A Story

01.08.08 | Comment?

What better way to begin a year’s blogging than to share another story with the internets?  Here’s one I dashed off last month, another bit of flash fiction.  It was rejected by the one magazine I submitted it to, and I’ve decided it doesn’t need to accrue the indignities of numerous rejections required to find a home at some obscure and short-lived zine.  Might as well be published on this obscure but stable site.

 My Children

by Gryffyd Eamonn Dempsey

Our goblin has taken the children.  Trussed them like totems.  Dog fur has been hateful to us for many years.  Tufts of fluffy tail are glued to my little girl’s forehead.  She looks like a devil with a summer’s velvet on its horns.

My daughter carved spells to convince people that foul strong smells were faint and far away, like toiling peasants carting night soil to fields just visible from your luxury sedan speeding along the freeway.

“Has it harmed you?” I asked her.  I did not want to kill a child myself.

I looked past her, at the goblin sitting behind its garden fence of dragon bones.  Its stench wavered on the border but could not overwhelm me.

     My daughter does not love me.  Her other spells misrepresent me to gluttons.

Not many of you could be the sort who had led the revolution, fighting underground when many thought me a dead man, fingers warped by Interior Police torture, mind strengthened and honed by long ordeal and determination baked like old hardwood.  Not many had that to backstop their credibility.  I am a man of action and you always misjudged me.

     As usual you acted irrationally, such that when I withdrew you were meant to approach, and vice versa.  When I came into the room I naturally opened a window for your escape.  You invited me to reciprocate, then when I acted, you simpered that two wrongs do not make a right.

     Goblin gas seeps past us.  Where the holly tree had been was now an almost perfect circle of thatch and detritus in the middle of the lawn.  The several stumps seemed too small to have provided a skeleton for that erstwhile bulk, the massive shiny green thing that had shielded a secretive busy world, now denuded and destroyed for no discernible reason.

     My father kept me fed but traumatized my sisters on the other side of the wire fence as he spent hours on preparation of greasy brown stew, taking tastes from a wooden spoon while wiggling his bushy eyebrows at the women.

     The little boy was dead — in the night rats had gnawed through his stomach too eat the sugar in his belly.  He might have survived without a stomach but these rats defecated into his blood and their poisons showed how the care of dead orphans who look into the living world for help are treated.

     The father sat in the cold room in a bathrobe, shins hairy and bare, feet shod in slippers.  He cast an air of a gloom Christmas morning as he raised a hand to beat me.

     A dead, naked child, standing stiff, pointed at me and mocked my failures.

     “Pig-killer sacrifice,” he said.

     In each room of my father’s house a wall held a framed section of a map, so many rooms and so intricate the geography that no one could, by moving from room to room, say where they connected and if they all described the same land.  I found a map leading to the underground and lost myself there and when I left the house the reek of dragons was upon the land again.

     They say I slew the dragon but let it live too long in its dying.  It bred a poison that infected the world.  Goblins bred and planted our children in the fields surrounding their dens.

     I reached down and touched my daughter’s hand, then lifted it lightly.  She flinched as her innards grated against the stake.  She had no spells to save us and I no killing left in me.

     Our goblin has taken our children.  I know they are dead.

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