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A Girl Walks Into a Page

Story by Laura Maylene Walter (Read author interview) September 23, 2014

art by Amy Trosino

A girl walks into the pages of a poetry collection and enters a world of brief and endless beauty. She trips from poem to poem in a trance, taking breaths between stanzas, cartwheeling over the line breaks, bowing down to each last line. Every time she presses against the title of a new poem, her body shudders with relief.

A girl walks into the pages of a fantasy novel and flashes her sword before the dragon. Just before she makes the first swing, she looks into the dragon’s eyes and sees her own slender self reflected there, pale and vicious. The girl throws down her sword, bows to the dragon, and takes off through the pages in search of new adventures.

A girl walks into eighteen horse books at once because she cannot choose among them, she loves them so. Once inside, she splinters into eighteen smaller girls with eighteen horses to match. She remains there today, in eighteen clover-strewn fields, clutching eighteen horse manes, as she gallops into the distance eighteen times over.

A girl walks into the lusty pages of her romance paperback to find herself draped in a tattered scrap of dress. She sits on the bed, waiting for her hero. He strides into the room shirtless, his chest hairless and heaving. The girl looks from him to the canopied bed and clamps her bare thighs together.

A girl walks into the pages of her algebra book and turns into an unsolvable equation.

A girl walks into the thick creamy pages of an etiquette and manners book. At tea time, her dress spirals into a doily and her hair unfolds into handkerchiefs. She is trapped there, sitting stiffly upright, her napkin unfolded across her lap. She forever drinks lukewarm tea and brushes crumbs from the tablecloth. She always uses the proper fork.

A girl walks into the pages of an Amelia Earhart biography and loses herself in mist. For months she circles the skies, blind, while waiting for the fall.

A girl walks into the tissue pages of the Bible, where she witnesses the creation of the heavens and the Earth. She watches the first fish bubble and froth in the sea, birds flash alive in the sky, and land mammals blink their way into being. She glimpses Adam in his nakedness, how the coy and silent Eve steps from his rib. Then the girl takes a wrong turn and gets lost in hundreds upon hundreds of begats.

A girl walks into a book of fairy tales and is eaten by the wolf in fifteen different ways.

A girl walks into the glowing pages of an e-book and shields her gaze against the glare. She presses both thumbs against a button to flip the pages, but the flashing light gives her a headache. She closes her eyes, goes into a seizure. No one is there to put a cool hand to her forehead, to call for help. She is alone, trapped in a slim glowing box, and the battery is running dangerously low.

A girl walks into a page and walks out dripping in ink. It coats her smooth as a seal, blue-black and reflective. She opens her mouth to scream but only more ink pours out. On and on it rolls, black and heavy and shining, arcing and heaving out of her body like some hellish, vomiting rainbow.

A girl walks into a page and cuts herself on the fine, sharp edges. Blood runs crossways down her arms and torso, whips in her eyes like rain. Still she walks on, deeper and deeper, until the pages slice her sideways and she disappears, leaving only a constellation of red flecks splattered across page 323.

A girl walks into the Word document on your computer. She wears a purple hat at a jaunty angle and her knees are bare and scabby. She hides between the T and the H in your header but peeks out now and then, watching you work. Every time you type a new sentence, she sneers.

A girl walks into the unfinished novel draft on your desk and, after getting lost in an unending series of plot holes, begins the slow process of starvation.

A girl walks into the last line of the last paragraph of the newest document in your computer. She curls into a tight ball to fit herself into the final period and squeezes so hard that she pops through the back of the document and into the brains and guts of the computer itself. There she twists, full of electricity, through the hard drive and motherboard, seeping at last into the power cord. From there she makes her way to the outlet, through the wall, and into the power lines outside, where she flows with the power of thousands of volts. She remains there even now, humming and dangerous, as she streams through wires black enough and sharp enough to be inky lines of words pressed straight and deadly against the sky.

About the Author

Laura Maylene Walter is the author of the short story collection Living Arrangements (BkMk Press, 2011), which won the G.S. Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction, a national gold IPPY and a Foreword Book of the Year Award. Her writing has appeared in The Sun, Poets & Writers, The Writer, and various literary journals. She is the recipient of the Ohioana Walter Rumsey Marvin Grant and is the fiction editor of Mid-American Review.

About the Artist

Amy B. Trosino is a fine artist and illustrator based in Cleveland, Ohio. Her work has recently been featured in Creative Quarterly, Manhattan Arts, Art & Beyond, Emanations IV, and Art Buzz: The 2014 Collection. She is the founder of Odin House Publishing where she creates and distributes Under Observation, a zine series that fosters awareness of life, humanity and the importance of living one’s true nature. Her books include Drawn Closer (available through Amazon) and The Odin House Book of Poetry for Children (available through blurb.com). To view her portfolio and shop, visit www.odinhouseartandgifts.etsy.com and www.amybtrosino.squarespace.com.


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