Death Unlit

“Red, I’m dying, I can feel it. I don’t want to die.”

“Hang in there Wyatt, I’ll drag you out of here if I have to.”

“There’s no way you can survive with me like this.”

“I can, I won’t leave you here.”

“No Red, stop. Just stop.”

“But we’re almost there.”

“No, and you know it. Look all I ask is to let me die here.”

“I can’t.”

“Just let me die here and help me with a smoke. Can you do that for me?”

“You can have as many smokes as you want when we are free.”

“No goddamn it Red, give me a smoke right here and let me die and go.”

There were sirens in the distance and barking.

“They’re close. That smoke Red.”

Red fumbled for a cigarette. He gave Wyatt one and took another.

Wyatt placed the cigarette in his mouth and held it between his lips.

Red’s eyes widened.

“What? Are they here?”

Red stayed quiet.

“What Red?”

“I don’t have a lighter.”

“Red, I can’t move anymore. Forget the smoke and go.”

“No, I have to light it for you.”

Red picked up rocks and sticks and tried friction and tried making sparks.

“Wyatt, I’m trying hold on.”

“Leave it Red.”

Red kept trying desperately to make a spark using two rocks on hastily collected tinder.

Helicopters whirred in the distance.

Minutes passed.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck.” Red’s hands shook and continuously dropped the rocks.

“Aha! Wyatt I got it.”

A tiny spark lit the tinder and Red lit his cigarette.

“Here Wyatt, here!”

Red looked at Wyatt, his cigarette was on his chest and his mouth wide open. He was dead.

Red placed the lit cigarette on Wyatt’s mouth and held his nose closed.

“I’m sorry,” he said.

He ran.

Silence

“Well, since we’re walking the whole trail, can we each tell things about ourselves that we don’t know about each other.”

“I don’t know about that.”

“Come on, don’t be a sour patch kid.”

“I’m going to ignore that.”

“Fine, I’ll go first. I have this weird thing that when I see bare feet, I count toes. Like there has to be five toes per foot, and I haven’t been surprised yet, there’s always been five. But I dread the day I see, say six or maybe even four, you know?”

“I really don’t. That’s pretty weird. So you want to say weird things about each other or just things we don’t know. Because you should know that having a foot fetish is gross.”

“It’s normal, actually. Your brain has mixed signals with your sex signals and stuff. But honestly, I don’t have a foot fetish. I just count toes. Your turn.”

“Umm… I don’t know. I kind of just want to walk.”

“Here, I’ll help you. You know what I didn’t know about you until today?”

“What?”

“That you had a tattoo on your waist.”

“Ugh. Don’t be nosy.”

“What! What is it? I really couldn’t tell.”

“Be quiet the whole trail, and maybe I will show it to you.”

“You know you won’t. Come on.”

“No.”

“Fine, I’ll go again. I like the night better. The way the sun illuminates everything is tacky. Like I look at my hands and they look like bloated sausages. Everything at night has so much more magic. The moonlight, the stars, and the streetlights light up everything tactfully, even creatively. Plus, it’s hot during the day.”

“Maybe you should have come here at night then. The only magic happening then would be you disappearing into that ravine over there.”

“Ha ha, didn’t know you had a sense of humor. Nice, that’s one. My turn again, I guess. When I was born, I was purple from not breathing and they had to dislocate my arm to take me out of my mom. Then I was in an incubator for like weeks or a month. Something like that. I was like a baby chick.”

“Baby chicks aren’t purple. But I didn’t know that. Your poor mom.”

“What if I ask you a question, then”

“If I answer will you be quiet?”

“I mean, I can try but isn’t this fun?”

“No.”

“What’s your middle name? I don’t know that about you.”

“Oh no way, I hate my middle name.”

“Eleanor.”

“Ha. No.”

“Eliza.”

“No.”

“Elsa.”

“Ew no.”

“Estefano.”

“That’s a guy’s name.”

“Hey, girls can have guy names. Like I know an Alex guy and an Alex girl.”

“Who cares. And stop asking.”

“Elvira.”

“No.”

“Erika.”

“God no.”

“I’ll get it. Let me think about it some more. Do you know what lucid dreaming is? I’ve been practicing it and it’s pretty crazy. So I looked it up and to master it you have to like do stuff during the day that when you’re sleeping your body does it too. Like you can write the letter E on the palm of your hand and check it all day. Oh it’s still there. Oh it’s still there. Oh it’s still there and when you’re dreaming and you check and the E isn’t there you will become lucid. Boom.”

“What if you do see the E though?”

“Uh I don’t know. And you know some people use lucid dreaming to live out sexual fantasies.”

“Jesus.”

“Yeah some people talk to him too. It all depends on the person.”

“We should go through the shorter route.”

“Wow, tired of me already huh.”

“No, I just really need to use the bathroom.”

“Go here, I’ll cover you.”

“No. Just hurry up.”

“Okay but before we leave at least tell me something, Emma.”

“It’s not Emma.”

“Emily.”

“No. Stop it.”

“Seriously, go right here. I want to see your tat.”

“Stop.”

“Fine, I’ll be quiet. Look there’s an eagle”

“Where?”

“Your tattoo.”

“Okay, fine. I’m pregnant. Happy?”

Lucid Dreaming

“You look tired.”

“Yeah I haven’t slept.”

” I can tell. You don’t look well. Why don’t you go home?”

“I’m fine. I don’t want to go to sleep.”

“What? Why not?”

“Because then I have to see him, and I’m mad at him.”

“See who?”

“My boyfriend.”

“Oh he’s staying with you?”

“Yes. We decided to move in together and I think he might propose soon.”

“So why don’t you want to see him?”

“Because. It’s a long story. But I asked him if we were ever going to get married and he just looked at me with a blank stare. Actually now that I think about it I haven’t ever really heard him talk to me but I left and said I wouldn’t go to sleep ever again. So I woke up.”

“Okay you lost me.”

“Oh you’re going to think I’m crazy.”

“No please tell me.”

“Whenever I go to sleep, I live with my boyfriend in the most beautiful place. He’s always there and he makes me feel safe. It happened once, out of nowhere I finally met the man of my dreams.”

“You’re serious.”

“Yes. See I told you. I knew you wouldn’t believe me.”

“No no I’m sorry. Okay so this guy, you met him in your dreams?”

“Yeah. It’s strange, I became fully lucid one day and I met him. He was driving the taxi I was riding on and he kept looking back. on the rearview mirror. At first it made me feel nervous, and then suddenly the taxi was a horse carriage and I was riding next to him, you know how dreams are. But he looked at me with the most intent look anyone has ever given me. His eyes were gray but they looked like jewels. And as I looked away from him I saw a cottage sitting by the mountains and oh it was so beautiful. There was cherry blossoms, and a well and a garden and a tire swing and goats and it was magical.”

“So you go see him there every night?”

“Yes. He’s always there. Sometimes he’ll be off chopping wood. Sometimes he’ll be making repairs on the fence or on the house, you know, here and there. Sometimes he is tending to the animals, and one time I got scared I couldn’t find him but he came back with a fresh deer in a wagon. I couldn’t have been happier.”

“So then until when are you going to sleep?”

“Until he thinks about how he hurt my feelings.”

“Honey you can’t go without sleeping. Are you sure you’re okay?”

“Okay you think I’m crazy. Just forget it.”