Me Versus You

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is my first round entry for "Booksie's Got Talent"! I had to base my story off the title given to me, "Me Vs. You." (I just elongated it, for my preferences.) I really hope you all enjoy this one, I took about two hours to make this masterpiece!

Submitted: June 02, 2014

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Submitted: June 02, 2014

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Me Versus You

Samson became sick again a few days ago. I cut some of the old storage crates down and barred up some of the windows so it would be even less detrimental to his health. The frosted modesty of the winter drives us further into this small home: it gets to the point where we must remain in the hallway, furthest away from all the sources of the cold entering the house. There we sleep, furnishing the hallway with what we need: boxes, blankets, pillows, oil lamps, and food—it becomes a tad cramped, as if we were resorted to living in a lean-to.
Without Samson I would have been alone all these years. He doesn’t get out much, but otherwise he is very lively, and sociable. Honest, I actually don’t let him leave because he is too small and young to confront the ever-whirling snow drifts outside. The few rare days that it is quaint and peaceable outside I carry him above the snow, making sure he does not leave me. After a short walk he becomes restless though, and offers that we return to the house.
It must have been two years or so ago that I met Samson. October was unkindly fading that year and I knew the flakes of winter would fill the valley as a bowl is filled with flour. Trees were relieving their branches of flyleaf burdens and the sky was open, high, buried blue under white clouds like sawdust. The bridle path to the southwest was bare, and closely shaded that very morning.
My cart was halfway to the next wood, under a white oak, and I lifted it, as I would before every winter, to go into town for supplies for the relentless months to come.
Of a sudden I heard a tussle and a clap when I lifted the cart: I stumbled around and there he was in the corner, clothed in grey, bright in the eyes, and he felt calm, as his presence then continued to be. I noticed he was hurt—though I do not recall if it was a broken leg or toe—and I proffered to carry him home, to give him food and water and care. Surprisingly, he struggled very little and only spoke now and then.
Ever since that fall I have bought extra food, as he offered to stay after his timely recovery. I speak to him every day as if he had always been a friend for years. He tries to help, all encouragingly though, in the work around the home.


Today was the twenty-third day since the first true fall of the snow. Furious gusts bellow wildly upon the wooden walls and the limp trees outside. I put an oil lamp as close to Samson as I can without fear of stinging him. A book is on a nearby box and occasionally I will read to him from it. Samson breathes patiently, his chest rising and lowering like a prolonged pulse. I am clothed heavily but Samson is still adorned grey as he was when I met him; he is clean though, as I wash him every so often. I give him a blanket and he is fine, no worry in the household. Samson has eaten very little as of late. When I would feed Samson I would speak to him of the day outside (for he doesn’t often leave) and reassure him of his hopeful health. I would say:
“Samson, the weather is as unforgiving as yesterday! It’s ‘ard to believe it’s been a whole day! It doesn’t seem to want to let up!”
And he would breathe, silently. His eyes are dim. I bend down and grab a crate to sit upon.
“My, my, Samson, old boy, you need some water, now don’t you?” I give him some. He is unmoving. “Oh, you’ll come to soon enough, dear brother, I know the ‘eavens won’t fail on you yet!”
I laugh and he still is silent. I look at him surgically and I feel morose, of a sudden. I wish he would move, I think to myself, I wish he would. I say to him, touching him softly, “You’ve plenty of life left, you old bird,” (I laugh at my own words) “no wait, that’s me!” But my smile is lost almost instantly; I am overcome with some forlorn sadness, waiting to strike me blows. He still is silent. “Come now, I’m meaning you no harm, old friend. Could you please show me you’ll get better though? Promise me that, eh?”
 He looks as if to lift his head but does not. In the process, and as the wintry wind rages instinctively against the house, I feel droplets of warmth, of tears swelling and strolling down my face. I do not yet know where they came from, as if I was oblivious; but they were an enraged comfort, somehow. He’ll get better; I know it, I think to myself.
Night approaches as quickly as my tears did, and I fall asleep, dreamless, rapid, worried, and cold.


