Art & Literary Magazine
Disclaimer Share Art & Literary Magazine of Kennesaw State University is publised annually in print format. The online edition is ongoing. The publication is funded through student activity fees and is free of charge to all members of the KSU campus community. All literature. artwork, and digital work are self-expressions of those who created them and are not intended to represent the ideas or views of the Share staff or its advisors. They do not reflect the views of KSU faculty, staff, administration, student body, KSU student publications board, or the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. Artwork contained in the magazine or on the website is not intended to specifically illustrate any literary work or vice versa, but may have been placed according to content. This includes editing artwork to better serve the magazine's needs in terms of size or composition with textural elements. We welcome artists to contact us if they find this policy unacceptable. Though all artists may retain rights to their work, Share reserves the right to print and reprint all submissions.
Hi’ya Fellas, I’ve finished school and I’m out in the world now, so I want to write to our readership today and give a bit of insight into my thoughts on education and being an artist. I went to school as a child because I was told that I must. High school was the same and I knew that a college education was expected. The American education system sets up hoops for us to jump through and promises that, if we travel that long road, good things will be waiting for us in a vague and distant world of being adults. I see a lot of students who treat college the same way that they treated high school. It’s just a thing that they have to do. They go to class and get through the day so that they can do something they actually enjoy when it’s done. We’ve been trained over the course of our entire lives that this approach will work – that we’ll finish school and get a job and make money and everything will work out. I’m writing to you today to remind you to demand more – to demand more of yourself, more of your teachers, more of your time, and more of your education. No matter your field of study, whether you're an artist, a writer, or a designer, take a long look at the professionals - the big names.
The classes you attend in school are an opportunity for you to develop and refine the skills that you must have to set yourself apart from everyone around you. Don’t read your books because it’s on your syllabus. Don’t do your projects because you need to get a good grade. This is your time to build yourself. This is your time to become so good at what you do that when there are no more grades and someone asks you, “Can you do this? Are you the best?” you can be confident in saying that you can do the job – that you are a master of your craft. No matter your field of study – if you’re an artist, a writer, or a designer – take a long look at the professionals – the big names. Those people are not living in that vague and distant world. They are your competition. You must be better than they are. Pursue only what you love. Give passion to everything that you do. Regards,
Christopher Michael Wong Editor in Chief – Share Art and Literary
Contents 7 She Devil
8 Sea Saint
J. Morgan Booker
9 A Seeing Eye 10 Chicken and Biscuits 11 Crazy O's 12 Conversations
Julie Fowkes David King Ashli Fletcher
25 Green Diptych
27 Child Hood Reflections #3 28
Drop of Magic
Sarah Hamby Jeff Cecil
14 Passanger Seat
If You Lie Down with Dogs,
15 3rd Koi Puzzle
You Get Up with Fleas
19 Pilgrim, Tread Softly, for
Megan Gehring Clint Crider Sarah Singleton Laura S. Dabundo
This Is Hallowed Ground 20 Cruel Summer 21 Madame Butterfly #3 22
23 Modernity With a Limit 24
33 The Uh-Oh Feeling 34 Cafe 35
Reading to the Elderly
36 Everything You Miss Johnathan Welsh Elizabeth Ross Ashli Fletcher Lisa Dalton Kay Um
37 Time After Time 38
39 Timeless Classic 40 In the Name of God, the
Compassionate, the Merciful
David King Clint Crider Bradley Lewis Sarah Singleton David King Alex Tramble Johnathan Welsh Emma Byington Jeff Cecil Laura S. Dabundo
The Second Coming of Christ
47 Tranquillo Pomeriggio 48 Dancer 49
Odd Man Out
50 Chris Moon's 115th Dream
Bradley Lewis Chris Moon Jeff Cecil Sarah Singleton Erin McClanahan Chris Moon
