Saturday, 14 December 2013

The Face of God by Jason Purdy



Jason Purdy's story 'The face of God' won second prize in November's short fiction contest, you can read the story in full below.

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The Face of God by Jason Purdy

https://twitter.com/JasonAPurdy

Every time he found a dead bird on his hand, he’d take it home, pluck it, and add the feathers to his collection. He had a lot of time for feather collecting. Most stayed away, especially after the incident, where the young boy got hurt and the blood stained the sun bleached porch boards a deep crimson. Now he kept to himself. Never even went into town, got everything from the land. Sometimes he ate the birds, but only if things weren’t going well. Only if the crops were failing, or the traps weren’t catching anything.

The birds died a lot around here. There was something in the air. He felt it, thick, and heavy, an evil, like a fog that settles in your lungs and slowly kills you with a black, bleak miasma. Though it could just be the fumes from the coal mine.

Three more birds and he’d be done. He was making a suit. A suit of feathers, a suit of wings and bones and cartilage. A suit that he’d drape himself in and take a flying leap off the cliffs with. Then he’d fly away, all the way to somewhere warm, somewhere where the sky isn’t perpetually grey and where every glance, every gaze, doesn’t come laden with pretence, with hatred and prejudice.
He was quite mad. 

Someone had once told him he was mad as a hatter but that confused him, because he didn’t own any hats. Their tone of voice and their face told him that they meant it as an insult, but to him, everything was an insult. Every life, every second, every blade of grass, every drop of rain, every moment spent lying awake, writhing in agony as the sickness wracked his weary body. Every moment was an insult of cosmic proportions.

Maybe if the suit worked, maybe if he could fly, then he’d arch his wings and tear his way into the sky, ripping a whole through the stars, flying right into the man on the moon’s mouth and coming out face to face with God. Then he’d spit at him. How great would that be?

Another bird drops, like a thick, fat rain drop. He watches it’s descent through his grimy binoculars. Only a few more to go and he’ll be ready. His mother told him he was mad, but she’s the mad one, thinking she can stop him, thinking she has a say in anything when she’s nothing more than a bag of bones and the rotten threads of her Sunday best. To say less about his father, who’s nothing, nothing but ash that he tossed down the old well. 

There’s nothing but him and the birds and his great mission now. Two more fall, off in the fields, passing in and out of the belching smoke from the mine. Disappearing, then reappearing, ethereal and real in turns like the roll of a dice. This is it. He’s ready to fly now. He’s ready to visit with God.

2 comments:

  1. Barbara H. Horter19 December 2013 at 05:36

    A story of sadness and despair...negativism held in the heart and seemingly placed there by the very ones who should have lifted him to a place of love that would have made his mad desires unecessary...sad and bleak but very visual and talented writer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed, his entries are always an excellent read.

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