/’skAn/ : a loosely coiled length of yarn or thread wound on a reel

The Listless Signpost

So, I tried out One Two Fiver, and this is what I came up with:

The rusted post swayed, listless and signless, offering no help to travellers. Beneath it sat a man, weeping, frustrated by that lack. An infinity of miles from home, he could have used a little guidance as to which direction to choose at this crossroads. Instead, he was abandoned, left to wander.

It certainly didn't improve matters that he could recall nothing of how he'd gotten there, nor even remember his name. He knew only that his stomach growled, his mouth was dry, and neither food nor water could be seen from where he'd allowed himself to slump onto the dusty ground.

The wind in which signpost swayed, at least, was warm and smelled of something pleasant, a notion shimmering mirage-like at the edge of his thoughts. The scent reminded him of cooking over hot coals, of a day spent relaxing. But, oddly, what the wind carried didn't seem very appetizing.

It occurred to him that someone was screaming. It came from behind, but he couldn't bring himself to look. It was getting warmer, too. He felt an urgent need to move away from the screaming. A crackling sound, too, had risen in volume and the aromas of cooking were shifting to a more acrid fragrance.

Once he'd decided to try it, moving was not an easy task. He was on the ground for a reason, and his legs weren't doing anything for him. His arms moved, so he started pulling himself forward with elbows and forearms, digging hard into dirt and gravel, dirt and gravel digging hard into him. He'd still not come to an reasoned decision on direction, but forward and away seemed reasonable enough for now.

The ground gave way to solid pavement, which then gave way to a ditch, into which he tumbled before he realized it was there. Head and shoulders first, he landed on his back in an inch of muddy slime.

The night sky was above him, stars peeking in through branches and leaves and a growing haze illuminated in flickering orange. Below the screaming, which had followed him into the ditch, he heard distant sirens approach.

An ear-splitting, percussive wave of force and noise and light was suddenly born above him. Gravel and hot, sharp things rained onto his face until he brought his arms up to shield himself. He couldn't hear the screaming anymore. His throat hurt. The world faded numbly away.

Later, through eyes squeezed shut, he sensed white light searching for him. It found him, wandering beams come to rest on his face. He was lifted, gently, carried up and out of the cold, wet muck. The world retained its solemn silence, and he lacked the courage to open his eyes and face what terrible angels might be conducting his ascent.

With a jostle and a jolt, he felt motion in a direction not of his choosing. Numbness returned in a grateful wave, decision and struggle swept out of his grasp.

blog comments powered by Disqus