52 Why I Run
53 The Idiot 54
56 Child Hood Reflections #1 57
If You Find Her
58 Light Blue 59 By the Candle Light 60
Bradley Lewis Christopher Martin Bradley Lewis J. Morgan Booker Erin McClanahan Clint Crider David King Cameron Van Shiflet
62 Two is the Loneliest Number
Cassidy R. Becker
64 Triple Threat
66 The Gravedigger
67 Modern Day Saints: Kate 68
Michelle Perez Villarreal Imani Marshall
71 Cutting Coupons
Jul 3, 2010
73 The First Snow
She Devil Emma Byington
Screenprint on Bristol Board 8x11
Sea Saint J. Morgan Booker
Oil on Canvas 30 x40
A Seeing Eye Julie Fowkes
after Ted Kooser He is a happy boy, says the smile on his face, peppered with freckles just visible through the haze. A curious boy too, says the careful deliberate fondling of a pebble smoothed by the rippling shore; a fearless boy, says the confident leap into the lake, not yet warmed by the sun, just rising in the East. But not a sure footed boy, says the stumble and fumble for a stick not quite within reach. The dog loves him, says the length of his stride eager to aid and the sparkle in his eyes at the gift of praise; and he never tires, says the conscious effort to create movement with noise. He is proud, says the height of his head and the point of his tail. They share a bond, says the hand that gently grips the soggy fur that leads the way. Something is wrong, says the direction of a gaze with a motioning instruction; and the mindful path of the obedient companion avoiding rocks and dips in the sand as he guides the way. They are more than friends, say the shadows in the sand that move harmoniously as one. Something is different, I think.
Chicken and Biscuits David King She’s old, Black, and in my remedial class. We like one another immediately, sense a kinship, though we’ve no real common heritage. So we talk after class. She says she’s raised eight children, that she knows babies and kitchens, but not much about writing. Chicken and biscuits, she says, That’s about what I’m best at. She promises me some. I tell her she knows more than she thinks, I tell her she’s had experience. So she writes, revises, gives me an essay. I hand it back a week later, bleeding with red marks, an unfair trade for the wax paper bundle she holds out for me. Take it, she says, I made it special. Now, if you teach, you’re used to gifts, thank you notes, girl scout cookies at a discount, but this was something else entirely. I felt ten years old again, at my grandmother’s. This really takes me back, I say, and she holds up her paper— I can see the careful circled F in the corner, a coffee stain, the patronizing comments. Yes, she says. Me too.
Crazy O's Ashli Fletcher
Marco Digital Photography 8x9
Conversations (with a Shot of Doubt) Stephanie Villa Would you believe me if I said I don’t mind the cold? I don’t care for warmth, not the kind that's not human, though. It's true I can’t appreciate the sun. Like a death ray in my eyes. A broken toaster to my gringa skin. Would you believe me if I said I don’t want marriage, nor children, nor house, just a nice kitchen? (For my vegan Filbert Gateau. You're smart enough to make your own damn caveman sandwich.) What if I said I expect you to wake up every morning, right before and after me, right after the sun?
You say: “Black and white whales won’t hurt you. And it shouldn't matter because I'm here. Follow me into the water, and I’ll teach you how to swim, to breathe. Take my hand, and I'll get a ring for you. Do what you want with it.” Would you believe me if I said I’ve always known you? Your crazy, soft hair, the frankness of your eyes. Cards were optimistic, Venus constantly teased, but I never believed. So why would you believe in me?
Passenger Seat Stephen Tyler You’re always there beside me, comfortable in all the silence. Sing a tune every now and then. Getting lost in all the miles, endless hills roll on by. The animals stare up as we go by. The wind in our hair, it smells like fall. The further lost we get down the road. I can’t seem to go it alone, even though with you we don’t say much. Sometimes being quiet can say it all, at least it amplifies every time we touch. Even after dropping you off and watching the sun disappear with the heat, I look over and remember our little adventure and your scent on my passenger seat.
