By Hook or By Crook: A Tale of Adventure Surviving Child Abuse
She gave your stuffed bunny. The bunny you left behind, along with Lucy's squashed bug of a body.
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Cody punched the dash when you told him she died. If he knew her, then--oh, oh poor Cody. Don't eat the meat, your baby said that in your last dream. Don't drink the milk. Do I have to repeat myself each time or what? Cody knew Lucy. Lucy worked with Cody to find mills. Lucy snuck into a mill to spy. Lucy ate something that killed her.
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The special food? You shake your head, no, no, you are not going there.
The Clinic, Adams, the special food, they can't be bad things! They gave you your baby! The strength in your legs give and you roll onto your back. You sit up and hug your belly for strength. Keep listening, you have to know everything you can.
Don't panic. Hutch is empty. Don't panic, listen. You cradle the dead dandelion in your hands and listen. These ugly crumbs of information, you don't want them. But you listen, you must listen. You came up with this test, you don't get to bitch about it.
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Then, without breaking contact, he rips out the cord. Tears it out from the root, wires snapping, bleeding. He winds up his arm and pitches the handset into the air. It sails, the spiral metal casing on the cord dissolving, dial tone shrieking. Your stomach drops as it crashes among the trees. You stay seated as he walks up the drive, clapping the dirt from his hands. He stoops down before you. You reveal the dandelion, head smashed, stem mangled into a knot. Cody cups your open hands with his.
He picks the flower up by the stem end and lets it drop into the grass. Lifts you to your feet.
Rubs the blood from your palms. His hands are hard and cold, and you wait for them to snap and crush you. How old is he, your age, older? You angle your body to meet his gaze, your face clear of hair, and he falters a step. You push forward, stealing another inch of his personal space.
If you want to be nice, then say sorry. His chest is as hard as his icy hands. There is no give to his flesh. He laughs, "Sorry! He is laughing at you, he isn't scared, he isn't bothered, he doesn't care. You're a joke to him. A cornered mouse chittering at a cat. Please, please don't! Can't you see I'm angry? Can't you see I'm scared?! You kick at him, flail and slap his face, and it does nothing. You're trapped. Fucking chill. He carries up to the cabin and you squirm, you scream. He might hurt you, you dumb girl, you and the baby. You need to be careful! You're stuck in a pathetic loop, curled tight in his hold.
He's kidnapped you! Please, help us.
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You exit the gas station's office, your black bike helmet tucked in the crook of your arm. The ambulance lights flash in the windows, casting the front with pulses of red and blue. Behind you, the manager weeps in silence, face down on her desk. She turns her head away and croaks, "When will the crying stop? She tears at her hair, "What have you done to me? Explaining things more would take time, and you're running late enough already. Please, help us! You shut the door behind you, feeling the click of the lock more than hearing it. You truly are sorry.
You make your way over to the counter, stepping over a paramedic on the way. He sobs his thanks and your hands ball into fists.
Men always seem to mistake your gifts for absolution. He says more and, like with the manager, you ignore him. You hop over the counter. Your boot skids in blood and you grab at the cigarette case for support. Steadied, you inhale, your leather jacket creaking as your chest rises.