#1 All the Birthdays

by Suzanne Conboy-Hill

When it’s our birthday, when the ice breaks and the spirits burst through, you have to dodge out of the way and cover your head so they don’t hiss sharp into your ears or quick-grab your tongue. If they get your tongue, you end up babbling like a prattaloon for days and people laugh and throw things at you to shut you up. Dilip got a broken nose that way last year, when a shelly-pot hit him. If they get in your ears, you’re stuck listening to the flap-mouthing the babblers made all the years before, and that’s worse because you can’t shut them up and the spirits can be a bit choosy about how long they leave you with the racket. But you have to keep your eyes wide open because they want you to watch them while they dance and dive and scorch the air and cut sizzling streaks into the ice. You can blink, just so long as you don’t linger. Blinking is okay.

Izzy got caught last year, twirling on the edge of the freeze-sea like a dizzy firefly with her head back and her arms wide, all shut-eyed and giddy. Burned her eyelids right off her face, they did. She’ll be watching the rest of her life now, which won’t be too much longer because Izzy has to share everyone’s birthday so she gets everyone’s years too, and there are near a hundred of us and nobody lives that long.

18 comments:

Victoria said...

Oh, that's just a delight!

JRVogt said...

Intriguing take on the birthday mythos. Some great imagery too!

Flutterby said...

Cool other-worldly setting!

Sam Knight said...

I really like the peek into a whole new world where nothing is what I expect.

Irena said...

Enigmatic!Poor Izzy.

Ines said...

I love this, it's more like poetry than prose and agree that the imagery is great!

Shona Snowden said...

Nicely doom-laden.

Karen from Mentor said...

prattaloon is now my word of the day!

*grins* !!

Rachael Dunlop said...

Lovely cadence to this - I bet it sounds wonderful read aloud. There was a Lewis Carroll feel to the use of language. A surreal slice of... something!

Sarah Laurenson said...

Very intriguing world!

stacy said...

Beautiful and intriguing.

Linda Cassidy Lewis said...

What a fascinating world lies in your mind! Thank you sharing a glimpse.

conboyhillfiction said...

Thank you lovely commenters - usual and unusual suspects both. This came about during a period of captivity at the front door waiting for a postal delivery. You didn't want to be that postie if I hadn't got this stuff out of my system!

Deb said...

Silly...Delightful...and I think they got into my ears because I hear a lot of flap-mouthing : )

TracyFells said...

Beautifully weird and wonderful! Good luck Suzanne.

Shirley Golden said...

Fantastical and lovely use of language. I wondered if there was a fear of ageing/birthdays within :)

Sarah Charsley said...

Weirdly wonderful and wonderfully weird! A unique world cleverly and concisely conveyed through a highly engaging voice.

Hannah said...

It feels like this world deserves more words. I'd love to read more about it. :)