3rd Koi Puzzle Sarah Hamby
Floyd Megan Gehring My grandmother raises parrots, and she doesn't like evacuating. She'd rather paint the plywood with their feathers. They sit on their perches, wrapped in blankets, drowning out the pounding. Inside, Mom stays hidden. She feels safer encased in porcelain, wrapped in towels. She'd prefer to float away and be lost before killed. Dad sits in the kitchen, counting bread loaves or beer cans or thunder, while I pull Grandma inside, holding the door shut behind her.
Flightless Bird Clint Crider
Oil on Canvas 36x36
Abandoned Sarah Singleton
Medium Format, Silver Gelatin Print 11x14
Pilgrim, Tread Softly, for This Is Hallowed Ground Laura S. Dabundo Twelve hundred years before, a pride of dark-enshrouded forms, heavily cowled and virtuously cloistered, wove through the gorse and nettles down the centuries past to the well or spring or creek that bubbled up. The billowing pillows cross patterns in a gray and restless sky mimicking the wooly sheep that range the fields beneath. I looked into the eye of a ewe or ram, and, registering together, I and ewe, it became I and thou for a moment. She came sweetly toward me, Agnes of God. And so, pilgrim, later, weave you softly too. Holy ground lies beneath us, Holy Erin, I and thou.
Cruel Summer Johnathan Welsh
Oil on Canvas 36x48
Madame Butterfly #3 Elizabeth Ross
Digital Photography 5x7
Iron Hans Ashli Fletcher
Ink and Acrylic on Bristol Paper 9x12
Modernity With a Limit Lisa Dalton
Rolled down windows cut dirt trail storms in two by fours that keep little girls from leaving Daddy's side too soon. Locals don't give directions to strangers & when signs lead nowhere and you stop to ask your way around, even the town atheist will you tell this is God's country. "But we were hoping to go next door to wait for the next opportunity to buy our vaginas a contract," It's already been seven years, give or take a few. Nowhere left to go because our uncivil union, with plans lost between maps and that atlas from 1989, is reaching the end of the globe. Our third fingers were discovered flat, and we need those Santa Ana winds to re-inflate them so we can scream like every XX and XY couple in this village of high school sweethearts producing two-point-five clones per household.
Queen's Throne Kay Um
Charcoal and Graphite on Bristol Board 16x21.5
Green's Diptych Emma Byington
Dreaming Boy Katie Sigman The flames licked out through windows black with smoke and blinding ash. A mother screams, a child dreams within the burning shack. Fireflies and lightning bugs danced behind his dreaming eyes. The dreaming boy continued sleeping through his motherâ€™s cries, deaf to sound, blind to light, and senseless of the heat. The famished flame and starving smoke devours all it sees. The glowing bugs began to burn, bursting into embers. The dreaming boy forgot the fireâ€” the dream he remembers.
Child Hood Reflections #3 Bradley Lewis
Watercolor on Paper 5x7
Drop of Magic Ashli Fletcher
Macro Digital Photography 8x8
Disengage Sarah Hamby
Conte, Ink, and Acrylic Paint on Bristol Paper 18x20
Landscape Jeff Cecil
If You Lie Down with Dogs, You Get Up with Fleas David King At the Sweetwater Inn in Austell, Georgia, the waitress shuffles by your table, asks if you want beer, barbecue, or both. The sun’s last glare slices like a razor through the window. An old man tuning up on stage steps back from the light, starts working the hard labor blues. Wary music eases through the smoke, tries to quiet a trucker’s old lady saying, look at me when I’m talking to you, to a lean sack of bones with Vaseline hair. Soon the boys slither in off the highway, paid up and looking for trouble, when it’s only love they really need. All night long across the road, freight trains shove toward other places. Later when the faces blur, and everyone seems beautiful, you might stumble out onto the gravel, listen for the next train’s rumble, roll with it into the night, going nowhere fast.
