Uneasy Hearts Weigh the Most

July 17, 2009

The summer heat was a monster, back then. Sitting on the highest hill in Meridian, I could see it running towards me, snarling and teeth agape. It wasn't the best place to meet, on top of that hill, but it was quiet and private. Mostly, it was just tall green grass and pastel colored flowers for miles. The hazy city was barely visible, and just a messy blot in the countryside rather than a booming town. Gabe's cottage was the only sign of life I could see.

The grass was almost halfway up the cottage, and Gabe's mother had to stoop just to get in. Even the smallest trees I had seen were longer than his house. Crumbling gray brick, thin roof. It was small and crude enough to blend in with the sea of green, unlike the large brick houses near the city where I lived. For that reason, I loved it. It was just an extension of the country, welcoming, instead of the impassive city houses baring all nature from coming in.

I could see Gabe when he walked out his house, black hair making a dark contrast to the bright field. I saw his hobbling gait, the path he made as he crushed grass and flowers underneath his bare feet. Grinning, of course. He was always grinning.

I picked at flowers while I waited, thinking. What if he had lied? It didn't seem likely, since it would make him look a fool, but it was possible. Even so, that mocking smile on his face, the assured tone of voice when he said he would win the game this week made me anxious. I glanced in the small bag by my side, pulled out the compass in it. Battered, bruised, beautiful. If I lost this week and had to give it to him . . .

With a thud, he landed on the ground next to me. I dropped the flowers immediately, ants and beetles fled at the sight of him. It wasn't surprising; I almost wanted to do the same. His dirty black hair, crooked yellow teeth, and tattered clothes didn't give the best impression.

"Pretty," he said, jerking his head towards the flowers. "You gonna make me a crown for me outta those?"

"No," I said, looking down. Silence. "So what'd you get?" I asked, peering through lowered eyelids at the bag by his side. Curiosity had gotten the best of me, no surprise.

With a flourish, he grabbed the bag. In slow motion, he opened it, glanced inside, and then pulled out -- by the thumb -- a severed hand.

"Nice," I breathed.

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This article has 3 comments.

tAB0-4-tEA said...
on Aug. 11 2009 at 12:37 am
o.o- i want to know the rest. the scene drew such a realistic picture in my head. i would love to read the rest of it! -K.D

terez1106 said...
on Aug. 6 2009 at 5:28 pm
I enjoyed reading this piece; I could see the scene vividly as so keenly described by the writer. I think there's a budding author in the making here. Good work!

Theresa4303 said...
on Aug. 5 2009 at 6:16 pm
I want to know the rest of this story.

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