Parchment

32 readings

2

Finalist
Jury Selection

It always surprises me that the belts and ribbons holding these people together have not burst. While they use proper forks and knives as real humans do, their eyes manifest such an innate instinct to eat any creature put in front of them. Juice and guts dripping from their mouths that I’m sure they will soak up with fresh bread to eat at the end of their meal. Their sweat and must makes me gag even with such a beautiful dinner filling every crevice of my imagination. I clutch the ends of my chair as a means to subdue the pain, but all it does is bring more. I am at my breaking point, so much so that I almost don’t notice the most gorgeous thing. Straight in front of me is a window drowning in the heavy rain. Beyond that window that feels as if it is going to shatter from the weight of that rain’s tears, is a fountain. And inside the fountain is a yellowed piece of parchment with a broken wax seal. And that parchment, while yellowed, blinds me.

The edge of my vision begins to blur. That smell... what a sweet smell. Thick, like honey and warm like tea. Moving, but where have my legs gone? I can’t feel them anymore, but somehow I know they are trembling. Hushed whispers imitate a cool breeze and, while gentle, it pushes me to go further, ignoring the aching of my heart as I pass the window and that parchment no longer graces my sight. Again I hear the wet smacks of pigs shoving chunks of flesh into overstretched mouths. My body cringes and I feel my legs again. They concentrate themselves with fear and tell me to go back, but I remember the breeze, and the honey, and the tea. It pulls me towards it. Finally, I can breathe the same air he breathes. The cold air fills my lungs and I am saved. My hands numb from reaching into the nearly frozen fountain. I expect to feel a sharp sensation as I release my hand from the fountain, but all my focus and attention is redirected to this wet piece of parchment. I remember him so clearly now. Holding the yellowed memory gives it life. My heart aches and cries once again, but only for the brief moment of happiness this letter has given me. No words on the page, but so many words flood into my heart. And as it fills with words, it fills with so many more memories, and I almost float away. He has saved me just as he promised. And there I am in that musty room again. Memories of honey and tea replace the past smells of manure. Years of his melodic poems overshadow the rhythmic smacking. And I am blinded again. Fat imbeciles return to being loving relatives once more. Their greed becomes my newfound love. I had seen them as these things - forgotten who they were to me. I had been the one greedy for each of them to become somebody they were not. That single yellowed parchment reminded me of their love for me as he once did.

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Image of Victoria LaBarre
Victoria LaBarre · ago
Hi! I'm trying to set a meet up between the story authors (no matter who wins) so we can meet each other on UTA campus, would you be interested/ what time are you free this Friday?
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Katherine Parks · ago
I'm just seeing this, but I just finished my exam and am free the rest of the day :o)
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Chasidah Fried · ago
Nice tight story , I liked the allusions.