The Needle

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Location: Cape Town

The Needle

Post by Faanz »

I would love your input on this piece I wrote.

Slow steady movements of a hand gently holding, not clutching the needle. The needle is an extension of his finger. He softly sings to himself and at times it is almost as if he fades the melodic chant as he passes the needle through the light blue fabric on his lap.

He works with precision, every stitch precisely in the right place. Every stitch is exactly spaced passing through fabric making two one.

Against the wall on his left the ogre-like shape of his shadow struggles on, not betraying his actual reason. The two candles burning steadily, flames eating away at the wax that melts and gently runs into the old green rusty tin cup they are entrusted in.

He works on, not rushing for his is a timeless craft. His hands must not fail the needle and his eye not misplace. He has no reason to work faster nor slower.

Suddenly he stops, his hands frozen as he stops singing turning his head to the right and tilting it as if he were listening for something. " Can it be? Is it that time already?" He asks himself. He listens intently but nothing. He moves his legs slightly then continues, hands starting as if powered by some invisible switch.

Against a wall is a faded photograph of a woman and three small children. The colours of autumn faded by time.

He reaches down and adjusts the fabric. Gently flattening it against his legs so it would not crease. "God if it had to crease now it would be a las." He thinks to himself as he continues. Steadily, not breaking the rhythm of his song. The song of the needle.

His eyes are tired. He listens again and this time a barely visible smile breaks on his weathered face. He hears the sound of metal objects making clinging sounds. They sing their own song. He hears the footfall of feet as they move along a superbly polished floor. The same shoes that come every other night. With every set of feet the metal sings different as it sways in the hands of those responsible for their keeping.

The feet approach the door to the room he is seated in. Stopping outside it. The feet announces itself by clearing its throat and the needle by looking up nodding and acknowledging the feet's presence. " Good evening Hershel" the feet say in a calm voice. The needle responds " good evening mister Johnson." " Did you have a good day today Hershel?" The feet ask. "Yes thank you mister Johnson" the needle responds. The feet look at the needle. For a brief moment it is almost as if the feet wanted to say something more but did not have the words. Could not find the words perhaps. The needle dropping his eyes into his lap where the fabric rested.

"It is lockup time Hershel. Time for lights out." The feet said. Turning away from the door but not taking the step. " Yes mister Johnson, thank you mister Johnson" the needle responded taking in the figure poised outside his room, his cage, his keep.

The needle gently stuck into the thread and out in the little box on the shelve next to the photograph. The fabric carefully folded and placed where it would be safe.

Hershel Martins sits on the bed again and starts taking off his shoes. They are spotless just like everything else in his keep. He puts the shoes neatly next to each other by the foot of the bed. He reaches up and starts unbuttoning his dark green shirt. Folding it and placing it on the chair opposite the bed.

He pulls open the grey blankets with the white stripes almost resembling the stripes on a fancy sports car and gets into bed. Then he remembers the candles. " God Allah" he mumbles to himself as he gets out of bed again to blow out the candles. Back in bed he lays back with his head on the pillow. He waits. Then the voice from far shouting " lights out". The lights dim slightly and he wonders like he does every night why they call it lights out when the lights bever really goes out. Ss

Hershel looks at the door. The heavy metal gate. He turns into his own mind and escapes. The needle rests. His hands folded under his chin.

He is a tailor. He is a prisoner. He is a needle. His time is measured in stitches.
"Where there is life there is hope"
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