Hard Time Clint Crider
The Uh-Oh Feeling Bradley Lewis
Oil on Canvas 36x72
Cafe Sarah Singleton
Digital Photo 8x10
Reading to the Elderly David King On the Extended Care Unit, they don’t seem to want Scripture. One at a time they wheel in, or hobble on walkers, warding off nurses. I stand, then think I’d better sit, and someone with a tank attached asks what you so nervous for? Least you ain’t got to stay here. They all laugh, so I don’t worry anymore about them falling asleep. I start with one on baseball, which they seem to like, but then the only man asks for something sexy, and the reading takes a turn. It bothers them that nothing rhymes, and two women can’t stop crying, but I get fixed up with about ten granddaughters. It seems I misjudged them, and in the end, I even read a death poem, which they seem to like the best of all. That one, they say, we can understand.
Everything You Miss: Alex Tramble
kicking lonely through the autumn leaves you wondering how life came to this. but we're all still here, like everything you miss: the moment, the moon, the mirthful child's bliss. staring like strangers who swear they knew, sitting on benches while shadows grew, rising up towards the night's debut, moving like moths near the light of you.
Time After Time Johnathan Welsh
Oil on Canvas 24x30
The Decay of Beauty J. Morgan Booker
Oil on Canvas 30x40
Timeless Culture Jeff Cecil
Charcoal and Conte 30x22
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful Laura S. Dabundo Muhammad Atta rubbed his eyes. He had expected a blinding light, perhaps, the light of righteousness, the glare of illumination and enlightenment. But then he remem-bered and smiled and lay back. Of course, that was not necessary. All that planning. All that prayer. All those blessings. All the money. Of course. Everything had fallen into place perfectly. Praise belongs to God, the Lord of all Being, the All-Merciful, the All-compassionate, the Master of the Day of Doom. Those stupid Americans with their grinning, shit-eating faces (ooh, Allah, forgive me. I did not mean to allow vileness in my mouth.) But, really, stupid baseball hats worn backwards, no protection from the sun, no protection. Just assuming that everything would be all right. And that’s just what those gleaming towers looked like, too, in the morning sun. The innocence of evil. Sweet and doomed. How wonderful to be an in-strument of Allah. Atta sat up suddenly. But where was he, exactly? He looked around. The light was soft and dim. He seemed to be in a shady grove of some sort of tall, old, fir trees, not palm trees, certainly, just green and soothing, gentle on the eyes. He was on the ground, on a soft surface, part grass, part earth. He patted it and smiled, again, yes. All was all right. Praise Allah. Suddenly there was a sting and a sharp crack. His neck felt pierced. He straightened his back and looked around. There standing behind him not one meter away was a tall male figure, wearing a brilliant scarlet uniform, belted with a blinding gold sash, brandishing a slim, black whip, like a snake, which had just sailed through the air to cut his neck! He put his hand to his neck and then brought it around. Blood! His blood! He was bleeding! In Paradise? “In Paradise?” The man (some kind of guard?) echoed his thought. “Oh, yes, you are in Paradise. Stand up!” Atta stared at him. A white man, moving ominously toward him. Hmmm. Not what he would have expected. But God’s ways are inscrutable. “Now!” “Who are you?” asked Atta. “I am an agent of the Lord.” “Oh, praise to God!” The whip sizzled again through the air, and Atta recoiled and jumped.
