Bright and Early
by Ian Seed
Hurrying to the station to catch my train home, I realised I'd taken a wrong turning. I was at the back of a church. The quickest way now would be to go through it. I went in by a door in the corner. After the busy streets, the inside of the church seemed to envelop me with its silence. At the bottom of some steps was a statue of the bleeding Christ. As I came near, I saw it was a man dressed up. He thrust a palm in front of me and glared. Just for a few coins, I thought, and walked on. "That's right," I heard him mutter behind me. I thought of turning round and taking issue with him. But this was a church. Besides, I was only passing through.
Bright and Early
I got off the bus, thinking it was the stop for the sea. Instead I had stepped into an empty field. I walked across the field and climbed a fence into another field. There was a girl crying. By her side were a discarded sketchbook and some scattered charcoals. "This picture just won't come right," she told me. I took her hand and kissed her face. Her skin was warm from the sun.
"You'll have to leave me here," she said, at the gate to the farm where she lived, "or there'll be too many questions." I walked over more fields, hoping to come to the sea. I was sure I could hear its murmur somewhere in the distance. Instead, I arrived at a village by a river. It was already nightfall. An old woman took me in, letting me sleep in a hut in her garden. She said I would find what I was looking for if only I had faith.
In the coming months, the other villagers grew to accept me. Each night I knelt by my narrow bed and prayed until my knees were stiff and aching. Each morning I couldn't shake the weariness from my bones to get up and leave.
Ian Seed is editor of www.shadowtrain.com. He has published poetry, fiction, translations and reviews in numerous magazines and anthologies. His two collections of poetry and prose poetry are Anonymous Intruder (Shearsman, 2009) and Shifting Registers (Shearsman, 2011). His "Four Short Prose Pieces" appeared in Issue #23 of The Cafe Irreal.