|Stu Barnes, Jamie Douglas
I ran along the power lines, easily jumping over where it connected to the telephone pole. I was above the world, among the birds and the sky. The people rushed through their lives below, never looking to the majestic blue/grey sky or even gazing at the glassy sun. I laughed and squealed as the birds flew from my path. I ran far from the city with its faces and metal machines. I ran toward the woods, toward the greener world until a tiny dwelling caught me eye, my coat was flapping in the gentle wind.
It was a cute little house, with a white fence out front. A quaint street that lead to the rough driveway; I peered in with wonder at the obscure people moving about inside. The woman came out with a tray; she looked first to the left then to the right before intently smiling up at me. I cocked my head at her, why did she stare at me? She spoke some words to me, but I didn’t hear her. She lifted her tray to me and I saw the food she had prepared. I shook my head, so she set it on the front steps and withdrew.
As night fell I shimmied down the pole and across the street. I tip toed toward the wooden steps, slipping between the shadows. I shifted the hat on my head and looked down the street before holding the sandwich. I crouched on the last step and concentrated on the darkening sky. I heard a noise inside the house and turned to see a light in the window. I gripped my bag and began to run back across the street. I was halfway up the pole when she made it to the window to peer out at me.
I was up on top when she was at the door, calling back to me. I stood mounted on the pole as she screamed up at me. She seemed to think I would be shocked by the lines. It was simple; after the last bald eagle died, the lines were coated to be safe for birds to land. There was no harm in the natural world. I began to walk along the lines, distancing myself from the cottage. I soon heard the wail of cars and the lights trailing behind me. I looked back at them and ran faster.
I stopped and stood still on one of the poles. I squinted down the line, there was fire truck chilling in the road. I looked behind; the other cars were closing in. I slowed down but kept walking toward the people. They were closing in on me, watching me. I stopped and my eyes widened, this was the end. The cable dipped from the last pole toward the lonely house and the road continued along without its companion. I turned back to retrace but the people had lifted grand beams toward the cables.
I stood atop the pole in the middle; the last pole to my left and the firefighter’s pole to my right. The faces called out to me, reaching their hands toward my body. I turned my face from them and adjusted my hat. I looked longingly toward the expanse that stretched beyond my grasp. Their faces with fear and anticipation reached for mine but I was above them, I lifted my eyes to the horizon and didn’t let them pull me back toward their screaming metal monsters and their ugly faces.