The following morning awakens me in the humbly dull hallway, lit sharply grey. As a common routine, I glance over to Samson first as I lift myself from my cot, the floor creaking. To my frightened extremity, I crouch quickly to his side and jostle him: he appeared as frigid as a stone, his eyes closed. As I held him he jerked slightly and flicked his head back like a snake would bite a rat. A short moment passed and the pain in my hand flew up insanely and explosively, like a flock of startled birds. I realised now, inexplicably and terribly, that Samson had snatched a bite at me—and he had never done any such harmful thing to anyone in his life. My hand begins to trickle fluidly between my thumb and forefinger. He remains in my hands though, but I put him on his cot precisely as I admit a yell and try to tend to my hand. I look sidelong to Samson and he turns himself over, and begins to breathe patiently again. I exclaim, louder than I initially think,
“What in ‘eaven’s name was that! What was that, eh, Samson?” I speak desperately, gaping.
The oil lamp flickers over his chest, rising and lowering, rising and lowering. He is despondent.
You—you—” I trail off, yielding to tears and agonising, angered breath, “this isn’t a game, Samson!” I yell at him, as never before, chokingly and buried in blindness. “Who’s against you, now, eh? I’m not any enemy to you—I nurture, care, feed, and am here—all for you! When did this become a motive, you biting me up like a burglar?” I breathe heavily, kneeling, icy air escaping my throat.
“Who am I to you, now? I oughtn’t to let you die, but you ‘aven’t ‘armed anything like you’ve done now.” I clench my bleeding hand; in a crying upheaval, I hit my fist against my knee, in anger and disbelief. I look down, look up, look to his silent form, and fixate upon him. My eyes feel red. I melt hotly now, desperately.
“Oh, come now, you,” I pick him up ever so gently; he makes no move, “you know and I know,” I snivel, “that you’re all I ‘ave.”
After a quiet moment, while Samson’s pulse thumps in my hand, I walk densely and slowly to the reading room and, looking out: the snow is hovering like cotton in season, like feathers floating. Samson is calm as I peer down at him. Standing and looking out the window I see dead leaves caught in the drift on the windowsill. Unlocking the window I open it up, cleaning out the leaves with one hand, Samson close to me in the other. As I finish I sit myself down, the window still open; and the numbing air is surprisingly nice on my skin, relieving from the warmth inside. I open my hands, cupping them, so I can see and hold Samson gently. He is small and silent, rising and lowering in his breath. Tenderly, I say,
“Samson, you know, my yelling ought to end, and I can’t be spiteful upon this. All I’ve done ‘as been spoiled for you, and I trust you, Samson, you know I do.” He turns in my hands. “I—I can’t tell you how—”
But in a burst of grey air, my hands are empty, a tailwind streaming from them and out the window. I jump instantly, and open the window, leaning out. His grey, little, fragile form rises and lowers in the high white air, and his shape is distinct, visible from far away. I couldn’t help myself, alone, gasping for words and explanations. The screaming tears poured from my eyes like the rains in spring. I howl,
“You—you’re nothing but a bloody bat, you! Look at what you’ve done now—all running away like this!” He does not turn around though, to my despairing pleas, screamed with such ghostly syllables. My hands became steel pillars on the windowsill. I tried again, calling:
“Samson! Come back, Samson! Look,” I reach my hands out, pleadingly, “look at what you ‘ave given me! You give me warmth—but now you go and tear it out of my ‘ands—how can it go like that, now?” I see, however, that his form has minimised to a speck in the bleak sky, snowing softly. Peace has departed from here, though the scenery is appealing; but it does not convince me.
“Samson, oh Samson.” I am bawling like a child now. “I wish, I wish I could have told you how sorry I am.”
I fall on my haunches to the floor, looking down to my hands—they look rotten, worthless, torn, alone, left empty. I wander off as I try to speak to someone, rhetorically, “Me, me, me,” I look out the window to the flitting speck, “all that’s left without you is me, Samson, selfish old me, to take you away from a true ‘ome.” My voice sounds dry, my breath fading drowsily. “And—and I can’t leave like you do, I ‘aven’t any wren-wings, Samson, I ‘aven’t any wind under me to carry me anywhere!” 
It is not very soon till I cannot distinguish the snow from the momentous speck that was Samson. He has gone and I remain, a bleeding heap of a heart on the floor, unable to understand why the closest thing to this heart has gone. The snow falls like hazardous ash in through the window as I lean my frame against the table behind me. I breathe hollow air—so very cold and dank—and I don’t know what else to do but grieve in hope that Samson comes back, between the tree branches, through the window, and into my hand, his wings rising and lowering.

***
 


© Copyright 2020 Liam Strong. All rights reserved.

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