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This is My Bedridden, Sun-soaked Dream

This is My Bedridden, Sun-soaked Dream

Just read the story, it isn't too long.

3

Literary fiction


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C. L. Beare (United States)


I have always wanted to fly a kite, but the valley where I live doesn’t get any wind. The mountains are too treacherous to leave, so I am stuck here, waiting for the wind that will never come, with my handmade, dazzling kite. All I need is a light breeze, the kind that wraps around your cheek and rustles your hair. Maybe even a puff of air, just to get the kite flying for only a few seconds. But the valley air is thick and stale, not ready for change, even if change decided to come around.

My father helped me built the kite, back when I was little. We went out into the woods one day and looked for the tallest trees. Then he lifted me on his shoulders and I climbed to grab the highest branches, because they make the best supports. When we had more than enough sticks, he took the sticks and carried them over one shoulder, and took my hand in his and we walked home.

The next morning, he and I went into the street market and picked out the best silk that we could afford. It was my first time to the market. I had never seen so many people. My father held my hand real tight so that I would not be absorbed by the crowd.

Merchants’ cries and the buzz of chatter filled the dense air. I could see the early sunlight glinting off the coins that passed hands. There was a new smell in the market, not of natural pine that filled the rest of the valley, but of something else. Something that I can only assume was...people. And I remember, more clearly than anything else, was one rather short man who slithered through the crowd; and the way that, when he passed by, the foul stench was stronger than ever, and my father held my hand tighter. A few days later, my parents went to see that same man hanged in the town square.

The silk stand was at the far end of the marketplace, along with the other more expensive goods. There were all sorts of cloths, brilliantly patterned and dyed all sorts of bright colors. It was all as soft as freshly powdered snow. We only had enough money to buy a sheet of dull gray silk. I was allowed to carry it home.

Next we were to get the string. My mother spun the finest thread in the valley for that kite. I watched her as she spun, singing to herself, pretending that the rest of the world had melted away, leaving only her and the spinning wheel, floating in some empty space, bobbing up and down on her soft melody. And as I watched her, I saw what seemed like a tear form in the corner of her eye, but she brushed it away, hoping I wouldn’t notice.

And when the string was spun, my father and I gathered up the materials and fashioned the kite. He sat me on his lap and put my hands in his, and he guided my fingers in crafting the kite.

And now, the finished kite sits in a box on the top shelf in the kitchen, collecting dust as I dream of a strong gust of wind. My father and mother must be dreaming of the wind as well, from their resting places in the garden earth.

Sometimes I take the kite out of its box and hold it in my hands, and I blow gently on it, watching the silk sail flap in my breath. And then I bring in out into the garden, amidst my mother’s flowers. I sit on the bench across from the shared gravestone, and I run my finger along the kite seams. And sometimes my mind wanders up to the clouds, and other times it sinks through the soil and comforts my parents.

And one time, it stayed right in my head, as I sat on that bench. And then I looked at my home, and at the kite in my hands, and a crazy idea sprouted, then and there.

So I set the kite on the bench and went into the house, gathering up all the candles I could find. I gathered them in one great big pile on the floor and lit them, one by one. And when they were all lit, I tipped them over. I dashed out into the garden and spun around, watching the flames begin to spew from the windows and doors. And the smoke began to rise in great clouds, up into the pale sky. In the dead air of the valley, I had created my wind. Surely it was enough to get the kite in the air.

I grabbed the kite and unraveled some string, then cast it into the cloud of smoke. The heat pushed up into the sky. I didn’t care about the stench of burning pine, nor the house that would soon be ash, nor the crowd of my neighbors that saw the smoke and began to gather. I was alone in the world, with nothing but my kite, together floating through the vastness of the universe. And then I remembered the song of my mother, and began to sing under my breath. I watched the kite soar above me, carried by the smoke, and my soft melody. And then, in the corner of my eye, a single tear formed; and rolled down my cheek.


Competition: The Pen Factor 2016, Round 1

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