From the Desk of the Editor;
Hello and welcome to another great issue of Larks Fiction! We hope you enjoy this exploration of the human experience. Today we are offering poetry and short fiction that is sure to please and astound.
In news we are completely out of our Oklahoma City office. We are now however a homeless media company taking shelter in temporary office space till our loan comes through.
But never fear! We will be having more readers and more reading sessions to help clear out our back log.
Daniel J. Pool
What I Want to Share
By Deng Xiang
People derided you, they said you are obtuse,
That you are dim-witted, so you sniveled
like a child.
But I couldn’t help,
since you have an illness,
And by simply alive, you are meant
to be scoffed
By haughty and patronizing people.
While others have the cravings of wealth and possessions;
The pull of resources will never satiate them,
I forsake all of them, for you,
For you to brave the stigma hung above
And the distance you and I endure
Shall never be eroded through the years
Like acid rain corroding buildings
And statues made with love.
Cracks and fissures in your skin and organs
Shall never belong to you
These fingers, those that remain writers,
Shall produce everlasting recounts
Of your experiences
And to return your dignity
To you, the one who was forsaken.
About the Poet;
Deng Xiang speaks, writes articles, poems and stories while sharing his passion for all things erudite and salient. Mainly, his subsistence comprises of highbrow literature from chemistry to pure mathematics. His appetite for knowledge never ceases, even if he got an accomplishment worth showing off.
George Cranston awoke to incessant pounding on the ceiling above him. It sounded like someone was trying to stake a tent to the floor above their apartment. Briefly wondering about the time, he decided he was too tired to turn over and look at the clock behind him.
Starring at the ceiling, as if he could divine the source of the noise, George hadn’t realized his wife was awake until she spoke. “What in the world is she doing at this hour”?
George tore his gaze away from the ceiling to look at Anessa’s brown eyes. He loved her eyes; it had been the first thing he noticed about her when they met in college seven years ago. He loved her brown eyes, but not the dark pads under them. They were tell-tale signs of the sleep deprivation they’d both had lately. “You know how peculiar old ladies can be sometimes”, he replied back with a smirk. “Maybe she’s trying to build a walking cane for one of her hundred cats?”
“Why does she have to be an old cat lady, we’ve never seen evidence she has one, not to mention a hundred.” Anessa laughed.
“Yeah, but it makes you smile. Besides, we’ve never seen her either…but we know she’s there.” George said pointing to the ceiling. “It’s late though, and you have an early shift tomorrow. It’s not so bad if I’m tired at work, but you’re a nurse. People depend on you.”
Several moments went by before he realized the pounding stopped. “Thank you Mrs. Smith”, George shouted towards the apartment above. As if in reply two more thwacks landed on the floor above before silence once again descended. George once again starred at the most important set of brown eyes in his life and said, “I think tonight’s entertainment is over, you should try going back to sleep.”
Anessa sighed as she looked over her husband’s shoulder, “I can’t … it’s only about ten minutes before I have to get up anyway. I’ll just make a cup of coffee for after my shower.”
As his wife set about her morning routine, George tried once again to fall asleep. He wouldn’t have to be at work for five hours yet.
Two more days would pass before they would hear dear old Mrs. Smith again. This time the Cranston’s were enjoying a day off together when a weird scraping sound came from over their living room. Trying to ignore it George turned up the volume on the movie they were watching, but the sound just grew louder.
“What the heck is she up to?” wondered Anessa. “Did you call the office about the other night honey?”
“Yeah, but the receptionist was a bit weird. She was fine until I told her what apartment we were in, and what Mrs. Smith was up to. Then she started acting like it was a prank call. I tell you babe, you can’t trust kids with jobs like that these days. Just because an old lady looks like a grandmother, doesn’t make her a saint.”
Laughing at his analogy Anessa got up from the couch after stopping the movie. “Well, I guess it’s my turn to deal with them. I’ll show you how it’s done.” Anessa walked over to the phone and smiled at her husband while dialing the number for the management office. “Hello, yes this is Anessa Cranston from 316. I’d like you to hear something.” Anessa held the phone to the ongoing noise above them for a few seconds. “That’s the noise nice old Mrs. Smith is making. I realize she might seem like a nice old lady, but she’s been driving me and my husband crazy with all the noise she’s been making.”
Taking the phone away for a second she looked at George and said,” she’s getting the manager. See honey, I told you I’d take care of it.”
The manager must have picked up the other end because Anessa was listening intently. After a few moments she hung up the phone and returned to the couch by her husband. “The manager said they’d be by in a few minutes to check on Mrs. Smith, so just turn it up a bit more so we can finish this movie”.
George did as his wife wanted and sure enough, a few minutes later they saw a golf cart pull up through their front window. Pausing the movie, they heard two sets of feet climbing the staircase to the apartment above.
They didn’t know what was going on, but George was sure he heard an, “Oh my God” exclamation.
Within five minutes the manager had evacuated the entire building. George and his wife were standing in the manager’s office, as the manager talked to a fireman on the other side of the door. George and Anessa didn’t have long to wonder as the conversation was short.
“Well Mr. and Mrs. Cranston,” she said after rejoining the Cranston’s in her office,” it seems we have a bit of an enigma on our hands. You see Mrs. Smith was the longest residing tenant at this complex, and she paid her rent several years in advance. That’s why the owners never allowed me to rent out her apartment”.
“I would hope not,” said Anessa,” I wouldn’t want to come home from work and find someone else living in my apartment.”
“Rest assured Mrs. Cranston; I would never rent out an occupied apartment. You see, since the owners were so taken with Mrs. Smith, no one’s even set foot up there for over two years.”
This time it was George who interjected, “why do you keep referring to Mrs. Smith in past tense?”
Raising her left eyebrow the manager looked at him and retorted,” this would go a lot quicker if you’d just listen for a moment. As I was saying, since no one’s been up there for so long we were quite surprised to find the whole apartment filled with gas. There must have been a leak behind the stove. The fire department says it will take several hours to clear out and it won’t be safe until the leak is fixed. So I’m sending everyone in the building to the local motel for the weekend. Just show them your I.D. and we’ll have everything taken care of.”
“What about Mrs. Smith,” asked George,” if the apartment was that full of gas… is she ok”?
The manager gave him a strange look before replying, “Mrs. Smith hasn’t been with us the last three years. She died of a major heart attack two years before you moved in… how did you even know her name?”
George and his wife slowly looked at each other and then back to the manager. “The day we moved in there was a knock at the door. When we opened it no one was there, but there was a homemade apple pie and a note that said welcome to your new home – your upstairs neighbor, Mrs. Smith”.
About the Author;
L.G.Wyant lives in Southern California, but commutes via narwhal to Antarctica where he works as a penguin dance instructor.