If the Simpsons can’t get their Halloween special out before October 31st, why should I?
Shannon awoke in a daze. Her tongue was paper dry and her left eye seemed to be stuck shut. The smell of feces and urine filled her nose. As her open eye began to focus, she looked around the small room, devoid of furniture other than the filthy mattress she lay upon. She reached up to unstick her other eye only to find that her fingers were phantoms. The memories came flooding back as they did after every blackout: the abduction from her college campus; the torture; the laughter of the smiling man; the rage of the shadow man. She remembered having her hands cut off for trying to choke him. His suture skills were good, or she’d have been dead days ago.
From the small window across the room, she heard a familiar sound, a child’s metal bell ringing. She leaned slowly over and dragged herself toward the window, the stumps of her forearms mostly numb from the drug-induced stupor the shadow man kept her in. She thought her legs worked, but the utter fatigue of hopelessness made walking too difficult. With stumps pulling and cramped feet pushing, she finally arrived at the far wall and peeked out through the dirty windowpane.
There she saw him – the young man on the tricycle. He smiled, and giggled and rode around in circles, as carefree as a child twenty years his junior. Every now and again, he would look toward the window and wave, his smile never faltering. After a few minutes, he disappeared around the corner of the building. Shannon slumped the few inches back down to the floor, softly patting the window with one sewn-up wrist as she wept. She longed for the chance to ride that tricycle – fresh air, sunshine, and the feeling of enjoying a few moments of carelessness.
When she heard the door creak open, she realized her mistake. She was supposed to go back to her mattress when the smiling man disappeared. She knew he would return soon as the shadow man, and the shadow man was angry when the rules weren’t followed.
Shannon looked his way, her closed eye finally breaking free of the dried blood that had held it shut, and stammered an attempted apology. She inch-wormed across the floor toward the mattress, her safety zone, but she wasn’t moving fast enough. The shadow man growled as his dusty boots thudded toward her. Feeling her heart pound in her throat, Shannon braced her feet against the wall and pushed with all her might, trying to reach safety in time. Despite the pain, her legs responded immediately. Propped up on her elbows, she gained enough leverage to lift her body and lumber forward, mere inches off the floor, stumbling and falling onto her mattress just before the shadow man grabbed her by the hair.
He yanked hard and grunted, his face all but hidden by the darkness in the mattress corner of the room. Fleeting reflections of light in his eyes told her he was staring at her legs, shocked that they were still working. With his free hand, he slapped her nearest thigh. Grunting more loudly with each swing, he repeatedly slapped and punched her thigh until the pain finally broke through her fuzzy senses and pushed the tears out of her eyes. She screamed – something she’d avoided for weeks. A gravelly “No!” was all she could muster, but it was enough to make the shadow man drop her and stand up. He contemplated for a moment, and then stormed out of the room, closing the door behind him. She was left in silence, with the exception of her nightly food tray, for three days before blacking out again.
Returning from her unconsciousness, Shannon saw before her what must have been a dream. There, in her shit-infused dungeon, was that shiny red tricycle. It sat no more than five feet away and beckoned her with its pink tassels and perfectly white seat. Shannon dragged herself slowly to it, mesmerized by the feel of the chrome handle bars against her forearms and cheek. Despite an unexpected agony, she pulled herself onto the seat and tried to pedal. Her muscle memory from childhood was intact, but the tricycle wouldn’t move. Shannon looked down and began to laugh uncontrollably, until tears came again, as she saw the sewn up stumps where her feet used to be.
Kabuye developed blindness.
His A factors: the eyes.
His car too macular for progression,
he saw traffic as another epidemic in the world,
neurological in his United States.
More, though, is what afflicted scales of
States in ravaged condition,
past the age of the blind,
linking our senses and
lacking the visual of a leader –
when man’s perception is instead an instant order –
waiting on physiological statistics,
all due to a whitewashed country,
an Usher or unnamed ‘Those’
as has been described, their setting of
the extent of breaks given and deeds taken…
change overtakes what city remains.
Multimedia is owned by those quarantined by life’s blindness.
First are Causes.
