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Brass and Firewood

A day in "The After"

By Leeann Free FormPublished 2 years ago Updated 8 months ago 3 min read

I slowly cracked my right eye open as the sharp sunrise pierced through the openings in the window boards. Sometimes I swear I could still see pieces of ash in the air when the sun glided through the yard in the morning. I miss the smell of grass. And Coffee, I really miss coffee. I like to pretend that I can hear a pot brewing in the kitchen. The smell of dark roast wafting into my bedroom, it all feels so real, for a moment.

Gripping my blanket and taking a deep breath I quietly recited our morning mantra.

“I am grateful for the clean air in my lungs, for the shelter and warm bed, for the another day to see the sun and the moon, I am grateful to be alive.”

I took another deep breath and was instantly transported back to the bad neighborhoods of my mind. The place I stored all things past and present. All of my emotions flood the surface. I pull the cover up, shut my eyes in hopes to erase the light beginning to fill the room, and fall into dream land, or the “before” as Jude rightfully calls it. I just want another ten minutes so I could wake up and start again, better this time.

I told myself to fall asleep. One more deep breath this time inhaling my palms for a familiar scent, brass with a hint of firewood. The brass is missing. Where is it? I sit up abruptly waking everyone in the bed. This time I ask out loud. “Where is it!?” Vadim rolls over on the far right end annoyed and confused. “Where’s what Mika? Are you dreaming?” No, I’m obviously awake where the fuck is my locket? My heart locket, where is it?” “It probably fell away while you slept.” “No, no, it never “falls away.” I frantically jump out of bed shaking the blanket and sack … Jude grunts and moans. “Mika, please it’s not like we’d take your precious locket, it couldn’t have traveled far.” Vadim pleads; “Can we just sleep a few more moments before-”

Before he can finish a siren wales from the street nearly drowning out his voice.

“Before work” he slides out of bed planting his feet on the ground and sinking into his skin, he hangs his head in defeat.

Jude stretches to consume the bed “I am grateful for the air in my lungs-” “Guys please! I know it’s here, just help me find it quickly we can’t be late, Jude! It was here all night!” I pitifully show him my hands as if they are some impenetrable safe.

“Alright, alright” Vadim says. Jude jumps out of bed and layers up for the day. Vadim and I strip the bed and a clink is heard on the floor. “Thank you!” I hold the locket to my face, inhaling its familiar scent… “Thank you.” Jude giggles, “You and this stupid locket.” “It is Not stupid.” I rush up to Jude’s face as if to fight with absolutely no strength in me, and he puts his hands on my shoulders to calm me. Vadim yells, “it’s making us late let’s go, let’s go!”

Jude looks into my eyes the way he does sometimes when he wants me to see his heart. This time as if to say, repeat after me, “I am grateful for the air in my lungs.” Vadim joins in simply to rush us along, “for the shelter and bed” I reluctantly join as well, “for another day to see the sun and the moon.” We concluded “ I am grateful to be alive.” Jude throws on his coat and Vadim tosses me mine.

“It’s the only thing I have from before” I explain pitifully. “I know,” Jude says empathetically, “it’s one of the last things that even exists from before.” He puts his arm around me and walks to the door. Vadim guides us out as we wrap scarves on our faces. “You know what I miss?” Vadim says. “What’s that?” Asks Jude. “Calling out sick.” We all had a laugh. Today would be all right, I thought. And that’s the best it could possibly be anymore, so that will have to do. I squeezed my locket and placed it securely into my pocket. “Today will be all right”.

Short Story

About the Creator

Leeann Free Form

I like the simple words and the spaces in between them.

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