Friendship Fiction

An outstretched branch bends as clawed feet alight. Breaking blossoms peak through searching for spring. Black wings perched. A glimmering, faded sequined button held fast in a beak. A pause for danger. Flutter. A warm updraft. A peaceful glide. Scattered bread crumbs land softly. A trade.

Hands strangely wrinkled grasp one another. A cloud lets free a sunbeam. Reflection. Thoughts of childhood. Sparkles of light scattered on the ground. Wisp of memory. There but for a moment…What was it? Forgotten, forgetting. Hair pushed back neatly. Pale white, absence of color. A strand falls softly on deep laugh lines. Wicker seating cracked by the sun creaks. Cold tea, opaque with added milk sits in anticipation. Aged bones move slowly. Foot follows foot. Careful. Shuffle. Grab. Pocket.

Clink. Mason jars in a row. Full to the brim. Another treasure finds a space. Next to the lost rusty key. Red sequins fading, nestle in. The round pink balls of the broken beaded necklace winding. Pale blue marble lurking. Oblong white pebble watching. Worn green glass smiling. Strange friends in a glass sphere. Sunlight casts odd colored shadows. Chipped empty tea cup on blue tile.

Hunger. Bottomless, bone deep. Three cries into the crisp blue dawn. Cradled inside intertwined broke twigs and dried mud. Mother, mother, mother. MOTHER! A call from the distance soothes. Flap. Wings embrace. Warmth. Bread and worms in breakfast mash. Calm.

Apples ripening in the spring sunlight. Sugar filled fruit sit heavy on outstretched limbs. Some fat and fallen. One bite missing, insides browning. Scurry, scurry by you dark four legged thief. Flap. The dark one lurking. Too late as the thief finds refuge in a hidden hole under the thorny rose bush. Tunnels, deep and warm beneath spring frost. Nest of little thieves. Warnings of black diving claws. Careful little ones. Careful.

Criss, cross pattern crumbles. Cinnamon and steaming. Metal rack, bent, worn, used, loved. Apple peelings spiraled beneath wet paper towels. A rocking chair still with sleep. An apron sprinkled with flour as a blanket. Little fingers. Impatient tiptoes. Poke. Lick. Warm and sticky evidence on the doorknob.

Impossibly high up. Hidden behind green where the blossoms have become fruit. Leaves cradle uneasy flyers. Go now. You must. This is part of the journey.

           One brave. Two determined.

Three, no not yet.

Hesitation. A nurturing shove. Plummet. Wings fan out, wind catches. Ground approaching until. The sky is yours my children. One, two, three…mother up, up. Watching eyes fail to catch the twitching tail. Distracted heart. Black wings fallen.

Three small figures perched. Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos on a branch. Aching hands scatter nibbles of baked grains. The ebony effigies take flight, circle and descend. Aged eyes look up. Old black winged friend replaced. Clarity of thought, but for a moment. Laughter, longing, loss, youth. Toss, toss. What gift today? A small beak sets free a piece of cut red yarn. Wrinkled fingers caress the end. Perhaps the fates after all.

A breeze sends green leaves now yellowed and brown falling. To decay, to become the earth. To feed the worms. Warm round ball in the dome above rises later each day. The lazy tilt of the sky moves again towards cooling. An auburn fluffy tail buries bounty for the coming cold. A growl. Twitching tail promises to pounce. A leap to the brown boards and onward to an outreached arm of a tree. Scurry to the very top. Safely starring, chirping reprimands at the four legged hunter.

Dried scattered leaves dance lightly beside empty wicker. A crowded room filled with hushed and guarded voices.  Somber colors. Twos and threes sit huddled in corners. Quite condolences. Passed plates with soggy sandwiches. Absence of the warm laughter. Tiny feet wander between the larger trunks of pleats and pats. A stranger perched in a rocking chair spilling on crochet. Wrong, wrong, wrong. One loud small voice raised, cast outside to play. With what? With whom? Silence without a wrinkled hand for company.

Three winged creatures ponder. Friend missing, replaced by a small black cloaked thing slouched on wicker. Creak, shift. Staring up blankly. Daring. Empty eyes full of missing. Three black figures looking back. Flutter. At a distance, three beaked jelly beans fall. Angry bread. Broken bread. Soggy, salty bread. Jellies join faded sequins and the rusted key. Strange new partnership.

Glass jars in a row. Sentries of a sink. Dishes forgotten. Empty of cinnamon and warmth. Blues, reds, rainbow hues through glass fall. Two pale blue saucers, rimmed red, stare up. Salty water falling on tile. An old wooden stool makes a stair. Purposeful feet. Small sorrowful hands. Tentative. Caressing. Grabbing. Holding cold glass filled with treasures. All that’s left.

Determined feet in black buckles. An open gate. Jar of treasures clasped tightly.

Three beaks with bread firmly held. Curious. High above, following the tiny black cloaked thing that cannot fly.

Between the rows of bleak grey stones. Engraved with names. To mark the existence of that which was and now is not. The clink of bead and bauble against glass held tight in determined hands. There is no cinnamon here. Up ahead a mound of overturned earth. Fresh flower wreaths. Fallen husks of once green leaves scattered. The skirt of a black dress brushes the earth as knees collapse. Fingers trace the engraving of a name. More than a name. Now just a word. Placing carefully the mason jar underneath.

Sun fading. The flightless black thing curled on the overturned earth. Exhausted sleep. Pale arms shivering. Three black faces watching. Fading sunlight through glass on shared treasures casting colored patterns. Descending. Considering. Moved in close, six wings blanket shivers with warm feathers.

Winter white pillows of snow on cold wicker. Blue eyes hide beneath heavy hat searching. Bright crochet scarf wound tight bundling. Red boots stand waiting. Three swirling figures cast shadows on the snow. Blue bead baubles offered. Warm cinnamon cookie in hand outstretched. Tossed pieces of friendship speckle the snow. In a windowsill a glass jar slowly filling. A bowed head of thanks. Upwards, sky bound. An outstretched branch bends as clawed feet alight.

February 19, 2023 16:43

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RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

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