The first time I saw her I was sitting in my Tercel eating Quizno's. The peppercorn ranch was all over my face because the blonde bitch who packed it didn't give me napkins.

At first I only saw intermittent spots of light. It flickered like a beacon from behind the bars of the jungle gym. I watched with intrigue until I realized it was a child, playing amongst the toys in the playground. The little girl's wisps of fine auburn hair had escaped the barrette above her tiny ears, and shown like golden thread when she danced through the sunlight. It was extremely cold that day, but it was a bright and clear sky, the frost covered grass was lit like it were fairy dust. I playfully pretended she were the fairy.

She wore acid washed jeans, a cute, red puffy plaid jacket with a furry, brown collared hood. Her cheeks were round and glowing of childish provocation and content. It was simultaneously adorably attracting, and disgusting; like the revealing models on the magazine covers at the grocery store check-out. I pretentiously rehashed a common question of human woe in my mind, wondering why we bequeath our soul to the trampling feet of society. I concluded that the obviously absent parent was likely serving their soul at that very instant, perhaps chatting absently on her Motorola Razor in the shallow confines of her stardust-green 98 Volkswagen Beetle, forgetting about this beautiful angel laying backside on the merry-go-round, staring into the endless blue sky; so vulnerable and naive.

I walked across the grassy field, and sat down on an icy bench under a leafless oak tree. She got up from the merry-go-round, and skipped past towards the slide to my left, and climbed the metal stairs to the top. I told her to be careful, and she responded with a smile. Her eyes were a silvery blue. She took the plunge, and slid slowly to the base, her furry boots stopping short of the end. I asked her how old she was.

"Eight!" she says proudly, standing up with a jump. She held eight tiny gloved fingers to her rosy cheeks; she giggled as a gust of wind blew her hair across her face.

I am sitting in the darkest corner of the room. The light reaches the grey skin of my cheeks and stops like I denied its truth, and my acquisition squirms as though waking up from a bad dream and remembering it were real. I focus on her sweet androgynous body. Her skin has grown shiny with filth and grime, her hair matted and pulled back behind her ears. Track-marking tears have left revealing streaks down her face and neck, cutting through the dirt. They dodge her collarbones and unite on her nape, dancing amongst the filth like she did in the park. I consider to treat the scrapes and bruises along her chest and legs, but I can't bring myself to touch it anymore.

The tiny wrists have grown swollen and red, and despite her efforts to free herself from the bindings, she'd not made any progress. I get up from the darkness, and she begins to scream, but no one can hear us.


Travis said...

That was the single creepiest thing anyone I know has ever written but at the same time probably one of the most finely crafted.
"A late summer day and it's sunny outside and a red little girl's at the top of the slide and an orange old man at the bottom wants to take her for a ride."

Travis said...

I also really love that photo.