Dixit Writing Challenge Day 8: The Red House

Today’s card has a guy on a park bench reading a newspaper under a sky full of letters. The piece ended up coming out of this and talking to my friend about memories of the first house I lived in. It’s got more Neverland imagery, but I also felt a Shel Silverstein “Where the Sidewalk Ends” vibe in it (except “where the sidewalk ends” means something completely different in this context.)

The Red House
You cannot capture the Neverland. Its magic is so great the words fly off the page. How I’d like to fly with those letters, to chase them down a river of paint to the home of blackberry memories. I’ll come in through window at the top of the pumpkin house. Our faithful tree still waits for us, its branches dry and brittle. I hit my head on the door frame climbing down the grass stairs. This place used to seem so big. It had portals in the back yard, but someone bricked up the gate, so I take the caterpillar train back out of town.

The turtles have grown up and now their grandchildren run the pump, and they won’t let me have a drink. So I wait until their backs are turned and try to sway it with my words, but once I get the rusted thing on, it won’t turn off. The ditch fills and the water rises in the streets. As it reaches my knees, I search for an escape. My old spider web ladder hangs from one of the trees, but now it just sticks to me. Funny, the powers you lose when you leave the Neverland. Angry at my disobediance, the turtles drag me into the ditch I fight them off with boards from the broken swing, and finally resurface on the sidewalk, surrounded by chalk pictures, melting in the rain.


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