The sun was as hot as wax dripping down a candlestick. I scanned the ground for any object that didn’t belong. I had found a few bits of metal roofing and wood vomited from the tornado here and there, but nothing unusual. The field was muddy, my shoes stuck like paste to the ground. All I saw was green grass and seed’s whiskers budding on their tops.
A lone tree stood a few feet ahead of me, its gnarled limbs reached for the sky. Dead grass circled the tree, and the grasshoppers sounded like a card hitting the spokes of a wheel; the noise grew louder as I approached. I hadn’t thought much about the waves of heat which had risen to the tips of my knees, or the lack of wind when I reached the base of the tree.
That was until I found the photo.
Inside of the shallow tree hollow, I saw a glimmer. The photo was smeared and a little battered, but I could still see the faded image clearly: it was a photo of me. Weird. I held the same photo, hair braided like a hippie, and I looked back as if I was peeking at the photographer.
The wind whistled in my hair, and my ears rang like the metal filaments in a burnt out light bulb. A woman’s laugh echoed in my ears.
“Mom?” I whispered. My head grew light. I turned, and a flash of white light blinded me, but no one was there when the spots faded.
Just North of Jacksonport…
There’s hidden zen, and a garden filled with too many tomatoes. Aunts will fill baskets with these ripe suckers to take home with you. There’s a red barn, but not as red as the tomatoes: it resembles the color of a rooster’s comb. In the wee hours of the morning, people will come. They’ll stretch out on thin primary and secondary colored mats in hushed silence. Their long, wiry and surprisingly strong, flexible limbs will put young bodies to shame as beginners stare in awe.
Here, meat is as rare as a dodo and organic goodies reign supreme. Be wary of Koala Krispies as their taste isn’t filled with chocolaty goodness, and keep chemical-ridden deodorant close, as aunts will replace it. Meals are filled with cautious chewing as one is used to fake sugar and too many carbs.
There’s a maze where no one is ever lost. The whiskers of grass barely reach the knee. There’s even a bench if one were to find themselves tired. The enjoyment comes from finding oneself in that field, where the end leads to a rusted arch. Circles, and waves of worn metal leave shadows as one passes through staring into the endless ocean of grass waving them on into their next life.