“Better. Now pick up your silver goblet there.” “Where? Oh, yes, whew.” Atta crawled quickly over to a large and beautiful, very ornately carved chalice, like something he had seen once in a church, almost ten centimeters tall in length. He grabbed its stem and inspected its interior. Empty. Dry. They shall be served with silver dishes, and beakers as large as goblets . . . They shall be attended by boys graced with eternal youth, who to the beholder’s eyes will seem like sprinkled pearls. When you gaze upon that scene you will behold a kingdom blissful and glorious. Why there’s nothing in it? Oh, yes, not yet! He sniggered and looked up at the guard. “STAND UP, YOU FOOL!” Atta scrambled to his feet. He felt, though, weak and unsure of his balance, almost as if he was bruised all over, not whole and hale as he usually felt. He tottered a bit on his legs. It was the guard’s turn to snicker. “Walk ahead of me!” “But I don’t know where to go!” “ The whip will tell you!” Atta jumped. “Do you have to use that? I am a be-liever of God, ready to be rewarded!” “Oh, you’re going to get your reward; that’s where we’re going. Now march.” They marched. Or at least Atta marched. Behind him, whatever the guard did, he also beat a staccato tattoo on the left or right, as one might to guide an animal on a leash, and Atta quickly learned which command meant “left”; which, “right”; and, painfully but swiftly, he learned the command to accelerate. Atta had no sense of how far they walked into the grove, between the gently stirring pine trees. A soft breeze ruffled his clothes, bathed his head, and caressed his body. His clothes were surprisingly torn and scorched he noticed, but he had no time to attend to them now. Later, obviously, there would be robes of silk, but for now, this would do. God will deliver them from the evil of that day and make their faces shine with joy. He will reward them for their steadfastness with robes of silk and the delights of Paradise. Reclining there upon soft couches, they shall feel neither the scorching heat nor the bit-ing cold. Trees will spread their shade around them, and fruits will hang in clusters over them. If it weren’t for this infernal guard, surely this would be Paradise. But this must be the last preparation. The final test. They walked for some time. Atta started to feel tired, spent. But he dared not lag. He could pass this test. He was a soldier of Allah.
And after some time it appeared that the light ahead began to change. It became focused, as though the trees were forming themselves into ranks, a promenade, and the path that they had beentraversing shaped itself slowly, bit by bit, but decisively, as more and more stones of increasing size accumulated under their feet, into a road, an avenue, paved and civilized. As they progressed, in the distance a shape appeared, and as they approached it solidified into a canopy, a tent, with three sides open. And as they neared it, inside Atta saw a person resting on a mound of pillows in a loose flowing caftan, surrounded by bowls of apricots and tangerines. Aha, now at last, rest and refreshment. The whip cracked sharply. Atta halted. The guard said, “Go there, to that side to fill your goblet.” At the back of the tent was a large cistern. Atta slowly filled the goblet with a fragrant golden liquid. He stood up and lifted the chalice to his lips. The whip cracked across his arms, and he dropped the goblet. “Fill it again! Did you think it was for you?” “I am thirsty,” he muttered. “And you will be much thirstier!” The whip crossed his back, and he flinched and screamed. “Fill the goblet fast!” Atta obeyed and then looked at the guard. “Now take it over to that man.” Atta was startled, to say the least, but heeded the command. “Give it to him.” Atta did as he was told. The man, about his own age, dark haired, but wearing a yarmulke, took the goblet and greedily emptied it and handed it back. “More,” he said. Atta looked at the guard. The guard smiled. “This is your master, slave. This is Aaron Silverstein, who toiled in the World Trade Towers. Yes, you are in Paradise. You are in his Paradise. You are his servant and slave. For eternity, you will do his every bid-ding. And if you refuse or fail, you will burn everlastingly. Remember what the Prophet says: “Do not destroy yourselves. God is merciful to you, but he that does that through wickedness and injustice shall be burned in fire. That is easy enough for God.”
Attitude Clint Crider
Oil Painting 30x40
Lullaby William Cash
Oil on Canvas
The Second Coming Of Christ Bradley Lewis
Oi on Canvas 32x24
Russian Spring Chris Moon The snow melts in the day and freezes at night, and the ancient rocks crack as the ice expands. The streets buzz, one sound collapsing on another. The ancient rocks crack as the ice expands, and the double doors of a mosque slam shut. One sound collapsing on another. An altar boy sounds the bells. The double doors of a mosque slam shut while a bowl of fruit topples over and smacks the ground. An altar boy sounds the bells, and the bowl slowly swirls to a stop. A bowl of fruit topples over and smacks the ground like little human heads rolling in the dirt. The bowl slowly swirls to a stop, then silence. Like little human heads rolling in the dirt, the streets buzz, then silence. The snow melts in the day and freezes at night.
