Short stories and the occasional true tidbit devised in the life and times of the Bearded Toad
The curl released from her finger like a spring and bounced back into the jumble of its companions. A deft twist, and she had it again, twirling it in counter clockwise circles with her left hand. She was staring of course, but not in that frozen, completely oblivious to the world way. She was staring at the man who had just walked in the door. Her friend could tell that she was impressed with something about him, but she wasn’t really sure what.
She slipped out of her boots, quickly with a tug on each heel, and stepped into the clay. It was cool on the bottom of her feet. Pressing down firmly, her weight caused the firm red earth to ooze through her toes making a mould of the space in-between. She pulled her shirt, wet with the sweat of a warm day and a long hike, over her head and brought her bra along with it. Carefully, she guided her shorts over her clay covered feet and tossed all of her clothes on top of her boots.
All at once, the branch broke beneath his feet. His breath left him as his stomach pressed his lungs into his throat. The knife he had been using to carve into the tree remained stuck in place at the end of her initials. When he hit the ground his knees hit his chest and he rolled backwards, flattening out. The leaves of the branch cradled his head as he looked up at his knife.
She sat down on the curb and carefully plucked two pebbles from the broken skin of her knee. Her hard feet were planted in the still damp rain gutter, and her hair, darkened from sweat, was plastered to her pale neck. She grimaced as her deft, dirty fingers worked the sandy remains of the road grime from the wound. She pursed her lips and blew gently on it before looking up to see how far her friends had gotten ahead of her. One more deep breath to steady her pulse again as she rose to her rather foal-like stance, she started running with a steadiness that surprised her.
Not so much! He was pouring salt into the mixture as though he were trying to completely hide the other ingredients. The taste of ginger was something she liked, but if he put too much salt in it would overpower it.