February 1, 2011

Home is Where the Heart Is by Kristina A. Luu

           A tragedy was never meant to travel to the sheltered halls of his home, never inside to the broken down greenhouses still accommodating exotic plants, never to the main hall where the guests’ laughter once lingered, and most certainly not on his wings as he flew high above the rotting bedposts still bright with gloss, above lamps still lit, though steadily growing dimmer, but the truth was that it did; it leapt from his feathered wings to rooftops and bedrooms, as dust travels on the wind, bringing a final ultimatum. But he couldn’t stop it, not now.

                Before he knew it, he was infected. Calamity followed him, embraced him with its clammy fingers, and he couldn’t break free. Disaster to all he loved. Endings were supposed to happy at the end of fairy tales, so, as one of the robins who aided Cinderella in her gallant journey, wasn’t he automatically granted a ‘happily ever after’? False promises, lies, that was all the authors ever wrote in their stories; there was no such thing as a happy ending.

                Glimmers of raindrops streaked down the window, a line of clear on the frosty glass. He trilled softly before landing on a bookshelf, feeling the rotting wood beneath his talons. In the old bedroom of a girl who became a Queen, he sat, pondering over how dark and dim the past seemed.  Jokingly, he wondered if this was what happened at the end of the road as well; life would come around full circle, and he would be left in the dust to rot. Killings, the killed, the killer; all would meet their end, wouldn’t they? Laying on a dusty bed, suffocating in a room that seemed eerily like the past, all the kind people and all the not-so-kind would find their end somewhere in their memories.

                Musing, he wondered if he would see her again, Cinderella, in the very same room he was currently in, singing the same songs she used to sing, bringing in the light and the life that she used to bring.

                ‘Never,’ he knew that she would never return to the dusty mansion where she once lived, not when she had all the glamour of the kingdom at her glass slippered toes.

                ‘Over,’ he knew that the past was over, and he had to move forward.

                ‘Pathetic,’ the mice’s voices squeaked at him, but he knew they were merely ghosts because the real ones had left the day she had slipped into a real carriage not made of pumpkin. Quietly, he leapt off the ledge and glided through the air and out the door. Rooms that were once furnished were empty; curtains once pulled tight over windows were left to flutter around the panes; dresses once worn were abandoned on their hangers. Sadly, he eased his pace ever so slightly, wanting to take a long look at his previous home.

                Tears would have fallen if only he could cry, but he was strong; he would survive. Under the banners and decorations, he flew, rushing through the air, coughing at the dust, and as he flung himself out the door, he had a fleeting thought of staying.

                Vindictively, the iron ball struck the house, tumbling the already crumbling frame. Whistles, hoots, and shouts, all the thunderous noises contrasted with the silence inside. He landed on the fence, his beady eyes fixed on the workers scurrying around. Vibrations of destruction echoed in the valley, a thudding heartbeat that steadily slowed. Zero more seconds until it was gone. Suddenly, it was all gone, everything, his home, his life, his memories.

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