- Vol. 08
- Chapter 03
Late evening on the way home. A woman was walking, dark-hair with parts that used to be bleached; murky orange ends in the evening light. It was cold, but all she wore was ripped jeans and a jacket, bubblegum pink with holes around the sleeves. Dirt gripped the beds of her nails and bits of purple lipstick here and there on her mouth.
Each move wobbled but her eyes held some point on the horizon. For hours now she’d been muttering about the day she’d been having.
Such sore feet now; what train of thought had led her to remove her shoes? One of her moods no doubt.
Funny to think at some point she might put them on again. Tie up clean laces and fasten the bow on a trainer. She imagined putting the clean fabric at the end - the kindest thank you she could think up for a shoe.
How long had she walked now? No way to know. And stupid to ask really. Her thoughts wandered to all the junk she’d picked up on her way, the little dirty objects that she couldn’t bear to leave.
A tiny wooden horse with one leg—not much help on the journey, thank you very much. Who’d heard of anyone taking a one-legged horse on a pilgrimage? People laughed, but she could hardly leave the tiny thing behind. He may be useless now sure, but look!—she'd say—He still has some of his markings left. Red paint faded pink... yes, of course, he’s bare and unvarnished in places.
Then a rope from the sea. Washed up and sandy from a recent storm, torn at both ends and thick, caught between the rocks. She couldn’t help but pick it up like a sailor.
She wiped her mouth and spat on the ground. There were more as well, things of tangled land. Just no more in her head at this time. She bent down. Next to where she’d walked something was poking out the earth, catching orange in the light—a wire, on closer inspection.
When she tugged on it there was no give. Sharp as well, it punctured her fingertip somehow, drawing a prick of blood. "Contamination," she thought as she sucked on it—no tetanus shots out here. When was her last one? And had she ever even had one? she couldn't remember.
Squatting against the now purple sun and sky, she wondered how far the body of this small, earthy, now-understood-to-be-deadly wire extended beneath her.