Learn it like trachoma:
strike causes ‘As’ and ‘Is’, causes in and around the sight macular.
See who the Blindness devours,
which publications, and social doctors unnamed.
Once in the city well, plunged full nib into it,
light could so suddenly be one with The Foundation.
Fighting publicly-supported charity for facts.
Money not raising to fund a prevention of
research degeneration, providing residents
a retinitis pigmentosa of the soul.
Kids who can’t see can’t visually learn
about symptoms, diagnosis,
impairment – these are the lost tribe.
Get the blindness types, treatment, the prognosis.
Blindness, degeneration, stroke: the health topic page endless.
No visual impairment is this blindness.
Descriptions, reports, news – Blindness of the intellect can’t be read out.
Not after a plague of blindness engulfs the
city, all loose in a hospital where victims
are quarantined and borne to the fore.
His was normal, until he was attacked
by what was left to him by his mind’s eye
seeing the rotten core of the city-state.
Blindness oft is the only tolerance cheaper than death.
These were posted at The Mind[less] Muse back in February, but I neglected to link to them from here:
Timmy whittled away the afternoon. He sat with his brother, Jimmy, on the front porch. “There’s more meat on a human head than you might think,” he stated. Jimmy paused from doing nothing long enough to contemplate just where one would find meat on a human head.
“The face, the jaw, all around the ears and skull,” Timmy guided his brother’s imagination. “Meat everywhere. I bet you could eat well for a week off a single head.” The two entertained simultaneous images of scraping head meat into a frying pan and serving it up with garlic and butter bread. At the height of their imaginary meal, the screen door slammed as their grandfather stepped onto the porch.
“The only problem with head meat,” he said as he ran his thumbs down the inside of his overall straps, “is all the foolish ideas that have run through it taints the meat. Makes it taste awful.” He lifted his leg to rest his boot on the railing, rubbing a spot out with a spittled thumb. “Can you imagine the spoilt flavor of some damn yankee?” He huffed, smiled, and went back inside. “Trust me,” he called from the shadows, “it ain’t good.”
Juan stood in the cement slathered courtyard, sweat running down his unshaven beard. His finger trembled against the steel trigger, a rattle from Death’s parched throat. Five strangers lined up beside him – three to the left, two to the right.
“Ready!” called the captain, beside him the armorer who loaded the guns. Juan caught the armorer’s gaze and felt a twinge in his left eye. Why would he gaze at Juan? Why would he gaze just so?
“Aim!” the captain’s voice pitched up, tension building. Juan watched the damned man struggle against his ropes. Over the courtyard wall, a woman’s cry echoed forth. With a deep breath, Juan steadied his hand and squinted down the barrel sight.
“Fire!” The captain’s voice echoed off the far wall, meeting the blast of five muskets blowing smoke led by flaming fingers of execution pointed at the condemned. Juan’s own finger stayed trembling against his un-pulled trigger. As the smoke rose and his vision cleared, Juan saw the prisoner standing in his own urine, shaking from head to toe, crying and still clearly breathing.
How could he pull his trigger now? Juan dropped his rifle to the ground knowing his turn would come tomorrow.
Jasper kicked a dirt clod against the side of the boardwalk as he stumbled up to the saloon. The town was quiet. It was always quiet, except when it wasn’t, like last night. Jasper stepped into the shadowy saloon, leaving the sunbaked bodies in the street behind him. He waved away a fly and sloshed his way to the bar. A warm whisky waited for him, poured just before the gunfire had started. He took the shot, wincing as the liquor hit his bloody bottom lip.
He surveyed the bodies in the barroom: two at the bar, four at tables, the bartender in front of him, and the whore with the bad timing. The night flew past his memory like a raging river – the accidental nudge, apologies not made, pride not withheld. Everything after the second gunshot was a blur; the blackouts stole everything exciting from his mind.
Jasper rifled through some pockets, sized up a dead man’s boots, and fought back the slightest twinge of guilt for losing his cool. He threw a piece of silver toward the body of the bartender. “Maybe the ferryman’ll be a bit kinder,” he grunted before walking outside and toward the next town.