Impact – The Fire In Your Eyes

 

Life happens so fast. We seldom stop to think about how our actions affect other people. We don’t realize that doing or saying something that’s minor to us has the ability to change someone’s life forever. One should always think about the impact that can be made on this world and the people in it and not be afraid to leave their mark, even in unexpected places.

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It’s Halloween. A bone chilling wind howls through the air. Little Danny’s arms are beginning to hurt from a full tote bag of candy. There’s just one more house on the block to go to before heading home.

Danny walks eagerly up the brick stone steps as his father watches under the orange glow of the street lamp behind. He raises his small, pale hand. His knock is timid. The door swings open.

“Trick or treat!”

“Well, look at you.” The muscular man smiled. “Looks like that firefighter helmet’s a bit big.”

Danny adjusted it, revealing the front of his fire red hair. Innocent blue eyes stared straight through the man, to the silver candy filled bowl behind him.

“There, now I can see you.” The man chuckled. “Do you want to be a fireman when you grow up?”

“Well, I did, but…but…”

“But what?”

“But the kids at school were all making fun of me. They said I look stupid in my coat. That I could never put out a fire because my hair would just set it off again.”

The man motioned Danny’s father over.

“Well, that’s not true at all. Look at me.” Watery eyes stared up as the man pointed to his buzzed orange hair. I’ve put out hundreds of fires and saved hundreds of lives. If you want to be a firefighter, you can be the best one there ever was. “

“You’re a firefighter?” Danny’s eyes opened wide like the sky. The man nodded.

“Rick.” Danny’s father extended his hand.

“John,” the man shook strong.

“It looks like your son has enough candy to last him a long time. I’ve got something better.”

“What could be better than candy?” Danny said with sincere curiosity.

“You’ll see. Here, come in from the cold for a moment.” He ushered them to the warm foyer. “I’ll be right back.” He ran up the spiral staircase.

Rick shrugged at Danny and helped unzip his rubber yellow coat. Seconds later, John came rushing down the stairs like a kid headed for the tree on Christmas morning. “Here.” He bent to hand Danny a picture.

“What’s this?” Danny asked.

“You see that woman holding her baby?” Danny looked down at the glossy image. He could see a woman hugging her baby, who was covered in soot. John was in the background, dressed in full gear, smiling. “This is my favourite picture,” he said. “I saved that baby from a burning apartment and returned her to her mom.”

“Wow!” Danny’s innocent blue eyes lit up like sparking sapphires. “Wait, but if I take it, you won’t have it anymore.”

“Your son is quite a gentleman. How old are you, Danny?”

“Eight.”

“Well, Ocho Dan.” The boy furrowed his brow. Rick smirked. “I have plenty of copies. Whenever I’m unsure of myself, or question why I do the job I do, I look at this picture. That’s all I need to know that I’m doing the right thing.”

“Cool.” His helmet almost fell, sitting crooked on his head. “Can you sign it?”

“I’d love to.” He pulled a red sharpie from his pant pocket like a magician would a nickel. “I wasn’t planning on it, though.” He winked at Rick.

“Thank you so much!” Danny said as he took the freshly autographed picture back.

“You’re very welcome.”

Rick checked his watch. “We should get going now.”

“Thanks again!” Danny’s grin spread from cheek to cheek. John waved.

When they got home, Rick gave Danny a frame. He put the picture on a nightstand next to his bed.

————————————————————————————————————

The towers were hit. As Clouds of smoking chaos filled the air above, swarms of terrified people scrambled on the streets below. He had never seen anything like it. Nobody had.

Beads of sweat lifted the dirt from his cheeks as they trickled down to the ashy floor. He scanned from left to right and heard it again.

“Help!” the piercing shriek echoed down the corridor of the 75th floor. He bolted down the hall as if his heavy suit were made of feathers.

“Hello?” he yelled. A horrifying scream stung his ears. There were no words behind the terror. He found her lying under a fallen desk, leg crushed beneath. Without a moment’s hesitation, he summoned his inner Hulk and moved the heavy wooden desk just enough to free her shattered limb.

“I’m going to pick you up.” His assuring voice slowed her tears. “Ready? Three, two, one.” She recoiled in pain as he placed her upon sturdy shoulders. As he ran down the hall he motioned to three petrified adults huddled in a corner. “Let’s go!” They all headed for the stairs.

Every step posed a new challenge, but instinct motivated him to push on. By the time he stepped to ground level, the other building had fallen to the ground like a sand castle, dusty and destroyed by the tide. It took mere minutes to locate a vacant ambulance. When he did, the woman couldn’t stop thanking him. He nodded and turned around. Dark blue eyes stared up at the burning anarchy before him, reflecting the fire. He took a deep breath and moved forward.

“Wait!” a concerned voice reached out to him. “You dropped this.”

The man turned around to see the picture of a mother and her baby in her hands.

“Thanks,” he said.

“I never got your name…”

“Danny.” He stared at the picture for a moment, put it back in his jacket, and vanished back into the carnage.

