Fiction, Story

A Furry Terracotta Army

Contact Sheet

”Spark it to life!” said one.
    ”Yes, spark it!” said the other.

    Footsteps dripped against the floor beyond the door. Dripp. Dripp, it sounded; like the sound of water hitting rocks as a river runs, dripping like the water that runs down a house’s roof that first dripped from the clouds or even the crying sky itself.

    ”Pull the switch!”
    ”Yes, pull the switch!”

    The footsteps were closer, just outside the door that emerged like a blurry, brown and solid mirror against the two eyes outside looking for the four eyes inside.
    ”It’s!”

    The footsteps were outside the door now, standing tall just beyond them. And now, now their owner let his hand beat on the door and disturbed the flow of the electricity that fluttered through the cables and power chords and circuits that hung all around the closed in room behind the door.
    ”It’s! It’s! … Ali—”

    ”Dinner time, kids!”
    Everything faded.

    The aliveness. The sparking like the lightning in clouds. All gone. All blurred out as the door was swung open. Just in the very second it all was to be shattered into the sharp lightning shards that would have broken the fabric of the sky, of the heaven, of the clouds, and sent it all roaring down.

    ”Daaaad… Com’on!”

    ”Yeah! Daaad, com’on!”

    ”It was just about to spark to life.”

    ”Yeah! It was just about to..!”

    The man who stood in the doorway looked at the two. His eyes wandered in between them with a smile smouldering on his slightly wrinkled face.
    ”You’ll have to get back to that later.” he said, calmly, ”Dinner’ll be gettin’ cold.”

    ”So will the heart of the teddybear, Dad. He’ll die! Hell, he’ll never be alive!”

    ”Watch your language, son.” cried the two boys’ father. His smile flickered away for a moment but soon ignited its faint flame again.

    He held his ground in the doorway, stood with his arms crossed and with his smile humming like the song of hummingbirds and all their colorful whispering wings.

    ”Yeah, yeah, Dad. We’re comin’! But the electrical currents that just ’bout to set his heart afire will be pulverized and all stopped, turned cold and dead... or,” he continued, whispering quietly, ”...it will have sparked to life and but we not here to see‘t ... And it will be all your fault dad!” he said as he raised his voice again.

    The slightly wrinkled, smouldering smile on the two boys father’s face grew wider and warmer, widening to the warmth of a bonfire, as if the electricity rushing through the room had turned to warmth as he stepped in and as it met with the father’s face.

    ”Of course, kids!” he said, ”And the the electricity will spark into the room and set it afire whole, no? So, what ya do to prevent that, my little crazy scientists?”

    The two brothers looked at each other and wondered for a moment. They gazed into each others’ souls in search for a truth, a lesson they’d learnt a long time ago; just as the lightning that then and now ran through the walls had been installed into their house, just one or a two years ago.

    The younger brother suddenly snapped out of the staring contest that had emerged seamlessly.

    ”The electrical chord!” the younger brother yelled.

    ”Oh, of course…” yelled the other, ”We gotta pull out the lightning chord … aaand ruin the whole experiment.. Why’d you always gotta ruin it all dad..?” he said as they both hauled the lightning chord out of the lightning filled wall where it sizzled and flowed hidden from their sight.

    And the chord was out and rested on the floor in quiet with only a few sparks of lightning shooting out across the invisible but electrical path which threaded and flowed like a current between the two lightning sticks.

    The room was then emptied of any breathing souls and rested that way with only the few and faint sparks, lightning sparks, wandering the fine two lines of the two chords and the two lightning sticks.

    The silence remained, calm and quiet out of existential view, in darkness.
    But then, suddenly, the room came alive.
Not with fire. Neither with unleashed electricity, but with a focused blast as if the pull and current of the lightning had life by its own.
    First, it sparked itself back and forth, each time more intensive, between the two lightning sticks, the two metal sub-chords in the chords. This, until it turned to a steady current which flowed forward, forward, forward and generated but more with every lap around the chord track as it went.

    And then, it sparked to life, as if a kick had been slammed at the chord — perhaps one of lightning that struck it from the walls. Lightning made from only lightning, pure lightning, that now walked hurriedly between the two chords laying across from each other. And the chords moved around the room and sparked electricity into everything it could find and everything it touched.

    The teddybear with the cold heart. The bird with the torn and thrashed feathers. The raccoon with the hungry face. The furry rabbit with the very cute face.

    The room that moments ago had been emptied of all living souls now breathed floating with a whole army of them — like the terra-cotta army come to life, or rather, sparked to life.

    The electricity quickened in a last, bright burst that set all the black pearl eyes of all the furry-fluffy animals and stitched together dolls and everything else afire, glowing and showing all the black pearl pupils shrinking at the seem of the light and then expanding dangerously lifeful when the room fell into a cold, dark void. A void that only if you listened closely could you, barely, hear the breathing of them all. Some breaths shallow, others deep, other short, scorching like autumn leaves whispering on an autumn alley. But all of them breathing — all of them at their own pace until the loudest broke them all.

