to meet the vision, he evaporates before my eyes like a photograph developing backwards. I can suddenly feel my pupils dilate, my vision realized, as I take in the morning minutes that pass on the band-less watch stuck to my name badge. I get into my car. Cyrano, the neighbor’s dog, begins barking. The image of Atlas plays in my mind as I sit there, listening to the engine: I see him burst forth in his landing, using his back legs and tail to leverage his body, zig-zagging, to once again pounce on some dash of sunlight through the neighbor’s tree or a speckled grasshopper. Then he fades again. What next? I think. What happens next. The vision reforms but in slow flip-book animation, some of the pages missing until there’s nothing. Only a failing shadow on the lawn, slowly fading with the dawn.