Kaleidoscope

Every sentence of this latest thing has been hard-won, but I think that might kind of be the point. I'm writing about a guy for whom every sentence is hard-won, so maybe this is method-writing?

At any rate, please enjoy this brief snippet from this week's work:

When she collected her things and started for the door a few minutes later, he followed at a distance, doing his best not to scare her. But as she stepped into the darkened alley out back, he worried over her and was overtaken by the chivalrous desire to offer her his arm.

“But,” I protest, “you had to know nothing was going to happen to her, not yet.”

Taylor glares at me. “There are worse things than death,” she says. “Especially lurking in back alleys, especially for the pretty and the innocent.”

Michael says nothing, letting Taylor’s objection stand in for his, and then he continues. “I resisted the urge,” he says. “I held back. But a moment later, I wished I hadn’t. As I held back beneath the awning, she crossed the narrow expanse of the alley and disappeared into the shadows on the other side.”

He rushed to reach her, he tells us, to rescue her from whatever foul force had taken her from him, but that’s when the truly miraculous thing happened. As he stepped into the shadows himself, it was like the heavy curtains of a proscenium stage parted before him; he was swallowed up then by a whirl of lights strobing from both above and below.

It was like being inside a kaleidoscope, he tells us, only the abstract shapes soon resolved into cubist tableaus, which then quickly sharpened into surrealist nonsense — Michael’s words, not mine — before settling into a series of pop art posters representing critical periods from the whole of Jenna’s life. As he reached his fingers towards one, the kaleidoscope would slow and the one poster would spread out into a half-dozen smaller ones, each representing an even more specific moment. And as he drew his face close to each one of those, it was as if the moment were a filmstrip in a projector that was just sputtering to life. When he drew back, trying to take more of this strange sight in, the memories went still once more.

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