Do you remember the day you died? The lights of the 7/11 glared against the hood of the Mustang. Mist condensed against the windshield. You stepped in a puddle. The water soaked through the flat of your shoe and in between your toes. The moon was waning and bland. The mother bickered with her daughter in the white Sentra. The father thought about traveling while paying the cashier. A bottle of Sprite and a pack of Starbursts traded back and forth on the counter. Faded voices argued on the radio. The air around the gas station warped like a bubble. Pressure pushed on the building. It was suffocating. You put your earbuds in to ignore the weight. They blasted hard rock into your skull. You silently stared at darkness. It stared back. The hair on your back raised. The rain pounded into the roof of the station. The asphalt began to quiver as the earth stretched. The son sitting behind his sister looked up from his lap through the window. Rain dripped down into his view. He knew. The father had paid. The bag thanked him for shopping. A crow pecked at the ground. Another tapped the window with its beak. The beady eyes watched. Intelligent. The boy in the car watched his father step off the curb. The cashier is gone. His keys hang from a hook. You watch as the father gets in the car. As the mother takes the bag from him. As the daughter opens her drink. The cap pops off onto the floor. She bends down to reach it. She doesn’t sit back up. The brother continues to look through the window. Watching. A stray cat walks towards the car. Predator hunting prey. Yellow eyes look into green eyes, warped in a window. The crows looked hungry. You know they’re watching. You take a breath. Cold fills your lungs, your veins, the marrow of your bones. The mist stops moving. Frozen. Waiting. You look down at your hands. Water crystallizes along your knuckles, crackling like coals. The world stops. The boy is watching. The girl is gone. The Mother sits, and the Father cries. The birds watch. The cats watch. They look at you. Waiting. Breathe in. Breathe out. You step forwards. A flurry of wings, an inhuman sound, a splitting of the sky. You’re looking through the window. You’re rotting, reaching for a bottle cap. You’re sitting in the front seat looking out. You’re thinking from the driver’s side. It’s all you. The pressure cracks your skull. You break down. The skin of your fingers unravel. The boundaries that confined you tear apart. The crows are done waiting. They feast. Tearing, clawing, devouring. Do you remember how it felt? You’re still there. Watching. Waiting.
I chose to emulate The Colonel by Carolyne Forche. Forches poem is written in block free verse prose, unbroken and straight to the point. Her piece is descriptive and full of imagery, and I wanted to replicate that style in a way that painted a picture in the reader’s mind. Forches writing forced me to focus on the story as it unfolded and nothing aside from that. It didn’t stray into explaining backstory or context, simply put forth a collection of moments that moved onwards. I did my best to do the same, creating an environment confined within itself with no outside influences or distractions. Forches writing also takes on a sense of apathy, as her descriptions sound more like facts stated. I tried to tie all of these styles together in my own short story. I struggled writing this to make sure my story still felt cohesive and flowed, while still being short and without breaks. It was a delicate balance and I’m not sure if I ever actually found it