—–

Dave Maze is an author, teacher, musician, and avid fan of rainsticks (mmm…tranquility). To read more about him visit www.mazetheauthor.com

Cormac’s Meridian

I’m a huge fan of Cormac McCarthy.. in that I went from never having heard of him to reading two of his in four days. The guy can really write, and his style is gripping, to say the least. I have yet to see No Country for Old Men so I didn’t know what to expect from the author, but my good friend Will lent me Blood Meridian and I couldn’t put it down.

Pretty much.

Firstly, I will say, this book is not for everyone. It’s got Tarantino-esque levels of violence and gore, tons of racism, and hilarious dialogue. It follows a troubled boy fighting his way across America into Mexico in the late 1800’s with a band of marauders, killing and scalping just about everything that can be either killed or scalped. Nothing is sacred, and if you think you’re immune to the rule of “kill-n-scalp”, you don’t know Glanton (the gang’s leader). They also happen to be travelling with the devil, who is a total badass and about seven feet tall. His course is slowly but surely dragging each man into the pit of their own sins, and my does he do it well. Things take a turn for the less refined. As I said, this book is not for the faint of heart. However, stylistically it is a beautiful creation. Mr. McCarthy really knows how to tell a story, and the voice of the narrative (while it does verge on the poetic) is so strong and convincing that, whether you want it or not, you’re drawn right into the horrific scenes. You are forced to follow this doomed brigade through the decay of the American dream. It’s astounding and beautiful, and I’d recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a well-written, incredibly violent adventure story.

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~Sam Scrimger

The Lonely Poet’s Wife

As he sits in a writer’s daze

His pen flows across the page

Wandering from thought to thought

-

It’s all for the thrill of the chase

With these dreams he’ll race

Not caring if the thoughts get caught

-

“It’s a circle of not knowing

If I’m coming or going.”

He says with a nervous smile

-

“I can adapt to change

When the world’s estranged.

I’ve been doing it for a while.

-

She crept in my heart like a disease

& she could kill me if she pleased

But in a way she saved my life.”

-

She is of beauty and of wonder

Like the lightening and the thunder

She is the lonely poet’s wife

-

“& when she said to me,

‘Please just leave me be’,

I’ve often tried to replace her

-

Empty one night stands

Can’t compensate the emotional demand

I’ll never rest without her.”

-

As the lonely poet sits

His heart seized up in fits

He prays to see her smile

-

He’s still in the realm of not knowing

Whether he’s coming or going

But he knows he’ll be a lone for a while

-

He’s begged upon his knees

He’s tried so hard to please

His teacher and his bride

-

But when the sky falls down

& no hope is to be found

He has no where left to hide

-

“To run from her is a sin…”

A pause as he begins

To justify his mistakes

-

“I’m trying to avoid the pain

I’ve felt time and time again

When she causes my heart to break.

-

It may sound absurd

The way I justify my love for her

But she’s the only love I’ve had.”

-

These words were written

By a poet not tear stricken

But in his heart he’s sad

Born and raised in Toronto, Eli Jakeman started writing poetry twenty-five years ago.   Nowadays,  he is concentrating on his podcast and stand-up comedy.

Widdershins Lit, Spain/Morocco-Based Hiatus

A fond hello to all you lit and Toronto fans, hope all is swell and interesting in your lives! A quick heads up, my lovely girlfriend and I are going to be touring Spain and Morocco for the next month and a half, and I will be pausing Widdershins until the May edition. So form up your verses, find a bar to critique, and do another edit on your short stories, for I can’t wait to read them! Cheers and luck in all things,

~Sam Scrimger
Editor in Chief
Widdershins Lit

On Hatred

Bradley Soileau with a gun?

Have you ever charged into the beginning section of a story and realized that you absolutely despise every character and what they’re about? It’s an odd feeling, especially if it comes after a benchmark idea or foreshadowing that makes you want to read more. I finished Live Flesh by Ruth Rendell during lunch breaks and I had the oddest sensation of wanting to put the book down every couple of paragraphs, combating this overwhelming urge to figure out what the hell is actually going on in this guy’s head and how it is all inevitably going to come crashing down. It’s a story about a rapist who gets out of prison and doesn’t understand why the world treats him poorly. Each line makes you cringe as you’re forced to follow his thought processes, and it’s murder to finally understand Mr. Jenner’s motivations (dun dun). The parents are horrible, the phobia is a nightmare, and the “good guys” are tools. I hated the book, but at the same time it was really good. As an aside, Ruth Rendell is this British grandmother type, writing about horrific mental processes. It’s boggling and stunning.

I had a similar experience reading Vernon God Little, wherein I just hated the main character and every other character and ever scene and all events, but was quite taken with the story and the narrative style. Conflict just drives you to read the book, because if it’s compelling enough, you know that your mind will be eased (if only slightly)by the awaited completion of the winding, nauseating tale. There are readers out there with stronger stomachs than I, holding out for the amazing narrative style and character building, but I can say that I really struggle when I see the cover of the book poking out of my bag and knowing that I’m about to hate something that’s well written, and compelling enough to pull me in. Against my better judgement, I know I’m going to read on.

~Sam Scrimger