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Alice and the Jabberwocky (Paper Cutout Theater) - Sophia Meytin_edited.jpg

Alice and the Jabberwocky by Sophia Meytin from Vantage

Paper Man

I was taking a walk last Sunday when I saw him last. He was so thin, I almost missed him, but he was there. His edges were a bit frayed, fibers shook like veins in the wind.

“Hey!” I called. “Hey! Paper man!”

He didn’t move, just stood there and shook, snapping about in the cold.

The wind was almost furious that day, as if it had been forgotten and wanted to make its presence known. It kicked up the sandy dirt of the street into my nostrils. I was almost blind.

“Where are you going?” The paper man started walking away from me. His flat back was covered in blue ink.

Starting to run, I called for him again. I’ve only seen him a couple times, and I had always thought he was a myth. A man made of paper? Too ridiculous.

My sneakers beat on the pavement; tiny bits of glass crackled under them as I tried to catch up. Finally, my hand touched his crinkled shoulder and I spun him around. Something as light as him should blow away. He looked at me, or at least I think he looked at me. My eyes gazed around his blank, white face, looking for the place where our eyes would meet, if he had any. There was nothing, no eyes, no ears, no nose, no mouth, just paper. Paper.

 

He leaned forward, his whole body crinkling up as he reached for a pack of matches that had blown to our feet on the ground. With his feeble, flimsy fingers, he carefully picked out a match and struck it, and struck it, and struck it, till the flame caught hold in the blowing wind.

I saw him hold the match up, above his head. I saw him touch the flame to his brow, and it burned like a halo. Down and down the halo traveled, till his neck was swallowed, his torso, and then to two, ashy legs that fell limp and blew away with the dust.

All that was left was the sting of the wind and the smell of burnt paper.

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