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Today's Story by Danielle Ferrara

In Which Post-Humorism Argues with Dedith the Knight

Eyes were closed now, then the snap. It was a sonorous sound, echoey, like a train station, drip. Just that. Drip.

Her eyes flew open. (And here is a perfect example of reality tearing at Esebel’s toes like a fierce snake!)

No, my Bird —

But when the reality sauntered in there was no more calling to the Bird. It would elude her for yet another sunset. Because when the reality set in, the Rosars said, you were just insulting the Bird by continuing to call him without the SPIRIT of the colors burying you inside yourself.

She stretched her hands to her toes with her heart anchored to her chest and felt the heat the back of her neck like butter.

Poor Esebel — the mind can only be so congealed, only have so many different thoughts rolled away like bowling balls! Her eyes welled up and she began, in earnest, to cry.

Her tears fell like rain, dribbling solidly on the clay ground (which was the color of a blonde wig; a little deeper; but which at this moment looked quite deeply gray and morose in this fledgling of reality. Shakily, but with a deep, steading breath Esebel murdered the sways to herself, once again, calmly, without surrendering her mind to the Bird.

Her bicycle ride back was in the dark. She did pass sometimes tall crisp yellow lights, but they were still gray; and the moon was giving everything a discolored glow, even the stars.

She tried forming the sentence in her head.

“I couldn’t help it. Couldn’t see it coming…”

The deep empty clay desert began to dip into a valley, and immediately Esebel closed her eyes when she saw the sign: WELCOME TO BERNALL!

Bernall, of course, was the village of, well — only the highest Rosalls knew. The rest of Esebel Rosalls’s village couldn’t know, not ever, for it was sad that opening your eyes to the terrible place opened your mind to it, and if even one thought crept out of your brain and snuck into the sands (for it was said they had sands) then the Bird and the Air and the Purpose would never know you. Even if the thought that escaped was a particularly slow one, or kind one, if it crawled upon those sands you were Doomed — even if he got there while you were sleeping, or swaying, or anything. You’d be on the journey, then — well — only those who had disappeared from Bernall could really tell — but none had ever returned.

One story goes like this: our friend knew he was back home in Bernall when the ground started billowing back up again into its familiar hills. (He peeked first, eyes real small, as always.)

On the road outside his house was, as usual, Dedith (Dedith the Green, to be precise).

“Hi!” His mouth opened wide — he really had a very wide mouth.

“Hello, Dedith. How was your day?”

“Oh, it was great. I made some fabulous progress at my sunset today. And my father REWARDED me with this!”

Presently he stuck out his hand, which our friend hadn’t realized was all the while balled into a fist; and he unlocked his fingers and out of his palm fluttered one of the prettiest butterflies our friend had ever seen. Its wings were the shapes of diamonds, soft and velvety, her head a ladybug, ribbons twittering off the edges of her cheeks.

“It’s…beautiful,” Our friend breathed, and held out his hand, outstretched his finger–

At this, Dedith slapped his hand away. “This is a token of Swayment’s progress — if your heart is not yet –”

“Yes, Dedith,” he interrupted quietly; his hand falling dazedly back to his side. “This I know — I got CARRIED AWAY — and this you know.”

Dedith, though, suddenly looked grave.

“If there’s anything you’d like to talk about — anything at all — I’d love nothing more than to help you, to listen, and to understand, and to help.”

“Thanks, Dedith, but I don’t really have much to talk about.”

At this Dedith looked carefully around him — to the left, where our friend’s own home loomed, green and short; to the right, where the shrouds lived and where the road stretched on and on, continually, until the sunset could be watched under the loving eye of the Bird — and he lowered his voice, injecting it too with meaning: “Because I’ve been…hearing things about your progress, and that, well, it’s a bit more…stilted than the rest of us in your Swayment –”

Our friend, who had been dazedly watching the butterfly, looked at Dedith now, and he felt two distinct things: dignity inwardly, and sadness even more inwardly. Were people saying this about him still?

“Thanks, Dedith, but really…I’m all right. I’m fine.”

“Still. I’d like you to accompany me to my sunset tomorrow, if you’re willing. I think together, and with borrowed insight, you could truly become one with the Bird someday.”


Danielle Ferrara is an English undergraduate at Marist College. She hopes to write novels. She is inspired by the Velvet Underground and the surrealist Comte de Lautréamont.


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