The Dead Man’s Fate / Tristan Foster

And in classroom reading time took a spot by the window so he could gaze out across the top of his book at the birds pecking at leftovers in the yard. The trees bending in the warm breeze. The clouds in the sky and the angle of shadows across the courtyard. Listening to the hum of the students reading behind him. The scratching of the teacher’s pen as he marked papers. The drone of distant engines. The tick of the wall clock. The beautiful memory of the astringency of his mother’s eel soup making the base of his brain tingle and his mouth water. Picked any book and opened it to any page and maybe looked at the words but that was all. Preferred this over reading and drawing and everything else. This bench by the window was his spot and when one of the other boys tried to take it one time attacked him there in the classroom. Punched and slapped the boy’s head and for a moment escaped himself. Left his body. Punched his friend and floated to the ceiling of the room. Watched the scuffle from overhead and knew the meaning of life and death and that heaven is an idea in the mind of God and that he would die a stupid death. When he was himself again was being dragged through the hallway lined with school bags by his teacher to the principal’s office where he would learn his punishment. First and last time he ever lashed out like that. Never heard the end of it at home. Not from his father who said nothing. But from his mother who acted like it was the most deranged story she had ever, ever heard.

Tristan Foster is a writer from Sydney, Australia. He is the author of Letter to the Author of the Letter to the Father and 926 Years, co-authored with Kyle Coma-Thompson.

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