Monday, November 06, 2006

The Night We Fell

The worldwide votes have been tallied and I'm very proud to announce that it appears that The Night We Fell has just been awarded the title of most beautiful and moving short story ever written.

I want to thank everyone who made this possible. Chiefly me for actually writing it but also every writer ever born for failing to write a more beautiful and moving one.

From the archives - January 20, 2006:

The Night We Fell

The children ran with fire in the night, up and down the shore of the lake--tiny, giggling streaks of light. Molly and I sat on our deck in folding chairs, holding hands as we watched them play.

"From here," Molly said in her soft voice. "You almost forget they're children."
And it was magical that she'd said that just then, because I'd been thinking the very same thing.
"They could be angels for all we know." Molly continued. "Or some new, amazing species of bird."
(Well okay, maybe we hadn't been thinking the exact same thing--I'd been thinking something more like Angry Villagers, but close enough for love and stuff.)

Molly rubbed my knuckles with her thumb and I knew she was happy.
"Know what I mean?"
I shrugged. She couldn't see it in the dark but the rustle of my shirt gave it away and I'd done it enough times over the years for her to catch the move. She laughed lightly.
"You know what I mean--you just think it's manly to pretend not to."
I dismissed that statement with a very grumpy snort but met her thumb with the tip of my own so she'd always know I cared.

"Let's join them Molly." I proposed after some time had passed. "I think there's some sparklers in the shed. Let's light those sparklers and run crazy in the night."

Her hand went rigid in mine and I knew I'd said something wrong. A moment later I remembered she had no legs--which was just a truly absurd thing to forget. I mean, for Pete's Sake, in half our wedding pictures you can see the stack of apple crates she'd been placed upon to bring our eyes at least close to level.
Senility's a real fuck in the mind sometimes.

"I'm sorry Molly." I whispered. "I keep forgetting you have no legs."
"I know you do." She replied. "It's one of the reasons I love you."
I sat up abruptly, a wild grin spreading across my craggy face. "We're doing it anyway." And I tottered off to get the sparklers.

It had been years since I'd lifted her but I put that from my mind. I had already fetched the sparklers by then, which was easily thirty steps and back, and at my age you don't ever want to waste perfectly good strides.

We were halfway to the lake when the stroke hit. I dropped as if shot but managed to safely cradle Molly as we fell. I'd have probably minded the pine cones digging into my spine a lot more if I could have actually felt my spine.
"Run for help Molly." I managed to groan. "I think it's the big one now."
A second later I had to laugh at myself, though it came out as more of a whimper.
"God, I'm such an idiot."
She dragged herself over, propped her elbows on my chest and kissed me for a very long time.
"Yes, you are." She replied. "But in the very best way."

And a man can't do better than that. And even if he could--why on earth would he want to?

The children ran with fire in the night--tiny giggling streaks of light. We could see them from where we'd fell. Molly held me as I died.
"How Molly?" I whispered. "How will you make it back the road?"
"Don't worry my dear." She softly replied. "Maybe I'll crawl. Maybe I'll roll."

7 Comments:

At 4:35 AM, Blogger tangled said...

I was unaware of this vote, or I would have voted for this story for certain. As every single one of my six personas. Just because it is so beautiful and moving.
"Maybe I'll crawl. Maybe I'll roll." So poignant. This makes me cry like the sand tigers.

 
At 6:26 AM, Anonymous ATD said...

D-damn you, Latigo F-Flint... if I were a squinty-eyed gunslinger, I would have been forced to challenge you to a duel in the dusty main street of some nameless town west of the Rio Grande, because it ain't proper for a squinty-eyed gunslinger to cry at something so beautiful. Lucky for you, I'm no squinty-eyed gunslinger.

I'll quote from Orwell, because I'm better at that than gunslinging:

"They sye that time 'eals all things,
They sye you can always forget;
But the smiles an' the tears across the years
They twist my 'eart-strings yet!"

@~ATD

 
At 2:19 PM, Blogger Cindy-Lou said...

I don't know who marries a woman with no legs. How is she supposed to cook and clean?

 
At 8:01 PM, Anonymous ATD said...

Wouldn't a loving husband cook and clean for her?

?~ATD

 
At 1:49 AM, Blogger Latigo Flint said...

Hello Tharunya. I checked with my old friend, Kid Relish and he concurred: people with multiple personas are insane.

Your stutter melted my heart ATD. What else can I say?

I know you Cindy-Lou. You don't really mean that.

 
At 5:54 AM, Blogger Helga von porno said...

this was the first Latigo flint story I ever read

 
At 10:12 PM, Blogger Ev said...

How touching. I'd sacrifice my legs if I could have a man like that. I love sparklers. And apple crates.

 

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