The Paper Fable
We woke up, and turned to one another in bed. We looked at one another. There was some dust in the bed, and we moved the dust. Then we rose from the bed.
We walked into another room and sat on the couch. We looked around the room. The room was very familiar. The spots on the walls never surprise us. I sat there next to you.
The sun was not out and we were not sure if it was coming. It was gray outside.
"Do you think the sun will come out?" I asked you.
"I don't know," you said.
I said, "Maybe it will come out in a little while."
You said, "it might be a while."
And then I said, "We can wait for it."
We waited. I tried to remember how long it has been since we became paper. I could not remember. But we were paper, you and I. Dry and white. I try to remember things and sometimes I think I can and then there's a feeling, like the feeling of something opening or moving, but the feeling goes away and I can't remember. I wondered if I should stand up, and walk around a little. I could do it then or little later. I would in a little while.
There was dust on the couch and we moved the dust.
At times, you cannot move very well. I place my hand on your back, and gently push you from one place to another. I hold you up. I can tell when you need me to hold you up, because of how your head moves. I hold you up and you're okay.
There is a small room at the end of the hall that I hardly ever go into, but I saw you walk into it and so I followed you. We stood in the small room together. There were two windows. There was something buzzing. The buzzing came from one of the windows. We walked to the first window, but we didn't see anything that made the buzzing. Then we walked to the second window and we saw the buzzing thing. There was a little white bundle on the sill. It was a small pod, hanging in a web. It rocked back and forth, and there was a gray blur around it, and that's where the buzzing came from. There was a spider moving over the bundle. The spider looked like a million eyelashes and no eye.
"Does it hurt the fly?" You said.
"I don't know," I said. "I want to let the fly go, but I'm afraid to touch the spider."
"It's okay," you said, and then you did something funny. You pulled on the handle and opened the window a little bit, and the wind came in and blew on your paper face. Your face flapped in the wind, like a newspaper that someone had dropped. You made a funny sound with your lips. I laughed, and then I coughed, and then I laughed again. Then you closed the window.
"That was very funny," I said, smiling.
"Thank you," you said.
"Thank you," I said.
I looked in the box and there were a few things to eat. I took out three things. I gave two of them to you, the ones that looked and smelled better.
We sat at the table and the sun still hadn't come out, but it was brighter, and we ate. And then you stopped for moment and smiled. And then you stopped smiling and you said, "I think I'm full."
I said, "No. You only ate one. I really think you should have two today."
You looked at the other one. You said, "Do you think that is the best thing to do?"
I said, "I think you should have two today. Just try. It won't be difficult."
You said, "All right. I will have the other one." You ate the other one, and it only took a little while. I watched the crumbs fall onto you. You did not pick them up. I brushed them away, and I asked you if it was good. You said, yes, it was good. I did not think it tasted good, but I said that it did. When you were done, you were tired. I helped you to the couch, and then I went into another room while you slept.
It started getting darker again and we still didn't see the sun. When it starts to get darker, I think the rooms change their shape a little bit. I think the walls get tired and they bend at the top. And then after that the air becomes blue. The air becomes dark blue. I wonder if the sky becomes tired. I wonder if the sky comes down and falls asleep in our room. I wonder if light is a thing that fills the darkness, or if darkness is a thing that fills the light. I wonder if I am just seeing things.
I came to you and I said, "I wonder if I am seeing things."
You said, "What else is there to see?"
I said, "I cannot tell if there is more light or more dark yet."
You said, "You're just seeing things."
I was standing behind the couch you were sitting on, and you were looking out the window. You did not see me, but I could hear you just the same. I walked away from the couch for a little while and looked for something. I went to the small room at the end of the hall. There was dust in the room and I moved the dust.
I walked into the bathroom. I took my pants down and sat on the toilet. Something hurt for a little while and then it stopped. I pulled my pants up and flushed. I washed my hands. I wonder where the water goes. I think my wrists are funny. I wonder if I can remember things.
I wonder if things change when I am not looking at them, and then change back before I look again so that I don't notice.
It was starting to get dark but it wasn't dark yet. I sat next to you on the couch for a long time without speaking to you, and then I spoke to you and you did not move. And then I touched you and you did not move. And then I touched your hand, and your hand did not move. And then I touched your heart, and your heart was speechless. I was confused because your eyes were open, and I could see the shape of the window in the middle of your eyes. And then I touched your face and you did not move. And then for a while, I did not move. And then all of the blue things that were in the room became red things.
About the author:
Andrew S. Taylor's is Associate Editor of Menda City Review. His fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen, Pindeldyboz, Menda City Review, Mad Hatter's Review, Peridot Books, and Promethean. He has also contributed essays and reviews to American Book Review, Ghetto Blaster Magazine, and Anime Insider. He is currently seeking publication for his first novel. His website can be viewed at http://www.fablesandriddles.com/.