Tranquillo Pomeriggio Jeff Cecil
Oil on Canvas
Dancer Sarah Singleton
Medium Format, Silver Gelatin Print 11x14
Odd Man Out Erin McClanahan
Digital Photo 11x14
Chris Moon’s 115th Dream Chris Moon There’s a tiny bird perched on a mini grand piano, and he sings along while the keys play themselves Not a care in the world, and all the world’s a stage. Like me, he dreams, and sings free from his cage. The music rises, crescendos, the tension and release, but the lid slams shut. No more bird, just the rattle of the keys.
Savannah Michelle Slifcak
Digital Photo 11x14
Why I Run Meg Daniel
Graphite on Paper 15x20
The Idiot Bradley Lewis
Oil on Canvas
Penuel Christopher Martin (Genesis 32:24 â€“ 30) I would wrestle an angel here on my living room floor if one showed his face, aflame with sun, and forced me to fight, if one walked through my door and gave me no choice. We would tumble across the carpet over piles of laundry I have yet to fold into a basket of toys, spilling plastic trucks, little basketballs, and stuffed dogs. We would trip over the baby gate, leave holes in the old and poorly-spackled walls and struggle in the communion of earthly and divine sweat, stumble out the door and down the faded green porch steps, shells of sunflower seeds dropped by birds
and sweet gum balls pricking our elbows, the cement sidewalk scraping our knees, dead brown leaves clinging to our blood. But I would sooner wrestle my child, hold him against my chest as I lie with my back to the grass and roll with him from side to side; I would rather stand, lift my boy like a living barbell, kiss his neck with a playful growl, blow his belly, and tickle his face with my week-old beard. I would rather wrestle an angel with nothing to prove, who does not demand that I prove a thing, eitherâ€” an angel who blesses without giving a wound and who laughs and laughs and laughs and laughs, and in whose laughter, I have seen Godâ€™s face and yet have lived to wrestle again.
Child Hood Reflections #1 Bradley Lewis
Watercolor on Paper 5x7
If You Find Her J. Morgan Booker
Light Blue Erin McClanahan
Digital Photo 11x14
By the Candlelight Clint Crider
Oil Painting 18x24
Relics David King All afternoon, weâ€™ve unearthed the past turned back wet leaves, rolled logs, dug out the dust of the dead. At the Confederate mill outside Kingston, four miles of Georgia highway 245, weâ€™ve made our own march, rest now as Rebels did, our shovels leaned like rifles against ancient rocks and trees. We wanted history not found on markers, or even in anecdotes of the old. We desired objects, proof, relics. Yet no artifacts remain, no bullets, no flags, no buttons. Only the mill still barely stands, crumbling under kudzu. Instead the metal detectors buzzed a litany for beer cans, a tire tool, road signs. More than once we came across spent shotgun shells and magazine girls, struggling naked out from pine straw. Nearer the highway, the corpse of a Ford rusted its own steel bones into the earth.
Colosseum Cameron Van Shiflett
Two Is The Loneliest Number Cassidy R. Becker
Child Hood Reflections #2 Bradley Lewis
Watercolor on Paper 5x7
Triple Threat Elizabeth Ross
Now What? Meg Daniel
Graphite on Paper
The Gravedigger David King At funerals I keep my distance. I have known the shade of trees, their rugged limbs outstretching, outlasting. From points on hilltops, or by quiet streams, I have seen the black huddlings, have heard their comforting. I know the songs now from memory, the everlasting arms that want me to lean, the Rock of Ages that makes me pure. I have viewed sorrow in all weather. At the end of each ceremony, I shrug, shoulder the tools, quietly make my walk to the grave. There is a sense of fulfillment in the sweat it takes to budge the vault crank, satisfaction in the pounding of broken ground, and though I live out of a tool shed, take my supper in an empty office, I feel compelled to pray after every job. Closing out the lives of those I do not know, I have learned about grief, that it passes with time toward an ending, while only these stones stand firm.
