On the Brittle Edge of Understanding by Kelly Grotke

They left that morning before the dew had vanished in the blue summer heat. She’d tied her friend to a fencepost behind the house where the two brothers lived, talking all the while and telling him to be good and promising treats and walks and all manner of good things if he would just please wait there for her return, because cultural knowledge is passed on in elusive little ways after all, and a child’s mind is like a border town in which improbable scenes can and most certainly will take place.

She’d skipped yesterday but here they were picking sides again for another day’s war, two tiny generals and we have become their armies, but it was summer and she wasn’t bored yet and besides they’d all been told to be nice to them for living alone with their mother and coming here after some great tragedy that no one would ever explain. So into the woods now, half north, half south and they’d meet in the middle for the ambushes and taking prisoners and sort out who won after the major battles had ended or when they just got tired because no mortal can play even a great game forever.

Hiding low in the underbrush, she saw one of the brothers untie the dog and yank him toward the woods, a prisoner. But then the dog broke free and only hours later when he still hadn’t come home did she begin to cry and regret her initial enthusiasm.


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13 responses to “On the Brittle Edge of Understanding by Kelly Grotke

  1. Oh, I love this! Beautifully done!

  2. Kelly

    thank you very much, Susan

  3. guy

    Your sentences turn me around and around. I’m still somewhere in the woods. I like that about your writing. I also like that there’s a consequence without moralising.

    I’m hearing that Peter Gabriel song from the melty face album.

    • Kelly

      thanks, Guy – I appreciate your observations, your descriptions. And the Peter Gabriel reference – yes, rather like that, hehe

  4. wonderful writing, pulled me right in. would like you to join us at the kaffe in katmandu – send me your email in a note and don’t forget to mention your own email or else i cannot contact you.

  5. This was almost like a fairy tale. I really enjoyed this and the way the theme recurred throughout the story.

  6. Great story, complex and lyrical. Nice use of the theme, too.

  7. i agree with everyone. it was twisty and surreal yet visual and clear all at the same time.

    • Kelly

      thanks, Len – in a way, that pretty much encapsulates the dual orientation of my perceptual apparatus. Or something, hehe. Glad you got that from the writing!

  8. Pingback: Week #37 – Border town | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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