The Passed Note Issue 1 June 2016 - Page 55

fate when he felt the heavier iron side twist and twirl against the air to ensure that it hit the ground first. He allowed it.

The boy expected his iron body to corrugate, to collapse against the unyielding terrain. He closed his eyes before hitting the ground. His body crashed with a jarring collision, and he felt the ground give way beneath him. He laid there patiently, awaiting all awareness of himself and his body to dissolve. But nothing faded away – he instead heard the lilting of a lark’s tribute to the sun. The boy looked up to the opening where he’d injected himself into the Earth and saw that it was only a mere pinhole far above. A cascading dribble of pebbles skittered across his cheek, the ground still reeling from the boy slicing into it.

A spot in his elbow was damaged, though it didn't hurt. At the tip of his joint was a small patch of curled-back iron revealing a hole. There’d always been a sheath of steel or a tangled weave of bark enveloping his body; the boy had never seen inside himself. He peered into his arm and found it hollow, the steel primarily an encasement. Intermittently placed inside, the boy followed a throbbing line of wooden coils. The tendrils extended from an unseen place, blossoming out along the interior walls of his arm. When he pressed down on the steel, he watched the oak inside buckle and push back, bouncing a little like springs.

The sunlight crept down to gradually fill the deep well. He stood in the hole he had made and expected a wave of pain to engulf him, but still nothing came. Both arms and legs were still attached and intact, everything capable of flexing and stretching as it had before the fall. The boy felt the warmth on his face as he looked up. With one iron foot dug into the side of the rock wall and one oak hand clutched to a ridge, the boy began to climb out.