Are You Awake?

My mother and my uncle’s wife pretended to like each other. But they were so terrible at hiding their mutual loathing, that I never understood why they didn’t stop the farce and tell each other to go to hell. Or, at least, they should’ve had the decency to slap each other around until their ill-camouflaged glares bled some meaning into the world.

We traveled to the city to visit with my aunt and uncle every year. I had a love-hate relationship with the trip. My uncle was a fun military man, who always had a story for me. I was in awe of him and his white uniform. But his wife annoyed me. I wasn’t crazy about the fact that she would make my mother and I sleep on a plastic-covered couch in the living room. I wouldn’t have minded the floor. But she always said that she was afraid that “the kid would pee” on her carpet. The kid was almost a prepubescent!

The last time we visited my aunt and uncle was a somber affair for almost everyone involved. Except for me, I was a bundle of jolliness—my uncle was in the hospital, so I would get to spend some time with him without having to sleep on his wife’s horrid couch.

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All the happiness was ripped out of my heart, when we got to the hospital and a doctor told me that I could not stand too close to my uncle. “He is very sick,” she said to my mother. “And her allergies,” I had a skin disease that blessed me with a childhood covered in oozing sores… I have no idea why they called it allergies, “her allergies make her vulnerable.”

“But… can I talk to him?” I began to cry. Not because of what the doctor said, but because my mother was trying to hide sobs behind her hands—few things are scarier to a kid than the sight of a grown up crying. “He’s supposed to tell me about the time he ate his boots.” All of my uncle’s stories were like that.

“You can speak to him from the side of the bed, okay?” The doctor squeezed my shoulder. I looked at the floor and bit my lip, so that she wouldn’t notice that she had just touched a particularly angry sore.

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In front of my uncle’s hospital room, my mother helped me put on gloves and a facemask. “Don’t bother him,” she told me. “He can’t talk too much. You’ll say goodbye and wait for me outside.”

I didn’t say anything, just followed her into the room, and almost retched when the hot and thick scent of decay ripped through my nose and gut.

My uncle’s wife sat in a metal chair by the door, her arms crossed, her eyes red. She stood up to kiss my mother on the cheek. They began a whispered argument, and I walked closer to my uncle’s tiny bed.

His face was yellowish and swollen. “Tío?” I said, but his eyes remained closed as tightly as his cracked lips. I leaned on the mattress, and whispered a little louder, “Tío, are you awake?”

I’m not exactly sure what happened next. But my mother was dragging me out of the room. I couldn’t breathe. And my breakfast had hurled itself from my stomach to the front of my dress.

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The bus trip home was a confused dream, a nightmare that wouldn’t be fooled by open eyes. I didn’t talk to my mother. She hadn’t spoken to me when she helped clean my dress. But through the stink-soaked veil of my nightmare world, my ears heard my mother tell another passenger about maggots eating my uncle’s back, and about how “The bitch that tricked him into marrying her was to blame for the rot.”

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the wee notes…
– I’m almost sure that this was one of the experiences that nudged me towards joining the military—I really wanted to know what sort of circumstances could make a girl eat her own boots.
– Linked to Prompt Nights: “To travel is to take a journey into Yourself,” Sanaa said. “Life is a long road on a short journey during which we gather a bundle of good and bad” that can “break us or make us stronger. In the end it’s we who decide the outcome, and let the wings of fate take us where they may.”

My Colorful Dream, by Magaly Ohika“My Colorful Dream”, by Magaly Ohika
(find more of her wonderful work on her Etsy shop: The Itsy Bitsy Spill)

Shooting People at a Mad Dream Wedding

She saw herself through a foggy camera lens. She was young and naked, sitting on a wooden pew, surrounded by people wearing formal attire.

“You think the marriage will last?” an old woman said to her.

“I doubt it, ma’am,” answered the phantom voice of a young-sounding guy.

“This is a robbery!” yelled a priest, who stood on a white altar, holding a white gun to a limp woman’s temple. “Move an inch and, by god, I’ll shoot the bride’s head off.”

She jumped to her feet and covered her mouth with her hands.

click

She sat down too fast, and landed on a rocking chair in a small kitchen, staring at the old woman who was now crawling into a woodstove.

“I hope the reception is better. The ceremony sucked. I hate weddings,” the old woman whispered. “Close the door, dear, it’s not getting hot in here.”

click

“Hold on to me, babe,” the blond guy said, flashing a grin full of silver teeth. “I have drinks and an edible cake topper.”

“I don’t think the priests can shoot, sir,” said a guy, stripping out of a camouflaged uniform and picking up a yellow toy gun.

click

“Is he letting you out?” the blond guy said to the old woman.

“Yes.” The old woman changed positions in the woodstove. “I need to go to the post office. He knows it’s important. Fairy tale ovens are heavy, but woodstoves are really bolted to the floor.”

“Here,” said the blond guy, handing the old lady three dollar bills.

She grabbed them through the woodstove’s glass.

click

“Can you believe that priest? To think I wanted him to marry me.” The blond guy tsked.

She looked away from him and closed her eyes. She opened them back at the church, leaning against an orange glass door.

“Drop the gun, Father! Everybody can see the bride is already dead, and I know you’re drunk. Don’t make me shoot you,” a police officer shouted from inside the confessional booth. He aimed a crossbow at the priest; the tip of his arrow was on fire.

The blond guy nudged her. “I wrote a coded message on the three dollar bills. Robin Hood should confess his good deeds and light up the party.”

“Look at me! Look at me!” someone yelled.

She turned towards the shrilly voice. It was the young-sounding guy doing cartwheels in nothing but dingy tighty-whities. He came to a halt in front of her, spread his arms and bowed. He wore a thick layer of bright teal eye shadow around his left eye. His yellow toy gun was affixed to his chest with duct tape.

click

She was naked in bed, shaking away remnants of hot sleep. Someone knocked on the door, saying something about trying on sexy wedding dresses and how Hansel and Gretel really sucked.

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the wee notes…
First published in 2014. I tweaked the punctuation and a word here and there, but nothing else.
– Linked to Sanaa’s Prompt Nights – In dreams we enter a world that’s entirely our own. “Dreams. We all have them. We strive for something which at first we deem impossible. But as they say, the key to realizing a dream is to focus on its significance, cause then even our smallest steps and victories will take on a greater meaning.” I read Sanaa’s words and the tale above—which is a dream I had in 2014—and I wonder, what does it mean? The “dingy tighty-whities” disturb me a bit… and disgust me a lot, lol! But seriously, my Wicked Luvs, dreams are such marvelous things. And writing them as they are (or as we remember them) is just as wondrous to me.
– After rereading this story, and remembering my colored and poetized Tim Burton’s Cheshire Cat, I’m starting to wonder if I have something for silvery grins. I wonder, wonder, wonder…

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In Dreams, by okmarzo“In Dreams”, by okmarzo
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