Film Phreak here, offering another submission from one of our readers. We’re publishing one submission per week. When we have collected enough submissions, we will publish a book of all the winning submissions. Winners will receive a copy of the book. Up to three submissions are welcome in any publishable medium – essays, short stories, novellas, excerpts from novels or screenplays, art, photos, poetry, prose poetry, etc.
Zaxxon Q. Blaque’s “Charlie and the Forest Oysters” is a dark, disturbing sliver of microfiction that almost functions as a longish prose poem a la Julio Cortazar or Russell Edson, with a horror bent, of course.
No more delay. Here is this week’s submission for the upcoming Blood Shed anthology book.
Charlie and the Forest Oysters
By Zaxxon Q. Blaque
Charlie was a simple man who liked to collect. Living deep in the forest, in a rickety old shack that he built himself from the remnants left behind by the tall wooden inhabitants, there wasn’t much else to do besides collect. His favorite thing to collect was pearls from the forest oysters.
He would skulk through the woods and train his ears on the sounds that the forest oysters would make. They usually weren’t hard to find since they were often very loud and huddled in groups. When Charlie would pounce out from the foliage, they would scatter as fast as they could. More times than not, there was at least one that wasn’t as fast as the others. With an old rusted hammer in hand, he would chase it down and try to corner the slow forest oyster. Once he was close enough, Charlie would swing as hard as he could to crack its top shell open. When the forest oyster stopped moving, he would turn it over to collect its treasures. Usually, he’d have to force it open so wide that it would break the hinge and lay flat.
The first thing Charlie would do is cut out the wet, slimy meat in the middle to eat later. It was the best food the forest had to offer. He heard that you could eat it raw, and sometimes he did right on the spot since it was better fresh, but he liked to cook it over an open fire the best. After collecting the meat, he would then proceed to remove all the pearls. Sometimes, if he was lucky, he’d come across a brilliantly shiny one or even one that was the color of the sun! They were so pretty to look at that it would take his mind off of the hardships of living alone in the woods.
When Charlie was finished hunting, he would return to his home with the spoils of the day. He would add the forest oyster meat to one of the many jars where he kept it preserved for later consumption. Then, he would walk over to a small, grimy antique bathtub, the kind with the clawed feet, and toss in the pearls that he collected to the thousands of white gems he had already gathered over the years.
Sometimes, after a hunt, Charlie would grab a few pearls from the collection and head over to a wall where he had hung up a dirty, cracked mirror. He would smile as wide as he could, cracking his chapped white lips and exposing his red puffy gums. He would take the pearls, one by one, and shove them into the irritated, squishy tissue, decorating the milky smooth whites with small streaks of crimson. Once he was finished, he would smile once again and admire his new look while thinking, “Now, I’m as beautiful as the forest oysters!”
“Charlie and the Forest Oysters” copyright 2015 by Brad Sharp
Notify me of follow-up comments by email.
Notify me of new posts by email.