Sometimes stuff just falls out of the sky. Sitting in my pickup on a hot day thinking I could just sit here and sweat for less than a sauna would cost, I was texting a message about not forgetting to buy buttermilk when this little fictional fragment was suddenly there sweltering with me. I could see these two, hear their voices, like in a little video clip. For once, I'd remembered to bring my notebook and wrote down the words before they evaporated.
This is how stories happen -sometimes. Maybe this is the beginning of a short story, who knows, maybe even a novel, or maybe it is a fragment ever after. But even the fish you throw back is fun to catch.
AMONG THE FALLEN
She has shears some place that eludes her memory, so wields the sharp butcher knife she liberated from her kitchen, a sin she’d only forgive herself. Startled, she nearly slips and slices her fingers when she hears the unfamiliar voice behind her.
“Miss Trammell?” A man’s voice only maybe, with a peculiar lilt, obviously not from around here.
“You’re a quiet one,” she says, turning to face the tall, gangly man who’s snuck up on her. Ellajane is proud that she’s kept her acute hearing into her elder years when she has to shout at most of her friends, can’t fathom why she didn’t hear a car come up her drive or footsteps on the gravel. “Can I help you?” As much accusation as question. She assumes this is another lost tourist, reduced to asking directions of a local because his GPS app is off-line.
The spinyspindly man- Ellajane thinks of a vine twining up an invisible trellis – says, “VonTrier. I reserved your room.”
Ellajane’s Airbnb only offers one room, and she remembers the name because it is odd. “Yes,” she agrees, “Wendl. You’re set for the week.” She subjects him to a frank inspection. How did he get here? She didn’t hear a car because there isn’t any. “Luggage?” She won’t rent a room for a week to a man without luggage, and starts to tell Wendl VonTrier precisely that.
“Here,” he says, lofting his suitcase as if it’s empty. How could she miss seeing it before? It’s almost as if it didn’t exist before she named it.
Ellajane drops her trimmings into the basket at her feet, waves her knife in the air, “I’ll show you,” she says, remembering to smile.