“WHY I LEFT” by Brandon Freels


Nars liked to attract the ones with the savior complex. In the forest, he’d set up little webs and hop into them nude. His body was thin and pure white. He used it well. The webs didn’t really stick, but he could get away with it for a short time. “Help me. I’m hurt. They hurt me. I’m injured.”

Old Ov was in a nearby cave. He’d shoveled the cave with his own two hands, and it went deep into the Earth. His glasses were thick and, because his nose was so small, they seemed to rest on his long mustache. He was always wearing khakis and a fedora. A silver chain hung around his neck with a blue key dangling from it. Most people had forgotten he was alive. No one missed him. His life mattered to no one. He heard Nars cry and came out of the cave. “Help me. Help me.”

Old Ov approached the web and the key worked well to tear it down. Ov carried the naked Nars into his cave, into safety. “Poor boy. What were you doing out there without any clothes on? You must be cold.” Old Ov laid Nars down on some bearskin. He was taken aback by the groaning sounds Nars made. He watched Nars’s body as it twisted and turned on the bearskin. Nars turned himself over and showed Ov his ass. Help me. This is why I left, Ov thought to himself. Now I’ve brought this shit right back into my home.

“I can’t save you,” Old Ov said aloud. “I can’t do anything. This flesh isn’t real. This body isn’t real. The type of saving you need, I can’t give you.” Nars looked at the walls of Old Ov’s cave. They were covered with simple drawings of wild-eyed horses. Lots and lots of horses of all colors. Old Ov took off his khakis for Nars but there was nothing there. He took off his fedora but there was nothing there. He took off his glasses but there was nothing there. Nars was alone in the cave.


Brandon Freels has an MS in Writing/Publishing from Portland State University. His poems have appeared in The Bitter Oleander, Exquisite Corpse, Hobart, and other publications. He can be found at brandonfreels.com and @koalacanth.

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