“Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.”
Courage is fear that has said its prayers.
PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot
“But, said Alice, if the world has absolutely no sense, who’s stopping us from inventing one?”
― Lewis Carroll
He knew it well, having lived his ‘After’ life as a Dream Taker. Men came to his village when he was ten, tested all the children. He was the only one taken from his family, his world, to a cold place on the far side of the planet. Later, he learned the building was once a slaughter-house, but it made no difference. Nothing made much difference anymore.
No happiness dwelt there, nor any sign of care and kindness. He lived hardship and pain, lived where fragile bodies broke. His body stood against the torment, but he knew it would not last forever. Someday, some time soon, he would break, too.
Each day, he struggled to remember the broken fragments of his life ‘Before,’ as if somebody had taken a sponge and wiped away parts of his memory. There was nothing left. It was too late for him. If they remembered him at all, they would draw away in fear. If they didn’t, it would be as if he’d never existed.
Maybe he hadn’t existed ‘Before’ they took him away, ‘Before’ they changed him into something so unlike himself he could never go back. Each day, he tortured himself, no longer knowing why.
His alarm buzzed and he rose, gathering his midnight dream-coat and heading to the Commander’s office.
Them was laughing at me, I know they was. I know. I know these things, don’t bother to ask how. It’s a secret between Momma and me.
Course that was a couple weeks ago, before she got so sick and went away. Them folk took her, said it was the law, didn’t listen to what Momma wanted. So I hadta go and steal her back. Folks made a mess of noise over her, but there weren’t no toehold in the silencing wall.
She eats her meals with me now. Mostly, that’s the time I see her. We don’t talk much, Momma and me, but it’s nice to sit at the table with her, the table Grandpop twice-back made with his two hands, all by hisself. I think I woulda liked Grandpop. He wouldn’t have helped them folk wanting to hurt us.
Momma and me, we like our lives just fine.
But, them folks coming tomorrow, for me and for Momma. Momma don’t want to go back and I ain’t gonna let’em have her. We go together or not at all.
That’s why we’re sitting here at the table so long after dinner. I washed the dishes just how Momma liked’em done, straightened the house until she was happy with the look of things.
‘Don’t ever leave trash behind you,’ she always used to say. ‘Cause them folks will judge you by the trash and not from yourself.”
The crackle of the fire slicks my skin with heat. I reach out and take Momma’s hand. “Won’t be long now, Momma,” I say, flames sweeping the floor, lapping table legs.
A day at the beach, Momma. You remember that day at the beach? Just remember Momma, we’ll see Grandpop soon.