It was snowing out that night. The wind whipped through the crisp air, stirring the car. He drove at speeds over seventy miles per hour. He didn't care. He had been crying. He was working on his book again for the first time in months. The one about her. He kept erasing lines and starting over, never understanding why he chose to suffer. Why he bothered to put it down on paper, why he bothered to let it swallow him up so fully. He had been drinking, thinking about her, opening his work despite his foggy head. Furrowing his brow, scrunching his lips. His thoughts full of murk, mud…the lines blurring like the smallest line on an eye chart. He had finished two and a half bottles of wine by the time he left the book, open on the table, and took a drive. He switched from red to white after bottle two. Then, he got in his car. Thought it’d be nice to be out in the snow. To watch the billowy flakes bounce off the windshield, sprinkled through the air like fierce fairy dust. To see any image other than the one of her body nearly riven in half. The blood and gore when he found her. When he saw the scythe lying next to her motionless corpse. The way she did it so deliberately, so viciously, so cold-hearted. He couldn't bear to think about it, let alone write it. So, he stopped. He knew he shouldn't have been driving, but it didn't matter. Snow was coming down in violent thrashes of white. The three dimensional, full moon should have been dazzling in the sky and illuminating the city, but it was barely visible through the thick layers of powder and dark night. He couldn't see anything anymore. Just snow, failure, tears, and affliction. It didn't stop him from driving. He was afraid that if he stopped, he would really have to face himself. Face the memories. Nothing to preoccupy him when he was still. Why didn't she want to live? Not even for him. The car spiraled off the icy road. Sent into the atmosphere, swirls of white dust were all that existed. Then, it hit a tree, tangling its metal body around the trunk, skidding underneath piles of cold, hard sop. He didn't move. His heartbeat fizzled into the Earth. Blood and snow. Red and white. Silent road. Not a single sound. Not of owl or chirping crickets or coyotes beyond.
Shay Siegel is from Long Island, New York. She received a B.A. in English from Tulane University in New Orleans where she was a member of the Women’s Tennis Team. She completed an MFA in Fiction at Sarah Lawrence College. Her writing has appeared in Pamplemousse, The Opiate, The Writing Disorder, Belleville Park Pages, Black Heart Magazine and others. Her website is www.shaysiegel.com.
The executive headquarters of Deities Limited, as far as science goes, doesn’t exist. It has no discernible mass or energy and doesn’t interact with anything, so, to our less-than-perfect powers of observation, it’s not there. At least, not in any “there” we can perceive. The only way to imagine it, even though its physical nature is nothing like this, is to picture a quadrillion-story office building.
Linda always got the aisle seat. She liked having easy access to the bathroom and to the flight attendants.
Frank always took the window seat. He liked not talking to anyone and watching the world go on below as if he weren’t a part of it.
Herbert and Marilyn walked into the newest diner in town, The Brown Bag. A yellow GRAND OPENING banner hung the length of the wall behind the hostess stand and a greasy smell of overdone French fries lingered in the air. Herbert trudged to the front and put his name on the list. The hostess said it would be a few minutes. He headed back to the door and plopped down on a bench next to Marilyn.
At 18,000 miles, when my hair was still blondish, Dad flung me the keys to the ’53 DeSoto Powermaster. It was a voluptuous sedan, with a heavy chrome grille, painted in a deep red color that Dad called “Sophia Loren’s lipstick.” I was fifteen. It was a Sunday, and we were still wearing our suits from church. I didn’t know why he’d done it since the car was only a few years old, but it was my first ride, and I worked that beast all over Peoria—up and down the same streets—counting how many green lights I could rush through without finding a red one.
It was snowing out that night. The wind whipped through the crisp air, stirring the movements of the car. He drove at speeds over seventy miles per hour. He didn't care. He had been crying. He was working on his book again for the first time in months. The one about her. He kept erasing lines and starting over, never understanding why he chose to suffer.
Racial. Barrier. Falls.
The words like a meditative mantra for Violet, a promise renewed in each breath, deep and expanding, as strong and sure and filled with hope as the sweet smell of autumn in New York. It was November 4, 2008. The news—world-historical news—flashed across every television-computer-cell phone-smartphone-website-newsstand all over the country, all over the world, each headline a slightly varied version of the one she liked most, the one from her very own hometown paper, the good ol’ New York Times, which ran the banner: “Obama Elected President as Racial Barrier Falls.”
“Are you willing to accept spiritual warfare?”
“And finally, death?”
The heat from the stove had warmed the small kitchen from inviting through cosy to where it sat now at uncomfortable. Abyan knew it wouldn’t be long before it became unbearable, but she had to finish all of the cooking before then anyway; their guests would arrive somewhere between uncomfortable and plain hot so the kitchen would be left to its final stages of heating up and cooling down again without her. She would be in the lounge room serving light refreshments of sambuus while Ramaas poured the hot, spiced tea by then. Her nerves made her impatient and she resisted the pointless urge to remove the lid from the cubed chicken and prod it into cooking faster.
Boys, this is what I have wanted to say, what I want to say, all I can say about my folks. It will have to do. You connect the dots. I don't want to or don't know how.
The boy climbed the steps two at a time, emerged into the blinding sun on 59th Street, then hurried to the corner squinting at a scrap of cream colored note paper upon which his father had sketched a map with directions. Stopping in the middle of the street, sweat seeping through his jacket, he got jostled a few times from behind. No one said excuse me, or if they did he couldn’t hear them above the blare of raging car horns. He shaded his eyes, looked across to Central Park South, realized he’d walked the wrong way, then turned around and located the skyscraper with its shiny bluish mirror-like windows.