BY: Hunter M.
I have stopped everything. I sit, head bowed watching my fingers lace and unlace and lace again with each other, on the floor. A dark wooden floor withered, dented, and scuffed with time. Dark holes found home in every other board, some too small to fit the most miniscule grain of sand, some big enough to act as an entrance to cockroaches or the occasional small mouse. I heard a quiet whistle, almost too quiet. If this little abandoned shack wasn't deep in the woods away from any and all sounds, I might have not heard it. The wind blew outside, sending the snow flurries into a complicated dance just outside the grime coated window. I didn't feel the cold, though, which came to a surprise as I was only wearing a lacy bra and my favorite black panties with an innocent pink bow on them.
I stopped singing. I stopped writing. I stopped life. I ran from my house, from the world's never diminishing problems, only to find myself stumbling through the woods in a haze. I wasn't controlling myself, it must be some greater force. I don't even recognize my voice when I whisper for the hungry, sporadic little mouse to shoo. I watch as it's frail body, ribs jutting from under it's sick, delicate fur, twitches away and disappears in one of the countless holes in the floor.
I wish I knew why my feet lead me here, but that, like my stranger's voice, is still a mystery to me. Maybe I was brought here as a reminder- a reminder of what could be but never will be. I could end up like the lonely, crazed hermit that died alone in this worn shack, talents wasting away. Paintings, masterpieces of sorts, hung on the dusty walls around me while most of the man's work is stacked in unkempt piles. A reminder that my talents could deteriorate in a shack much like this one. My sheets of unsung, unplayed music could collect dust in similar unkempt stacks like this man's. My dreams, no matter how far fetched, could be buried alive in the dust cloak like the hermit's.
So I stand up, my knees creaking from the lapsed stillness, and pull on my sweater and jacket, my jeans then finally, my boots. I push open the crooked front door despite its protests and march out, ready to face whatever the world throws at me and knowing, no matter what, that I'm going to marvel in my talent, embrace it. And I'm prepared to always keep a duster in my back pocket as a reminder to never let my talent sit neglected, untapped, and collecting dust.