Queen City

Stories that end in death are tragedies. Stories that end in marriages are comedies. Sylvia thinks about that. No, doesn’t apply. Tragedy is when Mel Brooks cuts his fingers; comedy is when anyone else falls in a manhole and dies. No. Well… it’s closer, but it’s not quite right.

Glenn Manning, shot off a dam. Lost to sight, presumed dead. Nancy Archer, electrocuted, dead on the scene. Scott Carey, trapped in a dollhouse, lost to sight. Presumed dead or subatomic. It’s morbid, thinks Sylvia, as her feet broaden and sink into the earth. But who can kill her, now, or would want to?

She is so sleepy, but she struggles to stay awake, even as the process erases more and more of her humanity. Her arms, spread across the ground from last night, have taken root and every quivering hair is erect and lengthening. At their tops they swell, and the lights flicker on, still dim in the daylight. She can’t feel her fingers. In the end, she’ll lose the struggle, of course, but she wants to see as much as she can. Stubbornness, she thinks.

And when the first cars stumble into her parkways and her avenues, and begin questing up and down her boulevards, she is still, somehow, dimly alive. Sylvia Lewis, she thinks, vanished, assumed populated.