Saturday, October 3, 2015

Nightmare Fuel, Day the Third - the Nail

A cheat today; I'm up ahead of the daily prompt, so selected one of my own from the archives.

The image was from March of 2003 in New York City. 

If I like today's post image, I'll write another later or another day.


"The Nail"

The kids left another nail in their garden patch.

It still bothers them that I look when I come to visit, the same way that it still bothers them deep inside that I call them kids. No matter. I raised him well enough to not say anything, and she's too scared to. There is politeness, but the nails.

The nails make me mad. 

Photo by L.C. Suskin
It's not just that they keep the little folk out, or hurt the ones that come. Little spikes of iron, carelessly sown amongst the roses and rosemary, the earthloving tulip bolds and bold daffodils, trumpetiting the arriving season. It's that it's come to feel deliberate. After I talked them into pulling the nails out of that little wood picket fencelette (too small to be a real fence. Oh, how I loved wordplay when I was a young girl! I should have been a writer) and tie it up with twine all properlike the nails kept appearing. The kids tell me they must of dropped when they pulled them from the fence, that they fell there by accident, but there's too many, too many different sizes and shapes. Where do so many nails come from?

No, the nails are there for spite. 

It's the same kind of spite that moves the flat bowl of salt from the east window to the west window, that swept away the line of salt I'd drawn on their rear doorsill and replaced it with sharptasting cinnamon. For the ants, they say, but I know different and they know I know different. 

She knows. I can see it in her eyes.

It's hard to pick up tiny nails from soft earth, the iron dirtyblack against the soil. If I had my gloves I'd do it now, but I don't want to risk burning my hands.

It is easy, as an old woman, to shuffle my feet. To stumble a bit on the way in, to break that damn line of cinnamon. Tomorrow I'll replace it with honest salt. As it should be.

As I go to the wrong side of the kitchen window to fetch the salt, I see it out of the corner of my eye: a single ant already crossing the threshhold

Soon there are more. Not the black ants I know from my youth, but tiny and dustyred, the color of rust. 

The kids won't appreciate it, but I shuffle to the door, ready to protect my child's home against the coming iron.

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