A Quick Respite with Honesty


Alli was driving down a country road. The windshield wipers squeaked as they flowed back and forth, haltingly across the glass. The road was wet; the sky was silver. Dark green trees, heavy with the foliage of summer, framed her view.

She got out and walked into a field with tall, flaxen grass. Drizzle splattered down, from the drifting clouds. Located in the center of the field, stood a dilapidated, shattered, gray farmhouse, sinking on its rotten foundation. Alli bounded up the crumbling steps, full of gaping holes in the planks.

The screen door hung to the side, swinging open, on its hinges. Alli crossed the faded porch and stole inside.

The rooms were gloomy. The unsaturated light of the day filtered in, through boarded-up windows. In the study on the first floor, Nealy sat behind the heavy, pockmarked mahogany desk, in her solarized jean jacket, staring down at the spoon in front of her, silently moving the dumb piece of metal around with her mind.

A second teenager sat beside her, also in a jean jacket, this one with a few patches and yawning, threadbare tears. This was Aro; she was spinning two plastic jacks around, above her hands.

They both looked up when Alli came in. “Oh, look who decided to show up?” Nealy asked, meeting her gaze.

“I brought the car,” Alli said, with a smirk.

The high schoolers piled into Alli’s car. They took off toward the highway, Alli revving the engine with a laugh.


Modernist Dream


Nealy stood in the wood-paneled study, in her beige suit and red ascot. She poured a glass of wine from the glass decanter. Lightning illuminated the room, splitting the sky in two. The faint lamplight flickered across her face.

Alli sat in front of her, in a simple cashmere sweater and jeans. The rain raged outside, racing down the windows and pouring onto the balcony nearby.

The darkness pressed in on them, suffocating and urgent. All along the walls were tomes, ancient, leather-bound manuscripts, shrouded in dust, some of them written hundreds of years ago.

“There can be no future, without the past,” Nealy growled. Thunder snapped and cracked, in the distance. She poured a second glass for Alli. The scarlet liquid seemed to hover in the air, forever suspended in time, even as it flowed inevitably to its endpoint.

Alli stopped glancing around, and looked back at Nealy, her eyes flashing with a look that could have also cut the sky into pieces, “If that was the case, Nealy, then why did you leave me?”

The thunder grumbled in reply, rolling mindlessly, over the hills dotting the landscape.

the ghost awaits the dawn of a new world