Something in me vibrates to a dusky, dreamy smell of dying moons and shadows.
Zelda Fitzgerald (via goldenlocket)
lightningcake: Mary sits on a pink sandstone boulder, watching Momma and Daddy argue with the radio. Momma waves to her; Daddy tries to smile but only one side of his mouth goes up. Mary says, “I’m getting wet.” It isn’t rain exactly. The air is like the vaporizer Momma use to use when Mary’s throat got sore. Daddy points the radio in different directions, listening for words mixed with the hissing sounds. “Maybe the electricity is gone for good,” he says. “No more broadcasts ever.” Momma doesn’t think so. “Black Mesa State Park is so far a way,” she says, “From the news, I mean.” Mary knows about far away. Momma and Daddy got the RV so they could go far away when everything turned bad. “Look, sweetie.” Daddy points to a string of puddles. “Dinosaur tracks. Black Mesa’s famous for them.” Mary can make the puddles look like footprints if she holds her head just right. A big dinosaur and a little one walked here a long time ago. Before television. Before cars. Before people. “Sixty million years ago,” Daddy says. The water in the footprints is clear, but he tells her, “Don’t drink it. Not potable,” he says. Grown-ups have a lot of words Mary doesn’t understand. She doesn’t understand what the two dinosaurs did here either. “Where do the footprints go?” she asks. Daddy says it doesn’t matter, because everything that lived back then is dead now anyway. “Extinct.” Another grown-up word. The radio makes an ugly sound, like it did sometimes when a storm was coming. Mary pushes a finger into a dinosaur track. Mud squishes at the bottom, and the water doesn’t look clear any more. “Not Potable.” She pretends to lick the muddy water from her finger, slowly, so Momma will have plenty of time to stop her. But Momma’s busy listening to popping sounds, like the firecrackers Daddy set off last fourth of July. “It’s coming from the parking lot,” she says. “Back where the RV is parked.” Daddy picks Mary up and sits her on his shoulder. “Maybe we should follow these tracks after all.” He talks to Mary in his story-telling voice. “No telling where those dinosaurs will lead us.” .John Biggs is a southwest regional writer with about twenty published short stories. He was the 2011 Writers Digest grand prize winner and winner of the Creme de la Creme Award at the 2012 Oklahoma Writers Federation Inc. annual conference. Pen-L Publishing will publish his first novel, Owl Dreams, later this year.