I am lying in a field of tall grass. The sun is low in the sky. It is reaching me in golden beams through the pine trees in the distance. I am thinking about being a child, about how the world seemed like a jumble of places with only fog and blurred scenery them. I can find my way anywhere, now. I am grown and the world is sketched on a napkin, with red lines all over, turning into one another. We move along them like platelets
I came here to visit the places of my youth, one last time. Pulling into town, everything was small and there was distance between all of the houses. Instead of comfort, I felt lonely for all the space. I wanted to stand in the yard outside of my mother's kitchen window and stretch my arms like candy, until I reached the brick face of our neighbor's house. Of course, the people have all been gone for some time. I have no idea who lives there, now. I only drove by, trying to remember.
Being here is easy. A bird calls in the distance. I grasp at clover with my finger tips, twirl them around and around. I'm sure my back is broken. I haven't tried standing, but my legs wouldn't work. They are somewhere far below me, dangling in an ocean of otherness. I was thrown from my car. I came here to die.
Fifteen years ago, a house burned to the ground a few feet from where I'm laying. A girl escaped into the night. I was in high school; my hair was long and black and I parked along the winding road with a boy's head in my lap. She was wearing a white night gown. The hem was burned up and half-melted to her legs. I couldn't speak as she emerged from the trees, a glowing, terrible thing. I thought she was a ghost, with her beautiful, porcelain face, smudged with blood and dirt. I thought that I would die here, some day.
I'd like to say that she followed me all my life. I would have liked it, to be haunted, but she lived. She grew up and married a musician. I imagine them, now, how he must like to run his fingers along the length of the scars on her throat. Anna was her name. He must say it softly while he watches her sleep. I am nothing. It will be dark soon and I won't survive the night.
I raise my hand to my ear, imagining that I hold my phone. I see its green light against the forest, traveling pathways where things seek me, branches like fingers and knots on trees that pull the bark into leering faces with teeth. I blink and the light is gone. I am going, too.
For the Scriptic prompt exchange this week, November Rain gave me this prompt: Something had to be done, before the last bit of light faded.
I gave Michael this prompt: I'm finished with being careful.