Modern Day Saints: Kate Elena Kibraeva
Oil and Goldleaf on Panel 24x24
Two-Faced Michelle Perez Villarreal
Colored Pencils 2.5x2.2
Time Imani Marshall My bed is narrow, but fit for a Queen. It carries with it the solitary dreams of a life as full as the ocean is wide. My ears ring with laughter loud enough to suppress the lump in my throat my friends call pride. But as the sun beckons me to wake, my outstretched arms touch no warm flesh beside me. Iâ€™ve created my own destiny from nothing, traveled the seven seas, seen the miracle of the pyramids, marveled at the beauty of the Sahara, leaned on the Tower of Pisa, and discovered my own spirit. But today, as I lie here staring at my ceiling, I am reminded of timeâ€™s unbiased grip. It has slowed me, transformed me into a casual observer who watches the linked-finger hand-hold of passers-by on her morning
walk, watches her sister fall in love, watches her nieces’ births, watches a child leap carefree into her mother’s arms, watches her friends glide down the aisle— and then leaves. In the time I call “before,” there was more to me, more for me. Before, time waited. In those years, I captured movement so that I’d never know stillness. But I have let movement go, perhaps to feel the motion of a tiny foot against a ripe womb, to know the cozy heat of another as we relish the stillness. But for now, this only happens in the space of dreams. For now, I wake to find my body cold in this space ready, if time would let me, to trade in my narrow bed for a King.
Cutting Coupons Erin McClanahan
4x5 Film 16x20
Jul 3, 2010 Ryan Carmichael
Digital Photo 8x12
The First Snow Anna Stallworth The first snow came the day after Liam’s grandmother was taken to the hospital. The snow came down soft, thick and unstoppable like fragments of a shattered cloud. By morning, the world had been replaced by a wonderland of black and white, broken only by the occasional splash of evergreen. The snow was deep, at least to Liam who was short for a ten-year-old. The snow nearly reached his shins as he bounded out into the frigid early morning, his brother Thomas close behind. Pocking the front yard’s once perfect blanket of snow in their wake, they hurried to the basement door. It wasn’t a true basement, not by a long way, but it was certainly large enough to hold a couple of sleds. “I’ll take the red one.” Thomas, four years older than Liam, who had taken to calling himself “Thos,” was already reaching for the newer red plastic sled. “But Mum said we should share!” Liam looked pleadingly from his brother to the older sled, a strange amalgamation of a wood and metal frame —an old pair of skis serving as the runners. “Maybe, if I get tired.” Thos lifted the plastic sled out into the snow and disappeared around the corner. It took Liam substantially longer to wrestle the wood and metal frame from the basement, and though small as he was, he managed it at last. Coming round the corner of the house, he found Thomas waiting, the plastic sled held lightly in one gloved hand. “Come on! We won’t have much time at The Hill.” “Coming!” Liam called back, dragging the monstrosity after him. It was true they had to hurry. They would be going to the hospital later to “visit.” Breathing hard, Liam looked up for a moment from the track left by his brother through the snow. They were taking the usual path through a stand of pine to The Hill on the other side. For a moment, Liam felt a sudden pang of fear: nothing
around him looked the same. As if, while keeping his eyes on his brother’s tracks,he had lost his way. The trees and snow were, for that brief moment, strange and frightening— as though they belonged to somewhere else, far, far away. And then it was gone. His brother was disappearing farther down the trail, near the place where a familiar tree lay across the path. Everything was right again—except for the dog. Was it a dog? Liam had seen pictures of wolves, had seen films about wolves. But none of them had been like this one: large, huge—with fur white as the snow, eyes black as holes. It sat to his left, a few yards from the trail, staring. Liam found himself walking forward, his feet taking him past the animal, impassive as a lump in the snow. Up ahead, his brother and The Hill came into view. Fun as it was—sledding down The Hill only to sprint like a mad thing back to the top again—they eventually grew tired. Hands and toes slowly cooled to a hostile and uncomfortable cold. Even Thomas was eventually worn out. On the way home, Liam looked for tracks in the snow, anything at all to prove the wolf hadn’t been a dream. But only the tracks of the two brothers defaced the perfect white under the trees. There was hardly enough time to change from their snow encrusted sledding gear before they were whisked into the car. It was only the three of them in the car: Thomas, Liam, and their mother at the wheel—their father was at work. Outside, the world of white, black, and grey flitted past. His nose pressed to the cold glass of the backseat window, Liam thought he could see something white, and far off through the black of the tree trunks lining the road. But when the woods ended, there was nothing to be seen on either side but buildings and dirt-mixed snow. Liam pulled his face away from the window, “Mum, do wolves live in the woods?” Thomas laughed, but his mother replied calmly, “Yes, but not our woods. They live farther north. There haven’t been wolves around here for…” “Centuries.” Thomas put in, his face a perfect illustration of scorn.
