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Ward by Nathan Blake | Word Riot
Flash Fiction

June 15, 2011      

Ward by Nathan Blake

Our land was swaddled within a mountain, bereft of sunlight. For sustenance we licked the algaeic underbellies of stones. Distinguishing was a luxury we could not understand, our minds were still blooming flesh-folds of cognitivity. Father and I left the mountain. The grief we felt revealed itself in the sound of horse-claps, far off, without manifesting horses. We settled in a seaside meadow of bloodroot, pulled back the soil in sheets, and buried ourselves, refusing further displacement. Our eyes were coated with gelatinous skin, and we spent our time calling out to find each another. A wandering ascetic taught me to know each breeze by its touch. Father uprooted himself, and was ossified on a lightning bolt, his statue pointing out across the water, crystallized. Buzzards congregated at his feet. I knew nothing of this world. I aged with each turning of the tide. Children brought tragic meals of kohlrabi, watercress. Sickness fell. I died years before my actual death. The children scooped me up and collected my ashes in a tortoise shell. They carried me with them on travels. At the trip’s end the children asked what it felt like, dying. I said hold me to your ear. The sound of waves crashing against rocks? You hear it wrong. They laid me to rest where rain fell in fingers. I became mud and then dirt, and the land rejoiced in my presence. Things were not right. I could not settle. I needed something else, that feeling of waves, the certainty that you never really arrive.

Nathan Blake

About the author:

Nathan Blake is a twenty-two year old elementary school aide with a penchant for masochism, i.e., a philosophy major. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Jersey Devil Press, Calliope Nerve, North Central Review, and Tulane Review, among others.

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