The man’s rifle leaned against the side of the china cabinet. It was a family heirloom (not his family, but that of the homeowners) that survived two world wars, an ideological dictatorship and incompetent shipping methods. After all these years, wrapped and unwrapped, hoisted and positioned, it began to smell like every family member who housed it and took on the countenance of an old woman. Creased door frames, drooping circular knobs, and lavender-hued streaks appeared in the wood.
The man had put his rifle not in a closet or underneath a bed, rather he placed it against the cabinet because it belonged next to something as old as he was starting to feel. He’d partially died several years ago, and it took a curious girl with an untamed spirit to help him fully die, so that he wouldn’t have to be trapped in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The rifle was an icon of that old world, the one he’d left after submerging into the vastness of death.
In his new incarnation, he didn’t need a rifle for the pen was his tool of choice now. He discovered he could bring things to life and into being with the written word. He’d made a football team win in the final minutes of the fourth quarter because he had scribbled on a bar napkin, “just get another touchdown and keep your defense in the game.” They got another touchdown. He wondered what he could do with more time, paper, and pens. Did different color inks bring about different results? What if he used erasable ink?
What would happen if he drew and wrote? Could he make the curious girl with an appetite for flesh appear if he drew her? It’d been two years since he last saw her in his previous life…or half-life. As each day passed, his memories of her shifted into dreams. He found himself sketching argyle patterns whenever he wasn’t experimenting with conjuring exotic animals, food dishes, or sports scores.
The man thought he saw the girl one day when he was gazing at the window display of a furniture store. He was looking for a new hammock for his back porch, something he could erect between two pillars for a more comfortable view of the night sky. Standing grew tiring too quickly. The man noticed the reflection of a girl with dark brown hair and wild eyes. She was watching him too, but before he could turn to speak to her, she had gone.
The man left the furniture store in search of an art supplies shop. He also needed a six pack of root beer.