It just won’t stop ringing

It was always there. When I was young it came rarely, maybe when I was close to crossing the street and hadn’t looked left and right yet, or when I left a sharp knife on the kitchen counter, or that time when I was at the supermarket and there was a man that kept following me for four or five aisles, until I found mom again.

I think it somehow connects to my intuition. I’ve heard others describe that they can feel a shiver on the back of their spine, or that the hair on their arms stands up when they are nervous. For me the only time the hair stands up is when I’m cold.

And else, when I’m scared, there is the bell.

I can’t remember the first time I heard it. The first memory I have of hearing it, when I was at my grandmothers’ place at the strange round pile of stones, and I was digging through the stones to look for rabbit babies, when it was ringing, thundering in my ears, I wasn’t surprised or scared. I must have heard it before. It started ringing, loud and clear, and when I kept digging it got louder, as if a huge church bell was slowly moved closer to me, ringing more vigorously and faster with every single stone that I pulled to the side.

Maybe grandma heard the bell too. I remember she came running, screaming for me to get away from the well. I was on top of some of the stones. And the stones started moving. And grandma grabbed my arm, but my legs, they fell with the stones and hit against the wall. I remember how grandma’s arm shivered when she pulled me out of the hole. She was old then already, maybe 60 or 70, and she was the same thin that she has always been in my memory.

“Hold onto me,” she said. “Hold onto me.”

And below us, far below, I heard the stones hitting a hard floor. Continue reading

Memories

She says she studied at Yale, but it’s so hard to believe her when I remember it so vividly.

I met Kodi just a few months back. She was sitting in a café with a copy of Lord of the Rings on her table – or was that me? I was wearing a bright purple sweater and I approached her and took the book of the table while I made a joke about never having heard about it. I’m not really sure if it was a joke. And I’m not really sure if it was me or her that said it.

“Tolkien, what a strange name.”

It’s confusing, this amalgam in my head. There’s somewhere a dent in the conversation.

“Yeah,” she said. “Don’t you know him?”

“Not really,” I said. “Is he new?”

I laughed and looked at her face and the tight purple sweater. Continue reading

The Museum

Right out of school I wasn’t really ready for life yet. I needed to get out; get away – see the world, and if the money wasn’t enough for the world, then at least my own country.

I stumbled into him on the way South. A kind lady threw me out on a country road – and he was already there, lying in the dry grass with a cheap grin on his face.

“Been here for an hour,” he said. “Hard spot to catch a ride.”

We talked. Shared a cig he had stolen from his last ride. When there was still no car in sight – at least none that would stop – we walked side by side, our loose shoes sliding over the dirt in unison.

The heat was bad, but worse was the lack of prospects. No cars in sight and only an occasional house interspersed between the large fields. Max saw it first. The blue sky was still above our heads, but a front of gray was approaching from the horizon.

“Better find some roof,” he said.

We had passed the last house nearly twenty minutes ago. The next one, a large building with white walls, was not that far ahead. We pressed on, with larger steps, while the front of gray already swallowed the color of the land.

A large sign, nailed against the fence. The first word must have fallen off, but most letters of the second one remained:

“Muse m” Continue reading

Soulless

The eyes aren’t the portal to the soul. The eyebrows are.

Shave them off and you’ll know. You’ll see the stares; you’ll feel how people slowly alter their path when you come closer. They do that even when you’re far away, when they can’t yet see what might be wrong with you. They just know that there is something very wrong.

Soulless.

Like Martina in 7th grade. She was a ginger; soulless. So it was okay that we bullied her. You can’t hurt someone doesn’t have a soul. She was a person to be pushed, not touched.

It was fun to push her into the lockers. She never fought back; she just accepted it as her fate to be squeezed between lockers and the bodies of bigger girls and sometimes boys. Nobody moved away when she came. Nobody played by the rules when she was there – to move aside, make space to allow each other to pass. All just walked straight and Martina had to find a way; to squeeze to the side, between elbows and lockers, hoping that they didn’t attempt to connect.

It wasn’t us that ripped her hair out. She did that herself. Sitting in that seat, on the right side of class, close to the exit, she pushed her right hand deep into her curls. Then she pulled and twisted her arm, but her head stayed in place, unmoving except for the occasional twitch. She pulled the hand out with full force, holding a tuft that disappeared in her bag. She never looked back. She knew we were all staring.

Rumor had it at night her mom would sew the hair back to her head. Continue reading

Please don’t let them purge us

Please, this just can’t be happening. Please just listen.

They took my neighbors four days ago. I don’t know how many others they took already, but they keep coming.

I’m from Furtwood, Alberta. We have at least four hundred people here, but there’s not much else around. If you look on the map, we’re just a few miles North of Pelican Lake and Northeast of the 813. But we’re being purged. I swear to God, we’re being purged. A month ago we were on Google Maps everything, but now we’re just gone. They’ve photoshopped the satellite image. Fucking hell, you can still see the beginning of the roads, but our town is just gone.

There were lights in the sky three weeks ago. Nothing really spectacular, but a lot of people here saw them. It was a formation like an arrow, at least twelve or so, but they were too far to see the shape of the individual ones. They flew by around 9pm and it was dark as hell and it’s freezing here, so there were not many people out, but they were bright and blinking, so some people saw them and told others and at least a hundred people saw them. There was even a discussion on our amateur radio channel, that it might be aliens or military and one of the guys on air said he was sure that he saw one of them going down; that one of the lights broke formation and went down.

We’re all scared. We’re so fucking scared. People don’t dare to admit anymore that they saw them, but before they came I talked to several of my neighbors and they all saw them. My sister called me from the other end of town when they were in the sky, her son had seen them. And now my sister’s family is missing too. Continue reading

Nola

Stijn scrambled out of his room into the living room and then behind the couch that I was sitting on. I noticed he had something in his hand when he came in, but he’s five now and I thought that it wouldn’t be anything dangerous. I heard him playing and laughing behind me while some soap opera played on.

“Don’t move,” he said.

That made me curious. I just wanted to see what he was playing with.

I leaned over the back of the sofa and he was sitting there with something white in his hand. It took me a moment to understand what was in front of him on the carpet; that there were the bones of a complete human leg and that he was just putting the last toe in place. Continue reading