STILL LIFE - CHRIS DEAL
The cold drained all color from the birthing day, the sky and clouds reflecting a smear of gray uniform over the surface of the water, the same as the dirt and the rotting plants. The mirror of the lake smooth and unconcerned with the world beyond its shores. The stillness, the quiet echoed in the ears of the two men honored to witness such tranquility.
There were words hanging unsaid between them, but to violate the muted still life was taboo. Any words they may have wished to say became unnecessary as they stood on the shore, muscles in spasm because of the bleak dawn. Their eyes made contact for a moment that hung like creation over their forms. One man swallowed the coming deed, accepting the essential nature. Things done cannot be undone. The reaction had been in place for years, every day bringing the two men closer to the shore where they stood, ankle-deep in mud and sand, every day of their beings propelling them towards the shore.
For so long they stood reveling in the bitter moments until there was an arc of motion, and the first man broke the stillness with an action irrecoverable and the hush was splintered away, the surface of the water disturbed by the introduction of a new element. The man stood stoic as his heart struggled, the beats slowing, pumping less and less as the substance of him leaked into the lake. His eyes bore an apology and he slumped into the water.
The ripples reverberated throughout the surface until the energy was distributed and was finished, and the water and the man were still, the survivor's nostrils burning with the exploded powder, his hands shaking, the very atoms of the offending object humming a note that became one with the landscape.
BIO: Chris Deal writes from Huntersville, North Carolina. When his debut collection, Cienfuegos, was released by Brown Paper Publishing, he fried plantains to commemorate. His fiction and poetry has been seen in Powder Burn Flash, Darkest Before the Dawn, Word Riot, and a few other places. Check Chris Deal out at Chris Deal.
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