The words over at Three Word Wednesday are buckle, evade, wedge.
He stands at the edge of a vast field, swaying gently. Wearily.
The earth here has been tilled, right up to the man’s scuffed and dust-caked military-styled boots. The richness of the soil perfumes the air, a musky sensuality. A luxuriance of wet and grass and manure; heavy organic.
The man is dressed in a wool sweater; there are holes under one arm and where the wool has been looped to the collar. At the wrists, the fibers have become unbunched; they are ragged and soiled, small dreadlocks of wool.
His undershirt has been sweat-soaked and dried in numerous cycles. It is threadbare. Once white, it now has the color of corn silk, or sail canvas.
He wears jeans, which are held to his withered and emaciated frame by a slim leather belt. It’s a dress belt with a brass buckle that still manages to shine. The leather was once cordovan, but it’s been beaten down to something resembling old blood.
The denim has gone soft and white in places, where the navy dye decided to just give up. Holes, ragged, are open over both knees, which are bony and bare. Stress holes have opened near the back pockets; where the pants meet the boots, the hem has been reduced to frayed cotton.
The man’s deep brown eyes, sunken into bony cheeks, give his face a skeletal appearance. Albeit one with a thick, dark and curly beard that covers his face, his neck, down to the tattered collar of his sweater. A watch cap, black with the logo of a pro sports team, is wedged tight on his head, helping to keep his long, greasy-brown hair from blowing in the wind.
He is tall. He is thin. Shed the tattered clothing and he would stand there, hands covered his maleness in shamed modesty, white as the belly of dead fish. Each rib would stand out, willing you to count them, out loud.
He has journeyed long. His travels have taken him far a field. He has learned to evade. He has managed to survive.
To the edge of this vast field.
This expanse that has been plowed, its rich tang now clinging to the man’s nostrils, the greasy-brown hair, the tattered clothing.
His right hand rises, hesitates, and is thrust forward. Fingertips touch the twisted, rusted metal. A barb pierces his index finger, but the man does not flinch.
He turns his hand over and watches as the dot of blood goes from a pin-prick to a dome of red. Gravity takes over and the blood runs at an angle, across his other digits.
The man looks up. He looks across the vastness of the field.
And looks down to the fence, where a sign hangs. Its newness, fresh red paint on a white background, clashes with the twisted wreckage of the barbed wire fencing. He reads, the words forming silently on wind-chapped lips.
“TRESSPASSERS WILL BE SHOT DEAD; THE WOUNDED WILL BE SHOT AGAIN.”
His right hand rises to his hip, where the blood smears the little coin pocket of his jeans as he wipes.
He purses his lips, licks them. He exhales a great breath through his nose, a huff.
A single tear rolls down his cheek.