|Eyes Like China Plates
Author: Aleksy The Flying Onion PM
Half-formed vignette set in the nebulous West, about the nature of youth and aging in the harshest of circumstances. Has a McCarthy vibe to it.Rated: Fiction K - English - Western/Tragedy - Words: 694 - Published: 01-27-10 - Status: Complete - id: 2769138
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"It ain't gonna let up."
Old man hawks, spits, rubs a sleeve across his beard. Old man eyes the young man, watching. Young man says nothing.
"Yeh can tell w'things like 'is," Old man croaks. He smells like armpit and compost. His clothes are creased with dirt.
Young man says nothing.
The wind is a howling gray cat, its fur mussed and hot, claws raking the dead sky. Dragging lines through heaven and pummeling the land with grit from God's shoes, and it blasts every whipping tree with hot grainy gusts until the leaves shake loose and get torn to shreds.
Young man is bloody from his travels. His nose is a little crooked, a think healing black line strung across his sun burnt, freckle-splattered skin. Shoulders hunched and drawn up like his soul is trying to exit body through the top of the spine and sometimes he feels like that, really feels like that.
"Ain't gonna let up."
Old man, his square brown teeth hidden behind a mustard colored beard. His blue eyes like big cracked china dishes. He raises his hands, clamps them onto his porch railing and leans into it watching the world churning and crashing and giving in and then picking the fight back up.
Old man pushes off, sends bits of peeling paint up in a stream that gets snatched by the wind.
Inside it is so dark, young man stands by the door until old man cackles and brings a lantern to life. The little shack is leaning to the left, little animals bones in piles like offerings. It smells of death, pungent and sweet and sour and very there.
Young man pulls his bag around to the front of his ribcage, holds it tight against him and sits down on his bony rear.
"Ain't got no food," Old man says.
"Ain't got no money."
"S'not a problem."
"All I got's ma house."
Old man nods, holding his own hand in the air. They sit without speaking, the cat yowling and screeching and swatting at the shack shaking dust from the rafters. They sit in their asylum and look at each other and measure their wrinkles and the fact that no one has laugh lines.
"I wonder why t'rain ain't comin'," Old man remarks.
It is true, the wind is picking the flesh of the desert and wetting no mouths.
Young man shrugs, feels his bad shoulder bones creak with the sadness of rotten floorboards.
Old man rocks back and forth in his assembly of rags. His blackened toe nudges a bone and sends it skittering and wobbling into the dark. The other watches the bone dissapear into shadows, biting his lip without speaking, splitting it, drawing dark red lines of life down his chin.
"I know," Old man whispers. He makes quiet sounds of distress before cutting to silence.
Old man shakes his head, eyes skittering from the lantern with its dirty cracked yellow glass and its sallow little flame to the other back to the lantern.
"Why yer 'ere."
Young man's eyes widen, the skin around them creased with gritty sweat and sand.
"I ain't even know that, you crazy ol'badger. Now hush, would'ja?"
Young man closes his eyes, breathes. Only one side of his nose works; the other is still red and inflamed and angry as all hell. He drags his pack around to his back and leans lean leans til the small of his back is flat with the crooked floorboards. He keeps one eye open for the longest time and then falls asleep, snoring quietly with the occasional choked breath.
Old man watches, rocks, always moving. He grins and then frowns and then grins again, little brown nubs glittering in the ailing light.
A/N: Yeah, I don't know either. I was reading some Cormac McCarthy, and well, this came out. It's not finished, just thought I'd air it out. My only concern at this point is I think the dialog is a little hokey. Any thoughts?