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Dog Catching in Space

Autor:   •  October 26, 2018  •  3,105 Words (13 Pages)  •  78 Views

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but soft and pulled up a small one, claws and antennae waggling. I let it walk on my hand to explore, then let it bite me and felt the little tickle run up my spine.

“Dump it,” he said to me, and I turned. “It’s too small.” I tilted my hand sideways and let it fall.

By the time I crawled from the river bed Anita stood tapping her foot at the edge. I was supposed to help with the dishes.

In the kitchen I carried plates from the basin to the cabinet, and didn’t drop one. Anita wouldn’t let me hold the knives anymore, but I was getting tall enough to reach them myself.

“Put these on for dinner,” and I tottered into the dining room under plates, spoons in my back pocket when Anita wasn’t looking, and wiping the mud off them on my leg before putting them next to the soup bowls. “Your mother—” Anita caught me and sent me back to wash them off new myself, and I run the water and watch through the open door the sun go down until Anita calls me and I drip dry the spoons until they look clean. I walk to the dinner table and mother is already there in her feather dressing gown and pale look, and I try to set the spoons down real quiet and thin, like her, and my footsteps are silent pads on the grass of Willow creek. Mother sniffs at me with a faint smile and I try to make a dignified smile, the like she lectures me about, with my lips pursed thin together like her strings. Dinner is silent and dirty spoons clink on delicate china but no one notices, Mother, Arthur, Jimmy, Sam, Benny and me all quiet and sipping soup from the mud of Willow creek. I sit quiet hands in my lap, seen and not heard, and mother looks approvingly but I still don’t feel like I used to.

Anita turned and walked away from the light, into the hallway, and mother just sat and stared at the bed whatever lay there. My arm hurt and little dots of blood came up and I tried to push them back in and away, to undo it.

The morning was hot ‘fore I even got out in it. Anita pushed me out of the house at ten, telling me to run along, but stay out of the creek, my mother’ll have me if I get myself muddy one more time for supper. So I wandered down into town feeling the sweat trickle down the backs of my thighs and listening to the quiet of the birds. They don’t sing when it got this hot, only just sit still on their branches. I thought about climbing up to them and sharing their shade but climbing would just make it hotter. I limped down the dust of Side Street, scuffing shoes Anita made me wear. (My foot pulled up close to her face she tried to prise the nail from my sole, while I squirmed. Malcolm brought some bandages and ointment that she dabbed and wrapped tight around all the way up to my toes and told me from then on I was wearing shoes, whether I wanted or not. I scowled at her and wriggled my foot from her grip, but running off made me wince, and the day after and today I wore my shoes.)

The sun snuck up hard on behind me and town wiggled in the heat, buildings far off dancing like they were on fire. Main Street was empty except for Mr. Albert sitting on the General’s front stoop mopping at his face and holding the door wide with his back leaned up against it. I limped over, searching my pockets vainly for a penny. Mr. Albert took pity on me, maybe from the limp, and gave me half a free peppermint. I sucked it and headed for the creek, forbidden but the only place to get cool. Tommy and Cole sat on the edge squeezing bullfrogs. Tommy looked up and saw me and I could see the heat in his eyes. I smelled the honeysuckle. I turned to find him leaning hard on a branch, bare legs dangling like browned stalks. He leered hard at me like maybe he was considering me and in his eyes I saw the glazed malice of bored heat.

Swinging a leg over he dropped down lightly, acrobatically, in only his damp shorts made me tremble. But his eyes I couldn’t look to, something dangerous in them. I felt a poke and whirled. Tommy with a stick grimaced.

“Saw your mother today whelp.” I turn back to him pleading for a closed mouth when I get there. His lips hang loose open and he uses them again.

“All white made up in her get up. Out with that Mr. Wilson.” I shake my head, show my hands, empty bare of blame.

“Whelp.” Tommy this time but I don’t turn again to look, I won’t let them spin me, and I know where the danger is. I look in his eyes and my nostrils fill with sickly sweet pungent honeysuckle.

“Saw her out last week with that Mr. Wallace. And before that Mr. Smith.” I shake my head again but there is nowhere to back away from now Cole circles with them.

“My daddy says it’s an abomination,” chimes Cole with the rest out of the corner of my eye.

“Ain’t your momma(?) got no sense of God?” He asks like it was a question, like I had an answer. I only show him the white of my palms again, skin stretched tight over bent backward wrists. He stoops down fast, swoops in and in his hand when he rises a rock, dripping moss, hovers. Tommy watches and I see him grin and stoop. I can’t see Cole but I know his hand too is full. And I try to back away but they encircle and twirl around me like they know, like they have an answer. “Aint you some kind of saint?” His arm comes up fast backward and before I can open my mouth to tell them I’m no saint he pitches forward and the rock hits my shoulder. It hits hard and leaves a cut in my shirt and I put my hand up to cover the hole. And then from behind another in the small of my back and then on my hip hard, and they hurt, they hurt. And another in my stomach loses me my breath and then his hand rises up and the pointy jagged end hits my temple and my head snaps back. My knees buckle. And I fall down dark.

Sitting up high in the tree I saw mother rub her hands together over and over, scrubbing scrubbing like to wash away the white, srubbing until the red comes over the white. My hands are red and then I know, suddenly instantly, what’s in the bed and why Anita looks so sad and I let go and fall off, open mouth down backwards,.

I woke up and my face was hot and sticky red. My back hurt when I sat up, my stomach clenched. I walked home in heavy shoes, limped and palm pressed on my forehead, white on red. I came in through the back door to the kitchen and Malcolm saw me first and his face fell open. Anita fretted and mothered at me, dabbing at the cut and batting my hand away when I tried to feel it. She pasted a bandage on it but it wouldn’t stop bleeding she said, muttered over and over under her breath it won’t stop bleeding. So she had Malcolm bring her a needle and thread, and first he bought green and she slapped


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