“Oh.” Liam looked back out the window, wondering if they’d gone the same place his grandmother was going. She—Liam’s grandmother—was almost dead. Slower and slower she’d go until she stopped. Liam’s mother said it was because she would be going on a long journey— that she’d be going far away. But it wasn’t like that at all. Grann was slowing, and would eventually stop. It was like the numerous rodents Liam had had over the years as pets. One day they were slower than normal, and by the end of the day, they’d curled up in a corner—gone cold and still. Liam knew it would be the same: she would go cold and stop. The hospital smelled alternately of antiseptics and stale urine. The room they eventually came to was a small one, inside of which was a bed occupied by a body. Like something out of the movies, Liam thought, with tubes and wires hooked to different machines. There were only two chairs, and Liam found himself standing in the corner. There wasn’t much to see. His mother hadn’t told him, but he’d overheard her on the phone: Grann had fallen when she’d had the aneurysm, and her face was shattered. That accounted for all the bandages at least. Like a mummy, Liam thought gloomily. Seeing her lying there, Liam wanted to wake her up, take her by the hand— they’d run out of the hospital doors hand in hand to the piles of snow near the hospital parking decks and have a snowball fight. She’d smile at him, and laugh as she ducked from the oncoming snow barrage. Then they’d go back to her house, and they’d watch Godzilla movies together. She had them in a foreign language and would translate for him, and, even though he didn’t know the language, he’d learned what they said by heart— But that wasn’t going to happen. She’d become another upright stone in a forest of other stones, like the stone forest in the backyard where Liam’s and Thomas’s pets had been buried over the years. It was only a matter of time. Liam stood waiting to go home, wishing he’d brought a book. It wasn’t his Grann in the bed, and what was
didn’t concern him. On the way to the car, sitting on the ridge of snow left by the snowplow, sat the wolf, with its eyes like holes. Liam jerked around to his mother and brother walking behind him to see if they saw it too. But his mother was on the phone, and his brother was fiddling with the buttons of his coat. The creature was still there when he looked back, and its eyes seemed to follow him even as its head stayed stationery. A sudden spark of curiosity or madness made him change direction towards it, but in that same moment, it moved. Liquid as water, it turned and trotted away over the snow, quickly lost to view around the corner of the parking deck. The ride home was silent, except for the life-sounds of the car. At home, Liam could see the wolf sitting in the golden light of the streetlight on the snow. Every time he looked out his bedroom window, it was there—ghost-fur tinged with gold. That night his dreams were filled with the stars of the sky and the white snow, the howls of animals, and the wind in the trees. Liam was running, fast as thought over places, mountains, and forests he’d never seen before. There were others with him, invisible, running as if for the sheer pleasure of the feeling of feet on air. They were there, as real as the trees and the smell of the cold on his face. But there was a lurch, a sudden stop, as if the world had fractured. The others went on, without him, and he found himself falling, falling down as the tops of the trees came up to meet him—just before he hit, something, someone, took his hand. Liam woke to the smell of bacon. “Are you there?” Liam fumbled sleepily out of bed to the window. The wolf wasn’t there, but there was a bright spot of fresh red on the snow with no corpse to claim it.
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