Turning Out Leather

A Twisted Tale by Steve Sibra

I awaken and I sleep and I do not know the difference between the two.  In one realm my wife and children have been brutalized and left to die; they have been sewn up, stitched into leather tubes while still alive.  I hear the screams.  But do I hear them in reality, or in a dream?  I pray it is the dream.  But I cannot tell.

The rhythm of Amber’s screaming lulls me into sleep.  Or am I already there?  I dream that I have gone to the kitchen for some applesauce, only to find that a naughty puppy has eaten all of it.  Or is this real, and the other a dream?

I sleep and I awaken, over and over again.  Some monster is sewing up my wife, just as he sewed up my son and daughter.  They were alive; the heavy leather cords bound them tight as their horrible screams were muffled and finally silenced.  I was asleep through all of it.  I know I was.  And yet I heard it.  I heard the monster doing his work.  I heard him eating my baby’s limbs.  I heard the slobber, the lips smacking.

I awaken to find my wife, my Amber.  At least I think it is her.  It is a dark twisted tube of leather.  It is so thick, so dry.  How is it possible?  I hear footsteps in another room.  I hear a man whistling!  He whistles a tune that I used to enjoy when I worked in my garden, with my tools.  I hear him sawing.  He is using a saw of some sort.  The rhythm of it could put a person to sleep.

I will fall asleep again and when I awaken Amber will be gone.  Then the only one left is me.   Somehow I am making this happen.  There is no one else, there cannot be.  I am turning out leather and it is my wife, my children.  I am sewing buttons over their eyes, using an elaborate stitch that I learned somewhere.  But where?  When?  I fall asleep again and dream of applesauce.  And when I awaken next time . . . I have been made into leather.  I have done it to myself.  I know that I have.  There is no one else. There is no one else.  I must find out what is happening.  I know what I must do, as soon as I am awake.

I am going to find that naughty puppy.  And I am going to sew him up.  I am going to make him into a tight ball of leather.   I am hungry and I really would like some applesauce.


Steve Sibra grew up on a farm in eastern Montana near a town of about 800 people.  He made his own set of encyclopedias in fourth grade.  After dropping out of law school he opened a comic book store and has made his living buying and selling old comic books for over 30 years.  Steve’s poetry chapbook, “The Turtle Is Not A Metaphor”, was published this year by Three Frogs Swimming Press, and his work has appeared in numerous literary journals including Jersey Devil Press and Jawline Review.  He lives in Seattle.

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