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Raven's Runes: Equations in Time

The Viewing Place
by Marge Simon

Uncle Felix lived on the top floor of Greatgran’s house. On annual visits I was allowed to watch him write. The room smelled wonderful. It spoke in a friendly language of tobacco and shaving cream.

He was lean and bent, with a shock of white hair that never was willing to sit down on his head. His eyes went with his voice, soft and twilight deep. Sometimes he’d stop to light his pipe and stare at the ceiling as if he was trying to remember something. I wanted to know what he was thinking but mother told me not to bother him. Felix was the writer in the family. From the way she spoke, what he did must be very important.

One morning I found him standing at the window. When I started to sit down, he turned to me and smiled. “You wonder what I’m writing about. Maybe it’s time you found out.” He stuck a notepad in his pocket. “Come along.”

We took a winding road high into the Great Blue Hills. Mother called them the Viewing Place but wouldn’t say more. Uncle Felix prodded my shoulder. “Can you see them?” He pointed to a cluster of pines. I shook my head and said I only saw some trees. He smiled. “You will, keep looking.” He squatted down and began taking notes while I stared at the trees until I saw double. And then I began to see what was in between. 

There were dozens of them coming and going all the time. Sometimes one would light on a branch to preen its fur. They didn’t have wings, they just did it. I watched them while Uncle Felix wrote. Just before the sun slipped away on the horizon, he folded his pad and put it back in his pocket. 

“So now you know, right?” He clapped my shoulder and we walked back to the truck. I asked him what they were and he said he didn’t know. 

“So, that’s why you write it all down? To find out what you see, I mean.”

“No, that’s not why.” His eyes bored into mine and his face was serious. “It’s because I’m afraid that if I don’t, none of us will be able to see them anymore.”

When we got home, Greatgran had dinner ready. There was paper and a pen on the table beside my bed. 


Marge Ballif Simon freelances as a writer-poet-illustrator for genre and mainstream publications such as Nebula Awards 32, Strange Horizons, Flashquake, Flash Me Magazine, Dreams and Nightmares, The Pedestal Magazine, Story House, and Vestal Review. Marge is former president of the Small Press Writers/Artists Organization and the Science Fiction Poetry Association and now serves as editor of Star*Line.


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"The Viewing Place" © Marge Simon. Used by permission of the author.
Raven Electrick © Karen A. Romanko. Masthead Clipart by Corel ®.