Dive in.

The following is a short story I wrote for my creative writing class, but never actually turned in.  The assignment was to write a descriptive and dark piece that covered only 10 seconds in real time.  I’d like some feedback if you’d like to share…

We had nothing to say to each other.  I was tied to the rusted yellow chair while he finished digging the hole.  He was dirty and smelled like chewing tobacco.  I was only wearing my skin.  He was wearing a belt with a gun holster.  It was occupied.

The desert sky was pitch-black.  Not even a star.  He looked at me as if he wanted to masticate every inch of my flesh, starting at my thighs where his ravenous eyes were set, and moving upward.  He dropped the shovel and knelt to set his chin on my sweating, bare, trembling knee.

Thank God for tiny fingers.

Behind my back, I picked at the thick leather belt—enough that I was able to slip my pinkie finger through the hole of slack I created.  A coyote screamed for me somewhere in the distance.  I secretly thanked it as I struggled to weave the horseshoe-shaped buckle through another leather loop.

I refused to notice the drool hanging off the corner of his lips.  The quick, excited puffs of carbon dioxide mixed with nicotine and formaldehyde coming from his mouth.  I refused to acknowledge the fact that he dug a hole six feet deep, one foot to my left.  I refused to accept the sandy, dark abyss that anchored me to my looming demise.

I tugged the horseshoe through the final helix of his makeshift trap.  Just that same moment, a sensation I’ve never experienced traveled up my inner thigh.  Warm, wet.  It nearly reached where I prayed it wouldn’t.  I tensed my leg muscles.  Deep breath.  Suddenly, my aching, bleeding murder utensils deployed from behind the chair—dirty golden horseshoe in hand—as I delivered four day’s worth of fury and rage into the hollow of his cheek.

He stumbled to his feet.  I started running.

It didn’t take long for him to put a bullet in me.  I collapsed near a cactus.  Gasped for the dusty air that arose with my falling.  He slung me up over his shoulder, then tossed my weak, dehydrated body into the chamber in which I was to breathe my last pitiful breath.

As I struggled for oxygen, I could hear tiny crumbles of dirt falling around me.  Soon enough, I felt pounds of it weighing down my stomach, my legs, my arms.  And then it was dark.


If seagulls could talk…

At Myrtle Beach, in the shallow water that rhythmically washes up the shore and back into the ocean, up and back, there stand 200 seagulls.  From a distance, every one of them appears exactly the same as its neighbor.  Upon walking closer to the mass of birds, though, there is an obvious distinction between them.

The majority of these seagulls are the typical white-feathered, dirty-beaked annoying things we’ve grown to despise.  They dive at the sight of food, leave droppings on your beach towel, screech over your conversations, etc.  Basically, they’re everywhere; only the few kooks out there that purposely feed them actually enjoy them.  Moving on.

Beside the “normal” seagulls are some type of look-alike which I have never seen before.  They are whiter, fluffier and shorter than the average seagull.  They have neon orange beaks.  They appear to be the alpha-beach-bird, until they open their shiny bright mouths to speak.  Instead of the already piercing squawk of bird number one, this bright-beaked bird squeals.  Its voice shakes and cracks, screams and howls all in one breath.  It was the prettiest one until it opened its mouth to talk (maybe these are the dumb, rich housewives of seagullville).

I don’t pity them, because although they sound terrible, the five or six birds in the number two group are still fancily gorgeous, considering they are seagulls, and none are really that pretty.

The ones that actually gave me a gut-wrenching feeling today (probably for no real reason) were the spotted, rough-feathered ugly ones.  As I walked past them, I noticed they were separated from the other birds.  Instead of standing in the water, they were all the way up on the other side of the walking path, close to all the hotels and beach shops.  Why?

Spots on their feathers and brown legs made them look dirty, almost rabid.  I made the mistake of influencing my younger siblings by being the first to say, “Look!  They’re the leaper seagulls!”  Immediately, both of them came up with something terrible to say about these poor isolated birds.

Forgetting momentarily that birds don’t have feelings, I started to pity these so-named leaper birds.  I wondered what they thought about what I said, what my siblings said.  I wondered, How would I feel if someone said that about me and my family?   How do these things feel about what they just heard all of us say?

I tried to see the beauty in them.  There was none.

It was a strange and semi-depressing way to start my day, understanding that I’m that person who no matter what must be able to find something nice, something beautiful about every sad little thing I come across.  I feel bad for things that are struggling, lonely, different or ridiculed.  It was my mission, then, to find something about these seagulls that would help them to prevail among the vast group they were excluded from this morning.

Struggle.  Their beauty lies in their struggle to fit in.  Even after having to hear all the mean things people probably say to them, they stay with the swarm.  They carry themselves with a confidence not many humans actually have when faced with such ridicule and harsh thoughts from strangers.  Maybe we as fully-functioning people should take a hint from these…things…and learn to appreciate ourselves for who we are.  The fact that we are all unique is what compels us to be beautiful.

We need to appreciate that.