He interrupted her

He interrupted her

The paper rustled like the wind that weaves it way through riverside reeds. The delicate sheet betrayed its violent creation.

Chainsaws screamed in a distant forest, their vicious claws scratching at the base of a towering monolith. A crack, an alarming descent. Its life smashed into the hard earth from which it had drawn meagre sustenance. Stripped bare, naked, it was dressed for the mills as the layers-out-of-the-dead roved its length. Removing any limbs that could tangle the small apertures through which it would be forced. As the journey progressed, its expanse would become as confined as the countenance of those whose deft touch manipulate twisted dials. Giant machines screel as the ceremony of destruction is conducted from the safety of deaf ears. Spinning steel tears against steel-like as a fountain of red sawdust arches against the glacial, compressed ice canopy of the morning. A spurt of blood from a severed artery. A ritual sacrifice. Silent sentinels conduct the sacred ceremony. Pulp smashed, a clean white sheet takes form.

He crossed the room, sparse in furnishing. A study. The sheet of white fluttered with each step. He stopped to wait for a proper moment when she would pause in her concentration and, like a dolphin, surface for air. Her dedication to her work had no comparison. A large crack spidered its way from ceiling to floor, dividing the space between them in the same way as it bisected the wall. She sat at a table, hewn from strips of auburn. Piles of manuscript dotted the plateau and bound her to this place.

She raised her head and absorbed his presence. He lay the paper in front of her. She applied her attention to it.

“I just have a question about this section. Are you sure that is the word you want to use? Is this sentence what you really meant?”

He moved closer. She moved away, reclining in her chair. Black text looked to them like insects trapped. A choir. They sang a silent song that reformed upon each encounter.

“No word can ever capture what I really mean. No sentence can ever secure what I see. It is a journey of epic failure. Perhaps those that come later may salvage some prize from the tangled-letter wreckage that fall to these pages.”

© Anthony Wood 2011


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