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In the Village"
by Wayne Faust
© 2011 by Wayne Faust
All rights reserved
Once upon a time I was a happy soul. Jolly even. But no more. My soul is black as coal and rough as a corncob pipe. That’ll happen when your dreams melt away.
They say that none of us remembers our beginning but I do. I felt something like silk plop down on the top of my head and I opened my dark eyes. What I saw was a little fuzzy at first. White flakes swirling everywhere in the most amazing patterns. As my vision improved I could only stare in wonder.
I heard a young voice behind me say, “I love the snow!” So that must have been what the white stuff was. Snow. Well, I loved it too.
Children were laughing and playing all around me. They made such a happy sound that I couldn’t help but smile. I began to dance around. The children went nuts. I was a hit.
So I started life with a bunch of kids as my friends. It was like a dream. Little did I know it would soon become a nightmare.
We went down to the village and somebody handed me a broomstick. What was I supposed to do with that? Sweep something? But I was having a good time so I just waved it around and danced some more.
The kids chased me as I ran all around the square shouting, “Catch me if you can!” It was a good day. But not for long.
After three trips around the square I noticed that the snow had stopped swirling. I looked down at the ground and saw white snow piled up everywhere. While I was looking down I saw my own stomach. It was a round, fuzzy ball of snow. So I guessed that I was made of snow. What was up with that? The kids around me weren’t made of the stuff. But I was. Maybe the reason the snow had been falling was so somebody could make me. The thought made me feel pretty important. But there was enough snow to make a whole army just like me. So where was everybody else?
I looked up at the sky. No more snow falling. There were soft patches of gray up there that could have been snow except that they were gray. In between were sections of blue. Something about those blue patches made me really uneasy. So I danced some more with the broomstick in my hand. The children followed me out of the square.
We passed by a house. And that’s when everything went horribly wrong.
I saw a dead body.
It was splayed all across the front yard. The head, which had been split in two, was on the sidewalk. One black eye was sticking out of each half. The stomach was upside down next to a bare maple tree. Worst of all was the orange-colored nose. A dog was eating it in the driveway.
How do you deal with something like that? One minute you’re dancing and laughing and the next you’re faced with your own mortality in the most ghastly sort of way. For a few seconds I just froze. And then I ran.
With the children following me I raced down the streets of town. To make things worse, a yellow light suddenly appeared in the sky. The beam hit me and I felt excruciating pain all over my body. I looked down in horror and saw that a clear liquid was dripping off my chin and down onto my stomach. And I felt myself growing smaller.
Needless to say, I was in a panic. I ran faster, feeling that clear liquid cascading down my body. I just had to get away from that light in the sky.
There was a traffic cop on the corner who hollered at me to stop. I knew there was only one reason he would do that – to keep me trapped in the light until there was nothing left of me. So I only paused a moment and brained him with my broomstick.
Thumpity thump thump thumpity thump. I was a lot stronger than I thought. The cop collapsed to the ground with red stuff coming out of his head.
The kids weren’t laughing any more. They were surrounding me, baring their teeth. I felt alone in the world. The only one who would know what I was feeling lay scattered across somebody’s yard with a dog eating his nose. So I swung the broomstick and smashed a few more heads. Thumpity thump thump thumpity thump.
By now, lots of red liquid was gushing out onto the snow on the ground.
My lower half began having trouble moving because it was all turning into clear liquid. I shook my broomstick at that miserable yellow light in the sky but it did no good. One of the kids threw a ball of snow at me and I felt the side of my face come off. That kid had once been my friend. Some friend.
If I didn’t get out of there, my bottom part would soon be too small to hold up the rest of me. So it was time to hurry on my way. Fortunately, the kids were a little shook up because of what I’d done with my broomstick so they didn’t follow. The little bastards just stood there as I sidled over the hills of snow.
Sarcastically, I waved goodbye and said, “Don’t you cry, I’ll be back again someday!”
And I will be back. As soon as that infernal yellow light disappears from the sky.
And I’ll have a broomstick in my hand.
(With apologies to Jack Rollins and Steve Nelson, the writers of the song…)
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