Bewildering Stories

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Made It Way Up

part 15: Kelly

by Ian Donnell Arbuckle

Part 14 appears in this issue.


I’ll feed you more when he turns the light out for me. He does when he goes out.

They made me go to bed. Not just dad, like sometimes. Go to bed, Kell. No, it was both of them, one after the other. Because it was nine.

Nine died, too. I didn’t look at him enough and now I really don’t want to. I buried him out back. He didn’t get a cross or nothing. I didn’t want to have to look at it. I’ll forget where I buried him. I even asked Essa to make the grass grow over him. She wouldn’t do it. And she wouldn’t teach me how. She just looked at me funny and told me to go to bed. Not then, but after.

I’m tired of going to bed. I don’t get sleepy. My blankets get all hot when I lie still for too long so then when I really am ready to go to sleep I’m too uncomfortable to do it. Then I need a drink of water.

Last night, I went into daddy’s room to ask if it was all right. He wasn’t there, but that’s a so what. I called over to Essa’s house to ask if it was all right. I let it ring fifteen times. And when she answered, she said, May I already be a winner, and dad made a chirping strangled noise in the background. It might have been a laugh.

He shouldn’t turn off all the lights when he goes over. It’s hard to find our place in the dark. There’s the hill back near somewhere where Nine got buried and it looks black at night and our house looks invisible in front of it. I tripped over the porch last night and it got me with a splinter. Not one of the ones that sticks straight up and down that you can grab. Going to sleep didn’t help that, either. Like they think it will.

What did I learn about today? She didn’t take me to school, now. I learned that when you bend grass over it doesn’t break. I learned that spiders can tell you’re not a fly when you play with their webs. I learned that there is a pink moon. Dad left his music out. I didn’t spend that much time outside. I sat real hard around the launch site and concentrated just on one little piece of dirt but it didn’t even turn a little green. I let my eyes go crossed and tried not to blink until the colors in my eyes were jumping around and dancing and things started to disappear and I thought, This is what it feels like, but still nothing happened. So I went back inside to listen to daddy’s music. He was with her.

They want me to go to sleep, always. Because I’m not supposed to cry when I get a sliver. That’s a lie. I saw daddy crying. It made me stop.

He called me smartie. I hate that. I hate that he touches my hair when he says it. I hate that the blankets smell like heat and make me cough and it’s all my fault. I could run away. I tried that once. I didn’t get very far. It took the whole day. The house was invisible when we finally got back. I woke up just enough to pull my nose out of his flannel and see that I couldn’t see it. That morning he started out calling me princess and ended up calling me sweetie. Oh he doesn’t give a damn about me. I think I’d better go to sleep. Besides, I’m having to write smaller now. You’re getting full, my pet poem, and I think it’s just about time to put you away. Where every word means something, she said.

It’s not that bad tonight. Kinda cold. And the blankets smell like it. I’m going to go to sleep, and sleep like I did when he carried me home. They can’t tell me to fuck off when I already am.

To be continued...

Copyright © 2004 by Ian Donnell Arbuckle

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