A Fragile Short Story by Matthew William Elsbernd

I lumbered on, trying to keep her in sight, but I knew where she was headed. I walked the path I had forsaken for too long. My tired limbs remembering each step, but now in slow motion. As I turned around the bend in the path, I saw her kneeling on the ground, admiring something. She turned, and with a quick smile, called me closer.

As I approached closer to her radiant glow, I saw what she was admiring, and I saw through the cobwebs of time to the last time I had been led to this spot. She had been even younger then, and I was not as frail. She had led me through the woods that delightful spring day. She had skipped and sung with all of the joy in her heart.

We had arrived at this clearing, and I had asked for a rest, and so we sat on the fragrant grass that lay everywhere. She had laid down, with her head on my lap, and her blue eyes gazed up at the clouds and the sky which shared her color.

She had asked me questions, many questions. She desired to hear all about where I came from, and about what the people were like there. I told her that things looked bad there. Black and grey, the colors that lay everywhere. People had lost the desire to play, to have fun. All anyone wanted was to escape the pleas of the overpopulated world. They spent so much time inside of themselves, that they lost all those who loved them on the outside.

She asked me how I had come to find her, and why others did not come. I told her that no one searched for answers where I came form. I had been the one of last who asked why. When I lost everything I owned, I had set out to search for something better. I walked past bodies sprawled in gutters, spasms wracking their bodies, as drugs worked their wonders.

But I had warned her about asking too much, no good could come of it. I told her that she lived in a paradise, that those deformed bodies only dreamed of.

She had taken from her pocket, a seed. She held it up to the sky and said a prayer for the people from where I came, and she told me that when the flower blooms, the people of my world will find their paradise.

She had planted the seed, and we wandered about till I had to leave her once again. After sorrowful goodbyes, I had walked back down the tunnel to the other end which was darker than the tunnel itself.

But now she knelt next to the flower: a red rose. Her face was filled with joy as she stared at its beauty: its blossomed beauty.

She stood and came to me. Standing together with me under my umbrella, she tried to make a smile on my face, but my lips would droop back down to a frown as her youthful fingers slid from them.

Her face looked up at me, puzzled. "Why are you sad?" she asked. "The flower has bloomed, haven't your people found their paradise?"

Her words so innocent, but they attacked my head with the frightful memories of what I had escaped.

"Yes, my people have found their paradise! I am just sad they have gone." I told her: only partly truth. Yes they had found their paradises, but they lost their lives to get there. The killing, the torture! Bodies mutilated on the streets, never knowing their death, just never having left there dreams, that they payed so dearly for.
Last PageCopyright 1990 Revised January 1997Next Page