Wednesday, March 19, 2008


It was in the beginning of March when the storms came. We needed the rain from the long winter drought, but the terrific show that came along sent shivers through me. It had been a long day and as soon as the sun melted like layers of a peeled orange beyond the horizon, blackness crept through filling the shadows and leaving a silent hush over the forest. A wispy spell of rain traveled throughout the trees like a soft melody tucking them in for the lonesome night. A slick white tail of lightning shrieked through the starless sky followed by a rumble that washed excitement over me as I gazed out the glass window. The wind howled like a lonely dog, and the crack of thunder repeated relentlessly. The naked forest was awakened and waving in the careless wind as if saying goodbye to an old friend. I could see the ditches begin to fill with thick muddy water as it slid down the mossy bank like a snake. There was a constant dripping in the gutters above me as the rain began to fall more vigorously. It pounded the surface so densely and fast I felt it was strong enough to send a little wave. I could almost taste the ocean salt already. But the air was fresh, humid but clean like the oak trees now soaked in tears. I began to wonder at the black wearisome clouds. Why did they cry so?
I could imagine a weeping willow in this storm, its vines lashing against the wind like lightning, and as it always faces down never looking to the sun as if its arms no longer moved but wilted and blew like feathers in the forceful breeze. It wept, and in the dripping rain it resembled wild tresses of hair masking an obscure hollow trunk, coarse and shedding bark like an aged weather-beaten house.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

