Untethered

“Untethered” by Holly Sheidenberger

He came to me like a wisp of smoke, transitory and ephemeral. He ended up leaving me the same way.

We’d loved each other years before, but he disappeared with no goodbye. I never forgot him.

One fateful day he found me again. He needed a companion.

He was dying.

He wove a tale beyond belief, yet somehow truer than the deepest truth.

“My soul is . . . untethered,” he breathed. “It escapes from my body. I can’t constrain it.”

He was becoming unmoored, his spirit exiting his body each night beyond his control.

Soon he would be too weak to return, trapped eternally in a sphere outside his body.

He didn’t want to go alone.

I held him as he fell asleep each night in fear, wondering if I would wake up to find him cold.

One morning I did.

Now I commune with the night sky, knowing he’s floating amongst the stars.

Alone.

Dyeing

“Dyeing” by Holly Sheidenberger

She dumps six cans of baked beans into one flimsy plastic bag. The thin package of bacon gets its own bag. So do the taco shells. And the individual loaf of bread.

Ashlyn is a miserable bagger, in every sense of the word. She hates working here.

Her shift is over, but she has to put away the “go-backs” before she can leave.

Luckily, there’s only one item today. A dented box of easter egg dye.

She’d rather pay the two dollars to buy it than put it away.

An hour later, Ashlyn’s home, apartment reeking of vinegar, fingertips stained blue and green. Twelve colorful eggs drip on her coffee table.

She’ll leave them out till tomorrow.

Feasting on cold ham, potato salad, easter eggs, and wine, Ashlyn celebrates the day alone.

By evening her gut is in full rebellion. Salmonella.

An agonizing night lies ahead.

But at least she won’t have to work tomorrow.