Volume 2, Issue 3, September 30, 2007|
by B.J. Anderson
I hate children. I hate their absolute honesty, their shameless horror at the sight of me. I hate it when they point and scream, "Mommy, look at him!" I hate their glistening eyes and perfect fingers, their flawless skin and angelic voices. I am even more appalled that my reaction to this wiggling ball of flesh I've found is the same reaction children have towards me. Horror, nausea, sick fascination. My God, I'm just like them--maybe worse--for I know better.
A waxy layer of curd-like vernix crusts her wrinkled flesh Lemon yellow patches mottle her white skin, and her eyes are like black pin pricks. She looks like a grub. I want to look away, but I can't. I should drown her. Throw her in a bag with a brick and toss her in the river like an unwanted cat. I would be doing her a favor. She will have nothing in life. She will be mocked, ridiculed, teased relentlessly. She will pray for death, maybe even take her life in the end. Wouldn't I be dead now had I the guts to end it?
She blinks those infinitesimal eyes and a smile curls her almost nonexistent lips. She is too young to be smiling. She will face so much misery in life, yet I can't throw her out like my father did me, like some bits of cold fries or a crumpled wad of toilet paper. I will keep her in my one-room, run-down shack with the boarded windows and ratty shag carpet. She won't have to go to school and she'd be some company, if I can bring myself to look at her.
"I want to go to school."
I lower my book to look at her. The shabby patchwork dress the neighbor bought her at a yard sale clashes with her now-gamboge splotches. Ridiculously long arms hang nearly to her calves and she's never grown more than three tufts of black hair on her wrinkled head. My God, they will be merciless if she goes to school. They will run away like lambs from wolves, screaming "freak!" or "monster!".
"No, Dana. You wouldn't like it."
Sharp elbows jut out as she places her stick-like fingers on her hips. "How do you know? Have you ever been to school?"
"Once. A long time ago. It was miserable." That, of course, is an understatement. The little bastards nearly stoned me to death before the teacher intervened. I do not want that for Dana. She deserves better, much better.
"Well, I'm going. Whether you like it or not."
I sigh in defeat. She will soon learn the cruelty of children.
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The Chrysalis (pdf)
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