Hey kids, gather around the fire and grab yourself some hot cocoa, it’s time for the first official installment of serial fiction from our new Featured Author, Philly’s own favorite daughter of Wildhope, Martha Curren-Preis. Come on let’s make some noise! Alright, alright, settle down, shhh, shhhhhh, okay, here comes the story, everyone comfortable? Okay…Martha? Take it away.
Once there was a girl named Lily who lived in an apartment with green walls. She owned many things, most important of which was a soft pink tea kettle with black and silver trim. It whistled when ready, a high bright noise that moved her more than books or stencils or tangerines, that reminded her of other kitchens where she’d spent Sunday mornings with her mother, who herself hated the noise but let it go because she knew that Lily liked it. Lily drank tea every day, and sometimes even twice a day. Her favorite was Earl Grey. It reminded her of hardware stores: bitter and metallic, an old taste.
As Lily drank, she sat by her window and watched how shadows split the walls. She’d thought it would be different here in the city where she could walk for food, digging up and under and through people who seemed to sprout from the very sidewalk cracks. We can count, she thought. We can sing and sigh and rocket like flower tops stiff-necked towards the sun. She had a plant with brown leaves that shed into the pages of her book. Residue stained the words the wrong color, rusting them inaccurate: “love” tinted brown; “baby” made red. She wove the leaves into a brittle wreath–though later, Dr. Flock took that also. “Water me,” he said, holding the wreath above her head. Lily thought there was nothing for it but to try again, pushing forward inch by inch until there emerged something new and self-changing, something she didn’t know would be so large and so necessary that without it she herself would splinter and brown. And then there were the times she’d push out something quite different, something so monstrous she wished she could eat back the seconds, suck them in again in order to, at the least, garner some comfort from the anticipation that had preceded the push. Lily thought she’d cry, that she’d just break down right there by the window thinking about it.
Now wasn’t that fun? Alright everyone, time for Uncle Fort Saint Davids to get you kids to bed. But be sure to be here tomorrow for the next installment! See you then!