Brand New

The window was sealed almost permanently; hinges caked over with rust and dirt, glass obscured with cobwebs and stained with raindrops from last season’s monsoon. But she had been gasping for air too long  and the supply of oxygen was frighteningly low and her throat was itching to the point of being raw and- she knew that inhaling rations of air in pitiful lungfuls would soon turn fatal. So she sucked in one last breath, formed a fist and smashed through the grimy glass that had kept out light and life for far too long.

One brave sunbeam burst into the room and swept the sinister shadows from each corner. A shriveled imp stirred suddenly and shielded its one good eye. Today, the characteristic glint of malice was absent from its eye; the sun’s glare had overpowered it completely.

And yet, it persisted…

“Not even that kind, selfless, deserving, intelligent…”

“Not today. Not ever. It’s time for you to go.”

The new year sat snugly in her pocket, with the reassuring weight of freshly minted coins, whose edges were sharp enough to leave small cuts in the flesh of her eager fingertips. She felt the impatient yet satisfying itch of a wound almost healed, the blood beginning to dry from her ashy knuckles.

Refreshed, relieved- she watched as the sickening imp half-crawled, half-dragged itself out of her prison turned sanctuary mumbling to itself: “Don’t linger too long in the shadows, I could be back before you know it…” Content, hopeful- she shrugged her shoulders and forced them back and out with much difficulty. After growing accustomed to the constant hunching and folding, the tendons were so sore that they stretched audibly and groaned their protest at this new, daring stance. She shrugged once more, and her shroud of expired hopes and stale regrets fell to the floor with the faintest rustling sound, like breeze through fine flamboyant tree leaves.

The new year rested lightly on the tips of her ears, the morning’s first wind chill nipping playfully at her flesh-Wake up! No more oversleeping for you! She brushed the sleep from her eyes and looked boldly into the sunlight, so bright it almost obscured her view of that mysterious beyond she had been aching for. The new year tickled the small hairs in her nose. It was almost irritating, this nagging anticipation and imminent newness…

The new year traced the straight lines of her jaw, and teased her sharp collarbones. Rejuvenated, alive at last- she set one shaky foot beyond the termite-ridden threshold and into the other side of tomorrow.

(In case it may seem familiar, the evil imp also made an appearance here:

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