by William Baker
He looks at the door that never closes and hears them out there. Shadows in the ever-moving light are making their morning rounds.
They will come here soon.
Bare feet whisper on the tiles, it is the girl, Maria.
She is touchy and not safe.
“It stopped raining, we are going outside.” Maria is a starving brown skeleton; she pulls the blanket from his face.
Don't touch Him. Can't talk.
“Not talking?” Maria says, “Oh, right, I forgot. I’ll fix it, you are going out and you will be able to talk.”
A man next door cries and Maria slides away.
Like a creaking truck is nurse Lila. She is black skin, blue scrubs and is happy. “How is my boy today? I have a surprise for you. Take your meds first.” She says and gives him pills and orange juice.
Lila has a big silver cross around her neck, he wants it. When she talks of Jesus, he wants Him.
Lila thrusts an envelope. He keeps his hands back and she drops it. It is already opened so he reads.
From Her the Mother, never the man the Father.
Blue flames shoot around the letter and he throws it down. Lila picks it up and is not burned.
“That is not the way to do it. From your Momma, she’s been thinking of you.” Lila says. “Now, you need to get out of bed and get ready for breakfast.” He doesn’t move. “Am I going to have to dress you? You are way too big for that.”
She can’t touch Him. He waves her back.
“You want me to do something? You can talk.” Lila says.
He stares at her. How can she not know?
Lila, with hands on hips, through low eyes. “I see how it is today. I don’t have time for your bullheadedness right now. I will come back. If you aren’t ready, I will dress that skinny white butt for you.” A touch on the hand.
She doesn’t burn.
“Honey, get dressed.” Lila leaves.
As he pulls on clothes, he sees them appear overhead. They are everything that was and can be seen again. They drop from the ceiling waste and each one he touches will live. Blue sparks float around him as he pokes with a finger.
At the breakfast table they laugh, Grandfather, the Mother, the man the Father, and He, Himself. He talks, laughs, a cloud, breath of smoke, moves. Only He sees as it rolls to Grandfather and he chokes and falls and the Father does his doctors things.
He jabs another and there it is again.
The Mother and the Father. The Mother says, “I could burn this house around you. You can’t let them have him, I’ll die if he goes.” The Father says nothing. He Himself runs in the house with blue flames. The Father carries Him out with flame and smoke all around. The Mother cries in the driveway as they watch the fire.
He touches another and the sparks are glorious.
The Father is at a desk, others are around and writing, He, Himself is in a chair not talking. They are asking questions. He could show his breath, could run through this office and touch the blue flames, they will stop writing, stop asking, they will see. He doesn’t move and says nothing. They take Him away with the man, the Father, looking.
Lila lumbers through the hall, looks and smiles then moves on.
Maria wisps in and tries to give him something.
“Good, you changed.” Maria looks at him. “Don’t button the top button, it makes you look doofy.” Maria drops the thing on the floor, a paper mask like at a doctor’s office. “There already. Put it on. This too.” Maria throws a sparkly purple girl’s glove. “It’s the only one I had, live with it.” She wears the other glove. “See.” She says. “All fixed."
Maria takes his glove hand, and he sees the burns and cuts on her arm. They walk the hall past Lila who is reading her black book. As they go Lila looks up with a proud and smiling eye.
They stop outside in the enclosed garden. Pretty rain catchers sparkle with a fresh filling of water that overflows among the thriving lilies and iris. He and Maria drink the gentle, vibrant outdoors and sit on the bench.
It starts raining again. A thorough rain that leaves no doubt. A righteous rain where no damning breath can travel. A healing rain to quench all ruinous flames. He puts the mask and glove in his pocket.
They hold hands and listen to the soft falling sounds. In the cool of morning, the unseen walks the garden. He runs a finger over her scars and the gorgeous, wet, brown skin ripples and heals before him. She doesn't notice, her face is elsewhere, searching the unknown with embedded rapture.
“Thank you.” He says.
The faithful rain spirals. It puddles on them, intermingles, refreshes, washes, and runs to the lilies and iris to dissipate and enliven.
They are conjoined and analogous.
They are receptacles of cleansing on membranous and breathing skin.
They are reveling in a watercolor world that mixes and reconstitutes.
They are creators and created.
They are rain catchers and overflowing.
William Baker’s short fiction is published a number of times since 2013. He thrives and lives a positive and purposeful life in Yeshua in Indiana. He maintains an author website with publication links at http://www.sylbun.com and can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.