Thursday, December 29, 2011

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

He just woke up all of a sudden. There was no noise, maybe a carriage or two clop-clopped down the street, but that was normal in the city, no different than waves upon a shore. Maybe it was his mother's voice? Maybe it was his father's? He saw them in a dream. It was snowing and they walked passed the great shops with their beautiful windows. He stopped and ran over to admire a display of wonderful, multicolored blocks. Small, artificial, elfin children made castles with them just beyond the glass. Then they were inside. A young lady smiled at them, as she wrapped up the parcel. Papa wanted to carry it, but the little boy insisted. He was so happy. He was so proud. What wonderful cities he'd create. But then another tiny part of his  brain sprang to life. He saw a bent, boney man in a dark, dark suit step out of a crowd and glide toward them. Shadows veiled the face. A gnarled hand reached out, ready to dig into his shoulder and snatch him away. The small, frightened boy could not move. But then a great white coach, pulled by four sleek steppers flickered into view. A lady's hand, in a white kid skin glove came out from a window and pointed at the man, who withered down into a swirling column of dead brown leaves and blew away. The boy saw it all, but when he turned around, his mama and papa were not there. He was all alone. The parcel was gone. And then he woke up.

Max licked his face. The boy just laid there for a few heartbeats trying to forget. But he could not forget. The landlord was coming. So he ran upstairs to get ready (he did not mind being up there during the day, but at night it was  different.). Then, when he was all clean and all dressed, he came down the steps and sat. Max wanted breakfast. The boy went into the kitchen and crumbled up  a few pieces of almond toast for the hungry puppy. He thought about taking one or two for himself, but he could not. His tummy had no room for food. It was already filled with fear. Then he reached down into his pocket and felt the four silver crowns. He prayed they were enough. A yellow beam of sunshine sneaked in through the curtains. He watched it crawl across the floor.  Minutes went by..... many minutes. He looked up, but the small clock on the mantle was no longer there. Those who came to remove his dead parents made quick work of that, as they did with other interesting, eye catching trinkets. The wedding rings were gone. The mother of pearl hand mirror disappeared. A sepia-toned photograph of all three of them vanished too. The frame was heavy bronze, after all.

The little boy sighed. He got up and made sure the quilts on the sofa were neatly folded. Then he carried them to a small bench by the hearth and laid them down upon it. Maybe if the room looked nice the landlord would like him better?


RAP. RAP. RAP, hard against the door. A heartbeat went by, maybe two heartbeats. Then they did it again. The little boy walked toward the door and said - W-who is it?........... You KNOW who it is! Open up! - yelled the landlord, barely waiting for the bolt to clear the lock before BANGING the door against the wall and barging in.

The little boy jumped and stepped back. Max quietly growled as they stepped in. This was different. This was something new. The landlord was not alone..... The people from the house next door were with him. And the big, rough wife was already fingering the curtains, as her eldest son stomped noisily up the stairs.

His hands felt so cold. His throat felt so dry. He just stood there, looking down at the clean, wood floor, searching for the little, yellow sunbeam (he did not know what else to do), but the sunbeam wasn't there.


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1 comment:

Jon Snow said...

So, knowing how the original story ends . . . I'm just afraid of what's going to happen every chapter. I'll try to read six more tomorrow.