Day 20 – The Village

I wrote this in about half an hour – so excuse. And it’s not entirely a story in the traditional sense. Also, it has a strange beat. So don’t read it like normal. Ready it maybe like you would a song.

 

 

Word count: 735

 

There was a little candle in the window and tire for a swing hanging from the tree by the church. The shop was closed and the bus had passed; the wind was northerly and rain was coming in fast. Some villagers were sleeping and some of them were his friends. They’d be working tomorrow, as normal; some of them would be having a holiday soon. Their fires were still ambers and the chimneys still smoking. From the hill in the west you would have seen the crescent smoke rising over the roofs and over to where the river ran to through the ambling fields and forests and out to the wild sea beyond.

The high street was vacant except for a cat. The dustbin he had crept behind rattled in the wind. His eyes were glaring from the darkness, just like a tiger eyeing his prey. From out of the past a man in a hat, dirty jeans and a set of cowboy boots appeared by the building that used to sell sweets. It was closed now, nothing more than a home. He remembered the times they’d come after school, the summer afternoons and the warm greetings at Christmas. The thought made him smile and he continued down the street, passed the cat and his bin and out towards the old swing.

The village was different, though the streets were the same. The trees that were young were now the run of the town and the old man in the caravan was now in the cold, cold ground. His school still had the same red brick; the clock no longer worked though and the playground was padlocked. He clutched the railing and tried to crawl back to the games and the fears; the ignorance and innocence and the taste of the apples he always had as his play piece.

No more did the neighbours come round to talk. Their fences were high and the car in the garage. The rose bush of the lady round the corner was now cut back to twigs and the tiny patch of green between twenty-one and twenty-five was now twenty-three. But the small slice of pavement where he’d buckled his bike and lost his first tooth still had the dent. The sky up above showed the same twirling circle of stars and the sun still rose from the east.

The man’s shoes were tired and weary. He’d travelled the land far beyond this town. He’d left a boy and returned a man. Many years had gone by since he’d last glimpsed the old church spire lit up by the moon and the man could not help but reminisce about his time spent alone. Though loneliness bit, he’d fought back hard. The world, he’d been told, was scary and the people he’d meet would never match that of his mum. And the farther he’d ventured, the weirder it got. There was a planet full of little worlds just like this one; where there’ll be a tire for a swing and an apple tree yard in which the local school boys’ would hide. There’d be neighbours that’d talk and little corner shops. There’d be cats by bins that would lurk and watch you walk. Though the roads led to different places, the streets were the same. The skies always turn to night and the clouds would never not rain.

The man kicked a stone from the tip of his shoe. It spun like the skimmers he used to throw in the pond and landed at the foot of the sign. He’d walked the full length of the town and was at the end. He checked the hands on his watch and knew there was time. He could circle it again and relive the past. But the next bus was due before the night was to end so he sat by the sign and looked up to the light from some far off star. Maybe there there’d be a little fire still alight and the smoke would rise and crescendo over another little village with a summer fête and a rotary club. They were all the same, each and every one of the specks of light in the sky; all just children trapped in memories of Time’s lost mind, forever playing on tire swings and licking on ice cream; all spinning around on tiny rocks whirling around in the cold, cold cosmos.

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~ by S.G. Mark on October 27, 2011.

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