Relief from Incongruity


Alli was standing in the tree, on one of the thicker branches, looking down at the white-green leaves littering the ground. Nealy was standing above her, on a higher branch. The dappled sunlight cut through the canopy and fell on them both.

Nealy kept one hand resting on the trunk, while she held out a spoon, that she had brought with her. “Watch this,” the high schooler said.

The silver utensil bent, the silent depression turning inside out and the business end, undulating and twisting around, like the instrument had been made of leaping mercury and not stainless steel.

A spark of familiarity flashed through Alli’s eyes. “I can do that,” she thought. What she didn’t realize was that she had said that aloud. “Then do it,” Nealy challenged her. She dropped the spoon, and Alli deftly caught it, before it fell to the forest floor below.

Alli held the spoon, since returned to its former shape. The surface felt lukewarm and dull to her tiny fist. Alli huffed. The mindless metal was suddenly alive in her hands; the scoop wrapped itself all the way around, curling 360 degrees. Alli felt a slight ache in her forehead and a bitter, coppery taste in the back of her mouth. A faint, high-pitched whine receded in her ears.

“See,” Alli looked up, at the other girl, standing there in jeans and a jean jacket, “I can do it!”

“Heh,” Nealy said with a wolfish half-grin, “I knew you could do it.” She laughed and glanced at the sun and the passing clouds.

Alli laughed too and dropped the spoon. It hit the murky carpet of dirt and bounced back up, at her beck and call, like a rubber ball – morphing in the air, like a bubble of silly putty. Alli gasped and chuckled. “I haven’t done that in years,” she said to Nealy.

actual mewtwo

Another Star in Heaven

flowers grieve and fall

Kaan and Alli walked through the night, their flashlights cutting wide swathes of light through the darkness. The beams bounced off the trees, shone through translucent leaves and often pointed down at their toes.

The night hung like a shell over them. The stars wavered like ghosts in the ether. They were making their way down the hill, in a long, sweeping arc. Their shoes dug into the layers of dead, brackish plant matter. Dust congealed in the conic sections of their artificial radiance.

In the valley, a bulky black and gray building swam in front of them, materialized out of the inky gloom. A twisted chain-link fence, long rendered useless, cordoned the area, festooned with loud ‘Keep Out!’ signs of black and white painted metal.

The door was rusted and hung ajar. The lock had long been picked and someone had taken the time to kick the entrance in. Leaning down, Kaan and Alli folded themselves into the parcel-sized opening.

The two of them turned their lights to race down a long, abandoned corridor, with sheet metal walls. “Still feels like a prison,” Kaan remarked.

They got to one of the many test rooms, with a white, battered chair – much like one a dentist would use – only fashioned with heavy, leather straps for the abdomen, legs and arms. In the white room, at the top corner, was a two-way mirror, that opened into a control room above.

“I’m surprised they still haven’t torn this place down,” Kaan thought aloud.

Kaan looked around. The room was dusty from lack of use. Twigs had blown in, through unseen holes. Webs stretched across corners. Little rat feet could be heard crawling around in the walls.

“Do you think Nealy would ever come back here?” Alli asked.

“I doubt it,” Kaan said, “This place was abandoned for a reason.”

“Still worth a look, right?” Alli wondered.

Kaan didn’t answer.

They left the dilapidated, unmarked lab. As she got on the back of Kaan’s old Harley, Alli pretended she could see Nealy there – between the branches, coming through the ether, bleeding through from the other side, wearing a beige suit and a red ascot, ensconced in the brilliant rays of an aura – bright and shining, like the sun.