Fiction by | April 10, 2011

You get into bed. You try to relax, but your legs keep shaking. This is you trying to keep your mind off that joyride you had with Pa’s car—the one that ended with a busted taillight and a visit from the cops. Or your breakup with Jackie—the one that broke a few plates and a window and kept the neighbors up. Those seem miles and miles away as you try to close your eyes. You wish for a nice dream to come take you away.

A boy lies in the dust of a village in a far-flung land. A gust of wind kicks up the dust around him. The dust scrapes his back, some large bits leaving bloody scratches on his skin; it was as if the dust was eating him alive, much like his hunger is scraping the insides of his stomach. He looks around and sees that his family could not take the scrapes anymore. He closes his eyes and wishes for some bread. The bread is soft, crumbling at the boy’s touch as he tears off a piece to eat. It is sweet, causing the boy’s tongue to drip saliva at first contact. The bread goes down the boy’s throat without so much as a sound. The scrapes have stopped. The boy wakes up. The bread was but a dream. All he has to eat is the hard bits of dust blown into his mouth by the wind, tearing at his teeth and gums as he flexes his jaws and drying what little spit is left in his mouth. The scrapes continue.

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