Fall 2008, Volume 5

Fiction by Earnest Dempsey

Windy Days

On windy summer days, the kids in old Mrs. Jenkins house made a lot of bustle. They would gather in the evening, after boring themselves to death in the school, buy kites of choice colors, and rush to the roof. Mrs. Jenkins was long tired of failing to stop their uproar. She tried to stop them at the hands of their parents but it helped little.

‘This leniency will spoil the brats for good!’ She would murmur, nonplussed. And the kids wildly followed their frisky play with kites. Laughter roared and resounded in the air as their eyes watched the feats of their hands with a thin, barely-visible string moving the brightly colored spots up against the blue veneer of the sky.

‘Watch out!’ A cry was frequently heard from one of the peer, pointing to the kite or its string, to stop someone from trampling his stuff. It was once uttered with full force to stop the receding steps of Walter while he was dangerously absorbed in the sight of his square, red- tailed kite. It was too late by then. Walter had stepped off the edge and came right down on his back. Cries rose behind him and all in the house at that time rushed in panic to see what had happened. To their relief, they found the boy sitting over wet clothes in the bucket in the yard, right under the roof’s edge. Everyone was thankful to God, and to Aunt Amalie who had forgotten the miraculous bucket there. Mrs. Jenkins hoped that this example would scare her grandchildren away from playing about on the roof. Of course, it did not and Walter became bolder by taking for granted the presence of a savior, remembering his mother’s words, ‘Angels are there to save kids.’

However, his cousin Dale gave up kiting while still trying to learn flying it beyond the house’s borders. Dale’s accident was different. Every time he came upstairs and played among the kids, the sight of the lush hills in the distance seized him. A silent flow of charm rushed to his little heart and he was almost possessed by the green surface of the natural rocky acclivity. He longed to touch it from the roof. It felt to him that he must fly his kite to the hills. His heart leaped up in joy and he asked Karen to take the kite a few steps in that direction.

‘But it won’t fly there,’ Karen resisted. ‘Can’t you see the wind. It’s blowing away from that side.’

‘But I want it to be there!’ Anger surfaced in Dale’s eyes.

‘But it won’t fly there,’ Karen stressed each word.

‘I’ll try,’ Dale insisted. Karen held the kite for him and set it free when Dale beckoned. The kite at once flew away from where he wanted it to rise.

‘See,’ Karen stood beside him, looking at him with a sentient countenance.

‘I’ll wait,’ said Dale in disappointment. ‘The wind will change direction.’ So they waited long after the other kids were tired and gone down to rest. But the wind did not change its course. Darkness grew over them.

‘We must get down now,’ said Karen. She was feeling pity for her cousin.

‘Yes,’ Dale answered listlessly. Tears were welling up in his dim eyes. He went to his kite, tore it down, and rushed down the steps without looking at Karen. After that, Dale never went kiting with the kids. Mrs. Jenkins tried to find out from Karen what caused his distraction, hoping that it would help her stop the other kids. But Karen never told her the story and so the windy summer days never lost their bustle.

BIO:  Ernest Dempsey is a geology graduate at the University of Peshawar, now looking forward to receiving his MA in English Literature. He has authored two books: Islands of Illusion (poetry) and The Biting Age (short fiction). Dempsey is a founding member of the World Audience Inc. (www.worldaudience.org) and is completing is first novel. He also writes essays, freelance articles, blogs, and conducts author interviews.