#100 Black Camel

by Stephen Parrish, Guest Writer

I woke to my grandfather’s cane rapping feverishly on the wall. I bounded down the stairs and found him sitting upright in his bed, staring wide-eyed at imaginary ghosts fleeing the dawn.

“A black camel,” he said, pointing a bony finger at the window.

His words chilled me; the black camel was an ancient symbol of death. I followed his terrified gaze to the window, but the only intruder there was the meager light offered grudgingly by a drowsy morning sun.

“Do you need a drink?” I asked. “Are your covers falling off?”

“Some of the dead,” he whispered, “have yet to die.”

His eyes softened as he came fully awake and whatever was pursuing him quit the chase. I eased him back on his pillow and tucked him in; he held his blanket tightly under his chin to shield himself from last-minute skirmishes. I sat with him until his eyelids drooped and his breathing steadied. Then I returned upstairs to my room.

There, exposed by the dawn, bathed in a kaleidoscope of refracted light, the black camel was waiting for me. Waiting with the patience of time that moves in a circle, that rotates with the blinding speed and yet exasperating slowness of a biding and obdurate galaxy. Always sure to come around again, to make up for missed opportunities, for past failures. To travel through space as easily as a ray of light traverses the colors of the spectrum.

“My grandfather,” I said.

“No,” came the reply. “You.”


Aniket Thakkar said...

"Some of the dead have yet to die" goes right up there with "What is dead may never die". Epic stuff.

You shud cunsider writing spooky stuff. You gud at this.

Sarah Hina said...

Masterful, as always.

Unknown said...

Most excellent.

That you got this from the prompt fascinates me. (The paragraph that references the prompt is spot on, btw.)

Sarah Laurenson said...

Awesome. Is the black camel from a particular existing culture or something you came up with? It's a fascinating take on the black dog or the black cat legends.

Loved the pacing and the caring shown in this piece.

Anonymous said...

Don't get morbid on me, Steve.

Thomas Joyce said...

I liked everything about this piece. And a good twist right at the end. Good job!

Catherine Vibert said...

Ha ha, great twist! I'm seeing him drop dead of a heart attack right then and there. I love it, perfect!