The Running Child


The One in Six different pieces felt: “I blink & stare a bit. My vision goes foggy and vague. I guess I look kind of zappy. Give that whatever meaning you like, “zappy”.

So it takes a while to adjust, always. I blink and look around at the blue sky- its slightly darker than I know. I’m wearing a red dress, my hair’s short and very curly, and I’m smiling. I’m laughing with my head thrown back and my arms back, bent backwards, almost touching the gravel of the stony path that I stand on. There’s a green grassed over hill next to me- “the bowl” they called it- and the sun is a few degrees over the horizon. I am 6 years old.

She ran and ran, jumping and twisting in the air as if she could walk on it. Her hair wriggled about, and she probably wasn’t really thinking anything, just feeling. Feeling light, feeling almost weightless, feeling the wind, feeling feeling, feeling  free.


grassy smells whiffle around, like heavy invisible smoke-snakes; sometimes they get caught by her feet and tossed up into the air, until they surround her like an invisible cage of smokiness, following her around. It left a smell of cigarettes on the red dress that Amma (mom in Bengali) would complain about later, while doing the washing.

Was she really happy as light? Did she even know what being happy meant?

*@#$%&!! It was breaking. Cracking at the seams. The place, the sky. The world. No.

The little girl watched as dark angry lines appeared everywhere, on the sky, on the clouds, through the trees, even crystallizing in the air. The setting sun seemed to have a cracked angry face- angry at the cracking sky, cracking at the blackening hills.

Black lines whirled around the invisible smoke-smell –outlining their round spiraling fluffiness in angry dark angles and scribbles. Suddenly everything was grey and paper-ish. Like a water colour painting where only the dress was painted, and her hair – black , and her skin brown- everywhere else was something else grey, faded, and papery and vanishing.

Argh. It hurt to be here.

So just like that, the little girl in the red dress was gone. Disappeared, to somewhere else entirely. Else. Forever. Or not.

I stood there, surveying the nightmarish world. Why did I do this? Why did I even destroy the Day Dreams that came my way?
I blinked again, staring at the little 2-D screen. My hands were shaking. The cinnamon cake was crumbled to pieces. I shuddered.
The thoughts came again. Not that they weren’t there in that day dream. Just not as noticeable, if you know what I mean.
So I said it- them- the words anyway “No. Never. Don’t. Nope. No. Uh-uh. No!”

like a wall between my fears and I.”
gray 2

About theshadowsofthenight

An amateur writer and amateur artist :)
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