Fetish.

©2021 Michael Raven

From the trees hung trinkets and talismans, bone fetish and feather. Was it red paint or scarlet blood splashed in the trees and on the scattered dead leaves? Laura could not tell, though the cinnabar stuff was far to viscous to be paint, she knew, which left scant few other options as to what those slaughterhouse hues might mean.

The wind shifted, rattling the bones hollow, the devil’s own xylophone playing on the wings of air. She felt, rather than heard, the subvocalized growl forming from the perimeter. The sound permeated the thick air and came from everywhere and no place, trapped in the amber moment. Laura knew she should run, but was trapped indecision, though she knew her chance at escape was evaporating. The only movement was the bones settling back, the clickclack song fading into the night as she stood there, frozen before the cacophony erupted and she screamed.

Pooh Sticks.

©2021 Michael Raven

With running rivulets developing from the snowmelt of the cloudless day, Sean thought it might be time to paint up some toothpicks and teach the kids a modified version of Pooh Sticks. He thought he might even let someone else win most of the races…

Philosopher’s couch.

There, in the tall grass growing wild under the bridge arcing over the railroad rail, rock and ties, was the old couch losing its stuffing and with a dangerous spring if you didn’t know how to plop down in it properly — his sanctuary against the insanity of the city scurrying just above his head. Just another cigarette, he told himself, kicking a used condom someone had deposited near where his roughworn boots dug into the earth. And so he smoked, the insect hum of traffic passing over his head.

© Michael Raven

Hibernation.

Although he was normally not prone to such things, Ben was strongly compelled by emotions he was no where near being able to fathom to crawl into bed at midday, make a dark cave of his sheets, blankets and comforters, and burrowed inside. He hoped the world would go on without him, because he didn’t much care to be responsible for it continuing to spin if for some reason time stopped and he slept like death had taken his soul for keeping.

© Michael Raven

Thrall.

He knew he was the rabbit in a snare the moment she showed enough leg so he could witness her absently-not-absently tug at the garter holding up her stockings as if to adjust the bands when they plainly needed no adjustment, then looked into his eyes and asked with a crooked smirk, “Well… What do you think we should do tonight?”

© Michael Raven