among the leaves
Midnight at Land’s End
She leaned against the door frame, her shirt hanging loosely, soaked and stained. The remnants of her eyeliner trailed down her cheeks.
“What happened to-” he said, pausing as he saw her gaze up with eyes quiet and lost.
Her head sagged and she found herself in his embrace.
“Please,” she whispered, “break my fall.”
Two Lines to Elsewhere
Nobody noticed that Sticks was missing. He didn’t say much and his figure was small and somewhat insubstantial; as a result, most of the children accidentally tripped over him rather than greeting him. The phrase “watch out for Sticks” was often spoken to someone slipping out of bed at night to retrieve or deposit something. Tholamew once tried to name him “picayune,” though everyone agreed that the word was much too long and complicated.
“Sabotoge,” shouted Tholamew. He paced back and forth, shaking his thick hair with his hands. Between him and the front door stood the others, each tending to their clothes. Charlie’s arms were wrapped around himself, and though he looked the least wet he had begun to shiver. Bones hit a derby against his thigh to clear it of condensation, and Mike had begun to pull off his shoes. Matt “Stacka” Wood had the front of his linen shirt in his hands and was flapping it up and down, revealing a pale round stomach with each motion. Jay the Rope had his arms crossed and was leaning against the doorway with a frown on his face, staring outside.
A Person in a Name
Thomas stared down at the chipped plate that held his food. There was a wash of eggs, fluffy and golden, next to a thick mass of crudely cut and grilled potatoes. Something wet leaked from beneath the eggs and made its way slowly toward the pieces of potato.
Thomas swung his feet, which only just reached the ground of the long bench that served as his seat. He chewed quietly on his lower lip, his front teeth sticking out just a bit from years of the habit. He dug a fork into the eggs and came away with a chunk, though he only set it back down and looked around through tired eyes.
The Long Train
A loud horn awoke Matilda. The skin around her eyes was red and swollen and she winced as she rubbed them. The room trembled and she heard only the soft sounds of breathing from the beds near her own.