Saturday, July 31, 2010

Short Story Winner!

The Two Brothers

The fireworks were spectacular.  Bright streams shot across the clear sky, reflected in the smooth water below.  The cracks and booms, and shrieks from the spectators on the crowded dock, were enough to wake the dead.  Unfortunately.

Long slumbering souls stirred amongst the roots of the weeds further up along the shallow shoreline.   Two stiff necks creaked, as long unused ears strained to identify the source of the sounds.  Four damp eye sockets squinted at the surface of the water, saw the streaks of flame shooting across the sky.  Wondered.

A finale of thunderous noise and lights was accompanied by equally thunderous shouts and applause from the persons on the dock.  It was joined by a few appreciative hoots and shouts from camps across the water.  And the mournful howling of one frightened dog.

Slowly the noises faded.  Silence gathered.  But the watery sleeping souls were now awake.  Moving.  Bony limbs burrowed through the thick mud at the bottom of the lake.  Small stones scraped at remembrances of flesh as fingers and then arms disturbed the rocky surface of the lake bottom.

The two souls worked their way out of the muck and then crawled on all fours along the watery shallows at the edge of the lake, occasionally breaking the surface of the water, occasionally sinking back below.  Fifty good yards they travelled, slowly, until the slime covered head of one bumped against something hard, wooden and dry.

The brother followed as he mounted the obstacle, both creeping like cautious iguanas.  Snuffling about the hard flat surface of the dock, the brothers wrinkled their noses at the acrid smell of the firework tracings.  Together, almost as one, they suddenly turned their faces toward the sky, sniffing the air as the wind shifted, and raising themselves up from their crouched positions like the first prehistoric man to lift his blistered knuckles off the ground and stand.

The air was hot.  Steamy.  A mist roiled over the flat surface of the lake.

And as one their faces turned towards the dimly lit cabin up the step on the shore.  Snuffling, grunting, they moved towards the light.  They stumbled on the jutting, uneven rocks that made the stairway up to the ground floor door.  Unwisely unlocked.

Slimy fingers slipped and fumbled over the door handle.  It had been a long time.  Then the door creaked open.  The smell of the warm bodies filled their noses.  Bare feet crept along a slightly cooler corridor.   Slapping on the soothing cold concrete.  Many years under the lake, the heat out of the water was thick.

The brothers entered a  tiny bunk room and sniffed at the sleeping forms, barely covered in their beds.  The first reached out and touched the sweaty forehead of one.  The other ran a dead finger over a clump of long dark hair that spread across the pillow.

Not finding what they thirsted for, they turned away.  Swampy breath congealed over a half a dozen more sleeping forms in the cabin.  Upstairs and down.  The brothers began to boil with anger and a parched and thirsty hunger.

Then a low hum caught the one’s attention.  They stumbled into a kitchen they had passed by before, following the beckoning hum and stood before a large white sweaty box.  A box that murmered and seemed to breathe, calling out with a soothing song.

The other brother ran his hands over the sweaty mystery, confused.  And then he pulled in frustration at a protrusion along one side.  A small door flew open, and the brother fell backwards as many cold hard projectiles launched upon him.  The first brother picked one up, it almost slipped out of his algae covered bony hand,  He squinted at it, licked it, and then smiled with glee.

The following day there was much bickering in the cabin about who had eaten whose ice cream.  The only thing ever determined was that somebody had eaten it all.  And left a big mess.


by Katie

Many...many judges called this one...'laugh out loud funny!' --and now you know why we had so much trouble choosing a winner!

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