an old dream

I had a very strange dream last night. I don’t remember how it started… but I do know that I wasn’t in the dream, I was watching the dream as if it were a movie. I remember there was this little cottage in the middle of the woods on a mountain and this very large, fat woman owned the cottage. She was married to a frail, skinny, skinny old man with a chin that popped out like Pop-eye, and also a pipe that looked like Pop-eye’s, and he also squinted with one eye. Maybe he was Pop-eye. He wore jean overalls and a white undershirt with a cap and wobbled around with a crutch. The fat lady with short dark brown hair wore an xxxxxxL yellow polka dot dress with lace and little slippers. Now in this cottage my dream took place. One night the old man, I think his name was Jim, sat in the dining room at the table thinking hard about something. He knew there was something tricky about the house after he went to bed so he decided he would wait it out to see what would happen. But as long as his presence stayed in the dining room nothing happened. Just then a rock was thrown against the window. Jim heaved himself up with creaking bones and wobbled over to the window with the meanest expression an old man can give. There outside the window were about five children, looked like street children dressed like newsies. One little boy waved at Jim motioning him to come down. Jim just about opened the door when he was pulled back inside by something… something had grabbed him. He yelped and was flung back at the table losing his crutch. The little boys, seeing the surprised old man disappear ran up the deck stairs and tried to pull the sliding glass door open to get in the cottage. Jim looked around but didn’t see anything. He saw the little boys trying to get in but he couldn’t move. The boy who had wanted him to come outside smashed the glass window and led the troop in. There was a lot of commotion as they tried to get to Jim who seemed tied to the floor. Just as they passed over the checkered ground a large face appeared from a cabinet and then an arm with a chair for a hand caught one of them and pinned them against the wall. The little boy screamed and all of them got out their sling shots to fight the creature. As the boys were occupied getting free from the now alive kitchen Jim felt himself in a current of wind and floated down the stairs and into the laundry room just before his wife’s room. He didn’t want to wake her because he knew she would be furious so he tried his best to get back upstairs to help the little boys. Try as he might the furniture wouldn’t let him and he was pulled back down time and time again. Jim had finally figured out what was so haunted about this house… it was alive! Minutes later the boys came running down the stairs, they grabbed Jim and pulled him up and managed to get him out the broken sliding glass door just as he grabbed his crutch. Jim heard something he would never forget at that moment running or more like being carried down the stairs as the boys rescued him. It was a roar from his wife and the whole house seemed to quake under the power of it. Jim ran as fast as an old man can with a crutch. He ran down the winding road that led up the mountain to the house and just as day break came he disappeared into the woods on the side. His wife wasn’t far behind him huffing and puffing as she heaved her large body down a step on the road. She looked as if she might have a stroke any minute and her breathing was so loud Jim could hear it all the way down in the woods behind a tree. She stopped and looked around her as the sun just began to pop over the hills.
“JIM!!! COME BACK!!!” She yelled in such a deep voice it was almost worse than her roaring. She was madder than mad… and even though it could be heard all the way down the mountain from her anger, anyone who saw her running down the mountain new there was something terribly wrong because she was never, ever seen from that cottage. Many people believed she would never make it from the door. So as she stood there looking out into the woods Jim held his breath and frantically tried to plan an escape route. The boys who had run all the way down the mountain screaming brought the whole town back up the mountain in a commotion. The mayor decided to hold a town meeting on the roadside where Jim’s wife stood breathing like an elephant and peering out over the side like a stone. Jim would have to wait them out.
“Here here! Everyone take a seat!” The mayor yelled glancing at the large lady in the yellow polka dot dress before him. He couldn’t believe she was out of the house and no matter how polite he tried to be he couldn’t help staring; none of the town could. No one had ever seen her from the house before. She was even larger than the stories. The kids were too scared to laugh and they cuddled beside their mothers who quickly put a protecting hand over their eyes.
“Mayor the house is alive!!! And this lady here has something to do with it I tell ya!” yelled the little boy who had broken the glass door to save Jim.
“I see, and what is your name young man?” the mayor asked as he slammed his piece of wood to keep the towns people from the chattering gossip.
“Travis, sir. I know what I saw and that house was alive!” Travis yelled as he raised his arms and got his gang of boys to shout with him.
“Quiet down everyone! Please!” The mayor yelped over the boys small voices.
As the meeting was going on Jim slowly climbed back up to the road-side, cut across and went up into the woods just as soon as the meeting adjourned. Just then he heard the threatening loudness of his wife’s words.
“Anyone who finds my husband I’ll pay a thousand dollars to!”
Everyone stared at her in silence amazed that she could speak over her heavy breathing. She eyed all of them with such annoyance that everyone scrambled about in the woods and roadside to find Jim.
Travis’s gang split up to find and escape with Jim so Travis began looking as he paced down the road with his hands in his pockets and his brown cap tilted to the side. He stopped a moment, dusted off his brown jacket and just as he was doing so he saw a girl standing there. She looked at him curiously, her blue eyes never leaving his. She wore a white dress with a blue ribbon, black boots and her blond hair was done up so it looked unrealistic.
“I’m Polly.”
“I know who you are. Now what’re you doing in my way?”
“Well, I was wondering since everyone else is scattered around the mountain and I’d rather not look alone with that over-grown woman on the loose, maybe I could search with you.”
“I don’t want any company, especially from a girl.”
“Oh but I won’t bother you. I won’t say anything. I promise. Please?”
Travis put his head down and walked by her just as any eight or nine year old does when they’re moping. Polly turned around and followed with him a smile. At first she skipped, and then she walked alongside him all the while her eyes searching him.
“What’s your name?”
“Oh that’s a nice name. So where are we going Travis?”
“Away from here,” Travis mumbled.
“We are going to look for Jim, aren’t we?” she questioned eagerly.
“That’s what I’m planning.”
“Oh okay… so if we find him, can we split the thousand dollars?”
“No. How can you think of that? Giving poor old Jim up to a fat beast like her, I’ll never have it! Jim and I are going to escape. Besides, he’s got plenty of money, gobs and gobs of it and I could care less of that big woman’s money. Her house is haunted I tell you! I think all these years she didn’t want Jim to leave so she made the house come alive to make sure he never left. Well, I’ve done it now and Jim is free. Free, ya hear? He deserves it! So when I find him we’ll ride away in a carriage and never come back here again.”
“Oh how wonderful! Does Jim have lots of money? Does he have diamonds?”
“Oh yes, diamonds and rubies and all sorts of things. Jim and I have known each other for a long time and we’ve been on many adventures together,” Travis lied just to keep Polly’s nosy attention.
They walked on down the mountain at a slow pace and for a while nothing was said until Polly broke out, “Travis I’m hungry, I am!”
Travis stopped and pointed to a bush as if he didn’t hear her. He walked over to it and began pulling off black berries and plopping them in his mouth one by one. Polly watched how peculiar he looked and walked over to the bush. She pulled a berry off the thorny branch and starred at it.
“Oh Travis these berries are covered in cobwebs! I can’t eat these!” Polly exclaimed.
Travis licked his purple fingers, munched down the last of his bite and began walking again. Just then a black carriage rolled down alongside the children.
“You kids wanna ride?” the driver asked peering out the window at them.
“Sure!” Travis said excitedly as he opened the door and jumped in. Polly pulled herself up and took a seat beside him.
For a while it was silent except for the horse’s trotting on the dirt road until someone in the front seat began speaking in a low voice to the driver. Travis made most of it out.
“We’ll keep him for ransom is what we’ll do. That lady will pay more than a thousand to have him back. Let me tell you, we’re in luck this time. We’ll be rich!”
Travis feared they were speaking of Jim and he bit his lip.
“You kids looking for Jim?” the man asked in the front seat.
“Yes’m.” Polly answered.
“There’s no need. He’s already been found,” he laughed in a low grumble and looked behind the children.
Travis swung his head around and jolted when he saw Jim with a bleeding lip and sitting with tied hands on the very back seat behind him.
“NO!” Travis yelled. He quickly turned around and jumped forward to attack the man.
I am afraid I cannot tell you the ending of the story because it was here that I woke up.