I bought a candied apple with the money Angelika had given me. I licked. The taste was sweet, tangy. It reminded me of Pan Moshe’s candy. I closed my eyes.
Suddenly, I heard a squeal; the squeal of breaks. I turned. It all happened so fast, yet it felt like slow motion. The crowd moved. For a moment, all my senses were enlightened, enhanced. I could see the planes of every face, the delicate arch of every eyebrow. I tasted the caramel; sticky, coated to my tongue. My fingers traced the corduroy of my trousers, before they clenched into tight fists. I smelt everything from the sweat of the apple vendor to the burning rubber of the Ford’s tires.
The automobile raced towards me, squealing against the street, wheeling wildly out of control. I did not move. People’s heads whipped around, anxious, searching for the sound. My apple fell to the ground and rolled onto the cobbled brick of the street. The automobile veered out of my path, smashing the apple stand. Fruits went flying everywhere, nailing people in their heads. The Ford swerved back going parallel across the road. People scrambled around the apples, slipping and sliding onto each other. I might have even laughed.
Two girls rounded the corner of a nearby building. One popped a ribbon stick of pink bubblegum into her mouth. Her brunette hair fell in two shoulder- length pigtails. She kneed a patched ball, concentrating on keeping it up in the air. Her dress billowed with every movement of her knee. The other girl walked barefoot in the street, her buckled shoes in her hand. Her hair was half up, tied back with a baby blue silk string. She had a bag draped over her shoulder, like the other girl had, and a textbook wrapped under her arm.
The one with the pigtails jerked her knee suddenly and the ball went flying. She elbowed her friend and they both started after the ball. Two steps later, the side of the automobile, barely, connected with them. Barely. But it was enough.
Pigtail’s legs bent behind her; she flew across the windshield, knocking her head into the glass. The sealed beam headlight cracked as her thigh smashed into it. The expression on her face was mingled of laughter, from a moment ago, contorted confusion swept across her eyes resting on her mouth, which curled up into a grimace; bewildered pain. Her body rolled as if it were the ball, which had bounced upon the automobile. In a split second, she lay on the cobbled road, her face ground into the stone slabs. She did not move.
The other girl twirled around her, like they were a circus act, or street performers. Her leg nicked the automobile’s front side, efficiently bending the weak metal. She smashed onto the cobblestones, face up, staring up into the sky. Her mouth relaxed; teeth biting into her lips. Her leg was behind her, mangled; broken.
A dark pool of blood formed a puddle beneath her head. Her eyes darted to her left, resting on her friend’s motionless figure, bowed into fetal position; unresponsive. Her back arched violently as she let out a scream. She kept glancing at the other girl, tears streaming down her face, her back curving every time she let out a shriek.
As the police swarmed in, the ambulances, the fire trucks, the people started to circle, curious, vulchers leering toward their prey. The screaming girl; the shoeless one, was put onto the stretcher first.
The other girl was still on the street, unmoving. Sobs erupted; people began to notice her, there; still. She was loaded onto a stretcher, and carted away. Her eyes had been closed.
Later that day, a man came to the street, with a brush and a pale of water. He dumped the water over the cobblestones, and then he scoured the street. Scrub, scrub, scrub. He grunted as he scrubbed, he reached his hand and wiped the sweat from his brow. When he had finished, he left. It was as if nothing had ever happened there. It was as if blood had never stained the stone. I was starving, I had no money left, but I could not make myself steal an apple from the ground.
- Title: Apples
- Artist: F A I L M O N S T E R
(Excerpt) Olek witnesses a car crash that brutally disfigures one girl and kills another.
1940, Warsaw. Olek Staniek is an orphaned boy, who finds himself in the Warsaw Ghetto.
- Date: 07/04/2010
- Tags: apples