    "I'm done!" the older boy called out, "Can I go to my room?" he said and looked at both his mom and his dad with his eyes flickering suspenseful in between them both. "Can I— we? Pleeeease, mom and dad!”
    For a second his mom and dad looked at each other with faint smiles glowing on their faces, discussing with merely their eyes the opportunity to get their two sons to eat all their green piles of salad that laid in calm on their plates.

    "Only," said his father, ”only if you two eat all your salad and tomatoes before ya run off.”

    The older brother flicked his head and eyes, from a blind stare at the door which was closed and therefore had frozen the contents beyond its solid veil, toward his father and put his head to the side and looked at him with his eyes like the first snow flakes that fall during winter; wondering, testing their limits for all the other snowflakes to then fall down.

    "But dad." he said in all seriousness. ”Our toys are waiting. They'll miss us, dad. Mom, please, can we run to our room?"

    "Yes," said his mother and for a second both pairs of the brothers’ eyes sparked afire and sparked all their energy, channeled it, down to their legs and readied them both to blast off across the room and straight into their very own room. "But," said his mom and evened the energy that had been built up in the matter of a moment. "first you guys must eat all your greenies. Then, both you can run off!”

    "Done!" the younger brother called out a second later with a gurgling sound. And surely, the plate in front of him was scraped from all green plants without souls and without lungs and all the potatoes and the meat and everything any growing being would need to gather enough of the lightning to spark off to his or her room. And the second later, the older brother called out too.

    Now they both stared at their dad and their mom, one at the time with the same afire eyes and held both their hands at the side of the table, readied to push off and away and shoot to their room at the slightest of 'yes' or 'go'.

    "You can g—"

    And the door to the two brothers’ room was closed behind them with a bang that made the kitchen table rustle with its silver forks and knifes and clinking glasses and plates.

    The entirety of the two brothers’ room rested in a darkness which no light managed to trickle through before the door was slammed open and then shut hastily. Outside the window, the sun had passed far beyond the horizon and in the room the only light was the few lightning lamps that hung from the roof, but dead and resting calmly and darkly in the darkness only they, and the sun, could sublimate.

    The only sound that could be heard was the faint breathings, not from the boys but from someone else, something else, that somewhere in the room moved its arms from side to side, or rested its back against the wall, or hid under a bed in the intense darkness nothing would or could escape from — not even its own breathes.

    With the flick of his hand, the older brother had set the roof afire with the one, two, three, four lamps bursting like supernovas in a dark and quiet space. The light casted itself on the walls, the floor, the roof above, and all the toys all around; the same way as they had been left. Or ... that is all but one — the biggest of all toys and the furry animals and all else that laid scattered like corpses on a war field with some oozing out venomous steaming from their eyes, but this all invisible to the worn eye of humans.

    The boys took no notice about the missing furry monster with a face like a tarantula, perhaps did they not even notice that the place were it had sat besides the older brother’s bed every night for the last seven or six years were left cold.

    The younger boy took a little train that laid faceless on the spurling carpet in his hands and for only a second stared straight into its cold face as his face wrinkled as if it had bitten into the core of a lemon. But he then simply laced the little train fastened to the train standing in front of it on the track while his brother walked over to the chord in the wall and sparked the electricity in the chords, that had only now died out, back to life; back to a humming and whispering life.

    ”Damn dad always ruins all the fun.” murmured the older brother. ”Why he always gotta come on in here, into our room, and disturb the experiments with pointless things like dinner.”

    ”But Sam, ya gotta eat or you gonna die!”

    ”Nah, I don’ believe none of that. I bet ya I would go a week ‘out dinner and be the same, I bet my life on it.”

    If you had laid your ear in the direction of the bed with the furry animal monster missing, you could have heard the faint and careful mumbling — like that of a butterfly’s wings across a quiet meadow with swaying barely — and static laughter of hawks with it.

    ”You heard that?” whispered the younger brother.

    ”Yeah, sure did I hear it.”

    ”You for sure?”

    ”Yeah, I for sure. But ain’t that you?”

    ”No, ain’t me, wasn’ you..?”

    ”It ain’t me, thats for sure.”

    Through the walls of the room a sudden burst of lightning hummed like that of a gigantic hummingbird. And this flow made the two chords spark and the chord in the wall spark, and the entire room burst with blue-orange electricity floating upon the walls as if they had been turned to water and that a rod of lightning had struck down on them.

    ”What the...”

    In this humming light that floated around the room a darkness flickered back and forth, there one second and gone the next. And in this flicker something moved, moved in each flicker making it seem as if it had never moved but actually been still and inanimate all along. From under the bed; now enlightened with fiery lightning turning it from darkness, to its place besides the bed, to the floor, to the door, all around, always breathing.

    Then the sparking of lightning and the flicker of it all fell into silence and darkness. But not before something covered the light whole, a walking statue, a walking doll, a come alive fluffy animal, like a one man army, a one man terra-cotta army, with fur in between its claws and stuffing and fur around its teeth and face. This, come alive.

Viktor Aronsson

Read more posts by me.

Stockholm, Sweden

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