Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Preview from the House of Sunlight book, (c) Marie Lamb

'Susan', short story by Marie Lamb (c) 2019

The sun is rising where it once set. I look at it only out of the corner of my eye. It is not the only thing today that has gone wrong. I saw a frog swallowed today, not by a snake or a bird, but by a flower with honey-sweet petals and no visible sign of malice. The water from the rock wall crept upwards through the cracks, and wandered back down the other side. I did not have time to examine it all. It was all so strange. But, most of all, most of all, Susan woke up.

And that was the only good thing that has happened all day.

All these few hours of it, so far.
It was barely after midnight.
The clock had begun ringing out the bells
I was still holding the bloody rag.
The one from the coughing that wracked her frail body.
The one she dropped to the floor, and I brought it back.
For some reason, I had not been able to accept the silence.
And then it was silent no more.

I sit here in awe of it.
And in fear of it.
And she looks at me.

I think it will take a little while, as it did before, the other way.
And then I will have to decide how to feel about it.
I will have to decide what to do with her, with me, with everything.

I took a walk through the garden, and it was brutal.
If we are living in the Unknown, so be it.
I came back, and still, she looks at me, beseechingly.

I know nothing, can say nothing, and am only quite small.
Maybe someone else will come through our doors before long.
If there was anyone left at all, and how will we know?

How long could it take, and what rules is Nature playing by
now that she has thrown her book out the window?

Perhaps, I only need to wait a little longer..

I curl up at her side and slowly, with one thin finger, she strokes my ears. Perhaps I have dreamed it all. The Death did not come in the night as I had imagined. Everything will be all right. The sun will reach it’s noon point and Susan will rise from her bed and begin to make tea. I think about the cakes, and they taste like frogs. I think about the frogs and they taste like chicken bits.

I think I’ll go have another turn around the garden.
And hope there are not any birds large enough to swallow me.

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