Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Little Sister

I hear my little sister crying upstairs. Ever since our kidnappers brought us to this house, with its austere stone walls and iron-barred windows, we have been separated.

I clutch the poppet my sister dropped in the entryway before our captors hustled her toward the upper floors. A bayonet drove me into a room at street-level.  I watched the door clang shut, the lock clicking in place.

A staircase leads to unknown rooms. The wooden steps probably creak from age. How many feet paraded up and down their levels? How many hands gripped the iron railing?

My kidnappers must have known about the staircase when they locked me in here. I can imagine them toasting each other with beers, laughing at me, while outside the bullets fly and our people become martyrs for the revolution.

I'm one of those victims. A year ago, a tank crushed my legs, crippling me. Those same soldiers raped my sister then blinded her with a bowie knife.

My kidnappers don’t know this doll is a bomb I will soon activate. My sister and I have agreed to die together. I hope she’ll see in heaven. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Calling

The wolf’s howl wafted on the night air through Red’s open tower window. Alone on her cot, she stared at the raftered ceiling as the lupine call penetrated every cell of her person. Fingers tingling, she clenched them against her sides, trying to fight back the desire stirring within her.

Grandmother locked her in this room to keep her safe. The doctor dismissed Red’s condition as hysteria, accompanied by profuse sweating, fever, and tremors of the hands. The strange urges abated during the waning or waxing moons. But when the moon swelled into its new or full phases, the symptoms worsened. Red would thrash about so hard on the stone floor, bruises appeared on her body the next day.

Once, delirious, she’d run naked into the garden. Unable to force open the heavy wrought iron gate or scale the high stone wall, Red had tried to crash through a privet. Instead, branches scraped her skin, drawing blood. When she’d wiped her index finger across a smear and tasted the life force, Grandmother had slapped her across the face. Staggering back, Red had stared at her, unable to understand why the old woman couldn’t accept what had happened.

Neither of them – Grandmother or the doctor – assumed the wolf bite Red incurred was anything but. The wound healed with only a faint scar as a reminder. But it was the inner wound no one saw.