Grandma sat on the steps with me, not to spend time but to show me mercy. “You stink, little man.” she coughed. “Are there a lot of bugs on me?” I asked. “Yes, but that can’t be helped. It’s been five weeks now.” My eyes were like dust, reduced to powder with a slight lime tint. I imagined my appearance inside my mind and shuddered.
There were three small girls chasing each other through the prairie. I wiped my dirty tears as I imagined I was them, they were me, three souls in one body. “I wish I had triple lives.” I said. “We were supposed to go to the Winter Pow Wow together. I swore I’d have the courage to dance this year.” “You’re too shy and you know it, boy.” Grandma laughed. I bowed my head in shame, though I could still see faint glimpses of the children’s silhouettes running through the tall grass.
Grandma stood up to rub flowers on my body. I released a mournful cry when a piece of my cheek chipped off. “So ugly.” My voice shivered. “How do you stand me?” “Don’t worry. We’ll bury you one day. For now, let me smear pollen on your wounds. You’ll surprise many insects.”
The three kids were coming back. They were screaming, their faces frantic. I rushed towards them, wishing I could comfort them, but my leg snapped, and they grew even more terrified. “Wait! I just want to know what’s wrong and fix it!” I shouted. My voice sounded like a beast, hoarse and full of sorrow and rage.
I fell to the ground, leg hanging from my hip bone, ready to fall into the earth. I giggled and sobbed beneath the pale pink sky, a swarm of gnats around me. A bumble bee sucked at the wound on my cheek. I wondered if flowers would bloom from me or if I’d be an un-buried monster forever.
About the author:
Ashlie Allen writes fiction and poetry. She also enjoys photography. Her work has appeared in Spelk, Cease Cows, Juked and others. Her favorite wine is Merlot. https://ashlieallenfictionwriterandpoet.wordpress.com/