Word of the Day: Dalles

Word of the Day: Dalles

In this series, I will take the Word of the Day from Dictionary.com and craft a short piece of creative writing around it.  My goal is to embrace the meaning of the word in some unique way, all the while trying out different styles, rhythms and characterizations.  It is as much an exercise in creativity as it is an exploration of grammar. Enjoy!

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By Alex Seise

They flung themselves through the alleyways and brickwork that separated the buildings from the bungalows, colliding and cracking with speed-induced clumsy chaos.

Each fell from the sky, once; now, the clouds who birthed them and hammered them into intricate glazed weaves were little more than distantly distended mothers, care-free monsters who’d tossed their charges toward the cold, rocky ground. “There’ll be more,” they whispered as they flung the flakes with post-partum disinterest. “None exactly like you, but more close enough. Alone, you do not matter; you only melt.” The clouds’ hushed musings iced colder and even harsher than the gray reaches of the stratosphere where they hung.

But as the crystals tumbled through the civilization, racing along looping suspended urban dalles and dancing perilously close to the shovel-shaved paths lined with crunchy pearl salt and flows of thick, gooey gray sludge, they did not care about melting; they cared only about mattering.

“One matters little.” Their words echoed in a chorus of a trillion. “But we are many.”

The state of emergency lasted exactly six hours that night. Of the eight plows that scoured the small Midwestern town’s streets, only seven returned home; one slid on an icy patch. The red truck collided directly into a gnarly gray elm, snapping its bright yellow scraper in the process and rendering the vehicle powerless against the snow.

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