sixteen (candlewicking)

by nike, September 23, 2014

candlewickingNow, don’t go supposing I’m messed in the head, like the others. I may be blind, but I’m not stupid. I know there are plenty of us who are a bit cracked, but not I. Not I.

They first made themselves known when I was four, or maybe five. Candlewicking, my mother called it. The way they’d come pilling up through my skin. A pretty series of bumps in the skin of my belly, or winding up the inside of my arm. First, they learned to write my name. Then they asked questions: what is colour? who is the sky?

I did my best to say.

Ma thought it was me, tricksing. She tried to scrub them away, but they were in me. Of me, even. Then she read in the paper that a sightless city boy was showing the signs, too. His family had thought him blessed, and taken him to see a priest, but wicking was no blessing from an old-world God.

They had written on him what they wrote on me: we walk by faith not by sight. Over and over. Down his spine and round his throat. A bracelet incantation.

And then he set out walking, sightless and alone. And I did, too.


  • […] This is the second post from a work-in-progress called (tentatively) ‘Candlewick’. You can read the first extract here. […]

  • […] ‘Candlewick’ will be forthcoming in the next issue of Fourteen Hills: The San Francisco State University Review. This story was the result of one of the 200 words/200 days pieces I’ve been posting online. You can read the starter here. […]

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