The Night Charlie Passed

January 31, 2015 - Short Story

The Night Charlie Passed – A Short Short By Kelly D. Tolman
Waiting for Spring is a long time since chrome flew and landed in the blue on the other side of purple.  The light on the wump cousins differed from the needle-sticker lamps more than Los Angeles differs from Chicago.  Since the pills, though, the wumps do not come and the wump-leader does not laugh with Charlie.  Only sitting and rebuilding, within the needle-sticker softness, mean, and move time to time, or wear hats.  Perhaps Charlie can visit in the Spring and drink the pill free air while the wumps play in the sun.
The needle-stickers say Charlie passed away when the Rolls jumped.  The car fell sixteen stories, or about that from a building in Los Angeles.  After that the needle-stickers seem to have lost the license plate in the fog until even the building has blown away.  How the wumps will manage to get a car through the door before visiting in the Spring is rather confusing.
The wumps are pondering now, with their dark hats pulled low covering their glowing faces from the prying fingers of the moon.  Four of them pull, and scrape the paint from the Rolls Royce, chewing the silver siding while the last laughs and tinkles the starlight.  Charlie goes into the garage, wearing his driving gloves and hat, smiling and breathing the fumes of Sherry.  Some of the purple wears off on the silver.  The wumps get involved personally.
The purple bodies will press the silver clanger into the street, and eventually up the elevator.  They will be strong and fast, and well timed, so that although Charlie will believe he has finally tamed the silver beast he will really only be entering the mystified trance the needle-stickers will call passing away.  The wumps will guide the flashing metal to the high up place where sixteen different stories will be told by the wumps to pacify the needle-stickers into forgetting the pains caused by the pills.  The car will scream and fall; Spring will arrive, and the needle-stickers will go.
But Charlie was mad, wine-mad or red-mad before the passing-mad or awa-mad that holds him now.  The wumps were also mad; red-mad or fight-mad, and when he flew over the edge into the emptiness of the dead city an odd smile crossed his bent nose.  The Rolls shot in crystalline glory from the window where the wumps laughed, and Charlie’s teeth glittered in the night.  The wump cousins, dressed in blue and wrapped in red and yellow light found Charlie cased in silver.   Confused, they waited and the wump leader mixed purple and silver until the needle-stickers came and washed their white on Charlie.  A sheet or a blanket or paint washed them and the wumps went away until Spring.
Until now, the after now of the needle-stickers, the wump leader sits, wrapped in purple perfection, repeating the chant that leads the drive, waiting for Spring.  Her golden tresses have rubbed into purple, where remembering mixed with pills creates Chicago crossed with wumps in Los Angeles.  The silver streak in her hair is no the same silver in Charlie’s hair before the wumps took him.  It is the silver of chrome touched with dark purple.
The needle-stickers smile and frown, and are altogether unpredictable.  They enter and exit, and say that the wumps have also passed, and that Spring is and has been, and that wumps will is have never known them.  And the wumps do not visit.  The needle-stickers say this though they do not like the wumps.  They do not fly or eat silver, and they have not tasted the pills of the wump leader’s memory.
In a corner where the needle-stickers have not come, she has waited for the wumps.  In a voice which the needle-stickers have not wanted to hear she has called for Charlie and pulled at the silver in her hair.  With a nightmare which has not forgotten itself the car hurtles again and again, and the seering purple hat she once wore has become tatters in her hands.  A silence which burns soft and heavy has not stopped shouting as the needle-stickers and Charlie to stay and touch the green with her in the Spring.
Spring will pass, passes, has passed, merrily, until the hat has tattered the hands as well, and the silver is flecked with gold, dimly where the wumps came.

› tags: Science Fiction / Short Story /

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