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Crushed Butterfly Wings (excerpt)
by Nicola R.

…Splintered like broken glass across the milky grey cement and made the sidewalk sparkle. The wind carried icy shards of purple-tinted sky that caused the potted cactus to shrivel to yellow and bend like it was sad. The orange chipped door had shrunk so that it matched the dilapidated triangle window. Surrounding the house was a yellowstone gravel garden where pieces of pottery protruded from the ground. The butterfly’s spidering veins stretched to a ten-foot extension of concrete that cut through the front yard and created a path to the jagged front step.
...Here, on the crisp January day, lay three amethyst-eyed, small, white kittens on the doorstep. Their meows sounded like bells as a man wearing a clean white dress suit rode up to the house on a silver-plated, silver-rimmed, miniature bicycle. He was whistling a jazzy tune from forty-five years ago and sported a silver curled moustache made from two paper clips carefully tacked to his upper lip. Riding at a pleasant pace, he occasionally nodded his head and tipped his silk hat at the leafless birch trees.
.....His brakes screeched as he stopped his bike a few yards away from the house; he slid off and let it levitate a few inches off the sidewalk. As he walked toward the house, his patent shoes clicked with each swanky step. He only stopped to lift his pant leg as he consciously avoided the dead insect spread beautifully across the pavement.
.....Now on the doorstep, after removing one lace glove, he reached down his porcelain pink hand to the felines that encircled his ankles. Their meows harmonized with his whistle, and one by one, the kittens jumped and stacked themselves onto the palm of his large hand. With the other arm, he peeled one paper clip off his skin and jiggled it into the scraggly keyhole near the middle of the scraggly door. With five jiggles the door swung open, revealing a black void of a room. He walked in; however, the click of his patent shoes, the meows of the cats, and his whistle were no longer projected. Rather, every noise that would have potentially been made was expressed as a flickering fluorescent glow in the dark. The words “Delivery” floated from the man’s lips in the italized old English script, “Delivery for Ms…”
.....The words “Welcome, this way,” floated towards him before he could finish his sentence. His giant legs took giant steps through the nothingness.

[To read the rest of “Crushed Butterfly Wings,” please order a copy of the current issue.]