"Suddenly she called his name and wept--as if she
burned in the fire of separation."
"This isn't entirely real," she said to him, and he
did have to wonder. After years of her not wanting to see him, for
no reason that she ever felt the need to tell, here she was
underneath him in the middle of a green grove. They had been
walking and talking without looking, and now they were here, and who
knew where it was. Vines creeping from trees to ground held and
pulled their bodies down against the earth and each other as they
made love. The sky couldn't have possibly been this blue, and the
clouds were puff balls from a stage production, all parodies of
reality. He rolled onto his side, still staying inside of her, and
a yellow butterfly landed on her nipple.
She had been quivering and bubbling since they
stopped. Flower petals were in her mouth and dirt was making a
pattern around her navel. A tiny-thorned vine made an ankle
bracelet of itself. He moved a silver spider web from her hair and
pulled himself out. The butterfly flew away. Little stick-made
marks were all over here. A wind blew cold and she looked down at
where his penis was and then to his eyes, but she looked through him
and her face changed.
She screamed his name aloud, like someone looking for
a potentially-kidnapped child. He raised himself to hover his face
over hers, smiling and wondering about this new game. She screamed
again: "Where are you?" She scrambled around, either looking for
him or for her clothes that had disappeared from the area hours
ago. He touched her arm and slapped it gently a few times, but she
didn't react. He tried the same with her cheek and she only
screamed his name again.
He remembered a time when his mother shook her
keychain violently at him as a child, yelling, "Where are my keys?
Who has stolen my keys?" She died before he could ask her about it.
She stood and yelled: "Where are you? Where did you
go? Why did you leave me here all by myself?" She spun herself in
semi-circles, back and forth. In her movements, his penis grazed
her thigh and she said, "Is that you?" He remained silent, unable
They stood quiet and naked for many seconds, she
moving slowly back and forth like a gunslinger ready to fire and he
not moving at all. In a moment, her face became completely red and
she fell on her back. Her arms and legs moved about as if they were
being controlled by distant robots. She screamed out non-words,
baby talk, but it was not cute. The birds sounded like they were
being electrocuted. It looked as if she would have fainted if the
pain from the bumps and rocks had not kept her awake.
He backed away, putting his hand on his chin,
examining her. At first he felt only confusion, but now he too felt
apart from her, as if they had never made love, had never come to
this grove--or as if they had always been here, but invisible to
each other, horrifically aware that somewhere they had found
perfection together and now it was lost.
Eventually, she calmed down and began to wander, her
left hand out, as if being led away by some other, compassionate
Rusty W. Spell has been published in The
Mid-American Review, The Georgetown Review, The
Blip Magazine Archive, and others. He teaches writing and
literature at Auburn University and is a musician. This is his
first published work of flash fiction.