Sunday, January 8, 2012

THE LITTLE MATCH BOY~~~~ a re-telling of H.C. Andersen's poignant tale part XVI

The lumbering old derelict stomped toward them, as the little match boy frantically tried to budge the frozen door. Buh slitovani, Buh slitovani, Buh slitovani - he whispered over and over again. But his new friend, although 'concerned' did not seem quite so terrified, for he ever so slowly inched a thin, razor sharp stiletto out from the lining of his coat...... You want to see God's mercy? Here's His mercy - he whispered back...... The match boy stared at the shiny blade and grew quiet.


Thud, thud, thud.....Either the flea-bitten monster had a wooden leg or a rigid knee, a pirate (though unfortunately minus his patch) sent to confront the two lost boys. Four more steps and he'd be there. No other sound, but the soft whimpering of Napoleon penetrated the dead, cold air. 


The disfigured, ancient pirate spewed curses in his own mysterious tongue. The boy with the stiletto mouthed the word 'sileny.' But the match boy did not care if he was crazy or not. He just wanted  to live.


Then it happened. The crazy, filthy, 'pirate' was upon them. He raised the blade. The little match boy thought- Maminka, tatinek, not like this. Help me. Help me. Help me.......... Well, maybe they did, for the dried up, soulless killer stopped. His rheumy eyes focused on their  meager stash of belongings. And he clucked and chuckled as he hunched over to look through their things. 


The new boy flinched. He made a move. He meant to run (where? who knows?). But the demon calmly flicked his blade through the air and the boy jumped back, his hand pressed to a bleeding cut upon his cheek. So they crouched there, still as graveyard statues, as the ghoulish thief touched their belongings. He stuffed things in his pockets - the matches, the cookies, most of the multicolored gloves. The match boy stole a glance at the horribly scarred face. What fire burned shut that hellish eye? What battles killed his soul? The other boy concentrated on more practical things. He looked. And he watched. And he waited. 


The little match boy couldn't help himself. It was reflexive. It just spilled out of him. He began to drone - Buh slitovani, buh slitovani, buh slitovani, out into the dim, shadowy interior of a side-tracked tram car on a dark, gray winter day. The ghoul cruelly mocked him - 'Buh slitovani, buh slitovani........ And then he hauled back and spit right in the match boy's upturned face. The little one did nothing, as silent tears ran down his dirtied cheeks.


But it seems that God did hear and He did favor him with a mercy of sorts. For far back, just to the other side of the glass, a fat, disoriented pigeon went smack, right up against the grimy pane. Napoleon heard. She saw. Her instincts kicked in and she began to bark and bark and bark. 


Their tormentor turned to quiet her. He yelled a garbled threat in his own language. And in that one distracted instant, the new kid, the glove merchant, lunged up with his stiletto and plunged it deep into the old man's withered groin.


A silent scream caught in his throat. He crumpled down upon them and curled up like a babe in the womb, as he choked and drooled and cried. The two boys scrambled up and climbed passed him (although the little knife-wielder stopped to deliver a few fast, hard kicks), as they hurried down the aisle to see about the dog.


But she was all right. Bruised maybe, but all right. So the little killer went back up front to retrieve their things from the dead man's bulging pockets, as the little match boy hugged the dog and cried.


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