The Forsaken

About this Piece

I wrote this piece a while ago, experimenting with poetic prose. I focused on the feelings of being a millennial during the housing crash.

A spindled figure with skeletal hands and white skin stretched like elastic rubber bands.

This is what she has become.

— A withered, nervous creature teetering on the edge. On the edge of what, she isn’t certain. She hesitates in the doorway, wearing clean faux leather boots and an acrylic grey sweater, child-stitched. It tickles as she rubs the cracked skin of her lips together.

She tastes metal.

The door stands before her, solid wood, intricate iron knocker, and metal handle. The mirrored panels at the top are warped, tinted with light blue. If only they were clear— but the eyes are narrow, dismissive.

She is not meant to be here.

She thinks I must try, and grasps the handle with her bones, wincing when the knob does not turn. She lets go. Swallows. She looks for a spare like they do in the movies, under the welcome matt, in the pot of flowers, and atop the porch light.

No one has left her a key.

The lie she has heard over and over, and over rings in her ears. One day.

                                                                                                                                                    One day.

One day.

She taps a rhythm with the knocker. She is shouted at instead. The words mean nothing. They are the promise of a different age. The terms and conditions have expired and she is left flailing in the process.

She wants to scream. Scream until her throat bleeds, till the sound chokes, and she is open-mouthed and soundless. But her teeth are glued shut. Wouldn’t want to upset the neighbors, now would we? She doesn’t know they’re just cardboard cutouts set behind the windows.

Shoot for the moon, they said. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.

Now they say, kill your dreams.

The wooden panels of the porch turn to quicksand beneath her feet. Splinters and nails envelop her ankles and legs, pulling her away. She claws back toward the handle, straining her limbs.

Maybe if she held on long enough it would open, maybe she could pick the lock with a hair bobby, maybe, maybe, maybe

The pulp of wood drags her down, wrenching the doorknob from her fingers. It gurgles, swallows, and heaves, spitting her back onto the trimmed lawn coated in sawdust and capitalist lies.

This is what she has become.

Idiot Child

About this Piece

Original flash fiction. This is for an original character of mine named Hadrian Marlowe about the time she was an idiot child and what it cost her.

The crunch of metal, the fingernails digging into her arm, speed meeting impact and folding into concrete as pain and terror flit and then stop with an unyielding cut to black—

Enticed by words that sung a song of worship and destruction, she promised herself to a deity—or at least, that was how Mom spoke of love. Had spoken. Her mother had seemed fanciful when she reminisced on those days, the beginning. She had spun those words like a mirage, and Hadrian had enjoyed those nights—warm and safe, snuggled against her mother and siblings on the moth-eaten couch, the VCR playing Lion King, brushing off the dust that fell from the ceiling of the apartment as the train thundered by.

Why did you have to go?

Hadrian couldn’t remember why her father had left. From what she gathered from half-remembered musings of her mother, they had separated due to differences. Mom hadn’t wanted to talk about it. She always wondered if maybe one day they would find each other again. Now they would never get the chance…

The screech of rubber on pavement, where metal met concrete and folded into an unyielding cut to black—

The moment played in front of her eyes, again and again, the scent of acrid smoke and toxic fumes intertwined with a copper tinge. Crimson splattered across the blacktop and Hadrian felt the breath leave her lungs and she regretted shutting her eyes at the moment of impact. All she had left was the moment, the young memory of an idiot child who didn’t know better, as they chased the ball into the street without a sideways glance in either direction. She had the sensation of vibrations beneath her shoes, the tremor in her limbs as she looked up to see a twined sun her eyes. She had the sharp wrenching pain of fingernails sinking into her arm and tossing her like a ragdoll back to the curb, the figure of Mom standing there and the half second of a mistake colouring her mother’s beautiful face.

And then the screech of rubber on pavement, where metal met concrete and folded into an unyielding cut to black.

Was it real?

She had remained a castaway heap, a numb cold settling in her frame. Her siblings hovered, shocked, horrified, confusion in every word that filtered through one ear and out the other with uncomprehending sound. She had seen the people cluster and scatter—had seen the hands that touched her arms and pulled her, a lifeless doll, toward a cacophony of blue and red lights. She turned back, looking around the tangle of limbs—toward the once beautiful creature reduced to mincemeat, wide brown eyes, now vacant and empty.

She staggered back into the blanket wrapped around her shoulders, the surge of emotion in her throat like shards of glass. So this is what happened when you were an idiot child. She had tasted regret and she never wanted to know its flavour again. So she killed it and closed her eyes.

The screech of rubber on pavement, where metal met concrete and folded into an unyielding cut to—