The Passed Note Issue 1 June 2016 - Page 48

Luke Emile Williams

A Boy of Iron and Oak

The boy believed them when they said he was cursed. A normal body was comprised of flesh and blood, not iron and oak.

Yet his body was exactly that, split down the middle into two equal halves: oak to his right and iron to his left. Though able to maintain a tenuous peace with the hemispheres, he could do nothing to prevent either side's desire for conquest. Each side warred with the other for total control. The boy would wake in the night to find his wooden half stealthily smothering the burnished blue surface of the steel. He would eat breakfast and feel a sharp pinch in his abdomen where the iron was attempting to sever wooden veins with a sheet of metal.

The constant fighting made movement difficult. It required a strong and clear mind to make the two halves work in unison. The boy would hobble with an awkward gait when both factions refused to lay a foot flat or bend a knee. He'd often drop plates in his jagged wooden clutches or break cups to pieces within his metallic grip. This had only succeeded in attracting more judgmental looks, the town having discarded their pity and empathy for the boy long ago. The townspeople were fearful of his curse jumping off his body and burrowing into theirs. The boy knew this would never happen: his body never stopped fighting itself long enough to show interest in anyone else.

The boy kept indoors in his giant empty home on the outskirts of town. He'd watch how the townspeople lived from his third story window. They'd interact with each other out of social enjoyment and not painstaking necessity, like when he’d beg the butcher to take his money for scraps the butcher was just going to throw out; they’d walk along the cobblestone streets in the open air with the sunshine on their faces instead of having to slink about in shadows, waiting for a street to clear before crossing; they’d hammer their anvils and shoe horses for their money rather than receive it through