Flash Frenzy, round 34

Prompt: http://theangryhourglass.wordpress.com/2014/09/06/flash-frenzy-round-34/comment-page-1/

The old turtle had told Warren to look inside himself for answers, but it hadn’t told him how. He tried that night with the X-Ray specs he’d ordered from Amazing Tales magazine, but all he saw were some blurry bumps that could have been – might have been – bones. Or blood vessels. He tried the next day in school, but his hand didn’t really fit in the microscope. That weekend, he tried using the mirror in the bathroom, with the flashlight he’d stolen from his father stuck in his mouth. But the flashlight tasted like dirt and plastic, and he couldn’t see anything with his head tilted back like that.

Warren couldn’t as his mother for the answer. Boys didn’t talk to their mothers about things like this, and he didn’t know where she was, anyway, having left home one day to go to the store and not come back. He also knew he couldn’t ask his father. His father was why Warren had gone to find the old turtle in the first place, out in the woods behind the mill, that day when he’d skipped school to let the bruises on his face heal just a bit.

It was cold and wet on the day that Warren went back to the woods. He didn’t know where the answer was, but he knew he had to find it today, or he might not make it to tomorrow. The turtle was gone, because that was how things like this worked, although there had to be more than one kind of magic in the world, right?

When darkness came, Warren laid down under the branches of an evergreen. He was cold and sore and wet, but in his dreams, he felt no pain, and had no welts, had no bruises. The sun coming in from the east warmed him, and he woke up to see the snail. Warren had never met the snail, but he knew who it was, and when the snail retracted inside its shell, he climbed up to look into its depths.

As he felt his fingers wrap around the cold steel, Warren knew the old turtle had been right.


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