These were more than echoes, the soft sounds I was hearing from the rear of the barn sitting back from Route 182 in Franklin, Maine, half a dozen fat pigs to one side, corn as deep as Iowa on the other side, and the terrain across the road flush with blueberry bushes until a slow rise tipped the landscape in its favor… and in mine. In my son Tim’s favor, too. He lives by this barn. Perhaps I had lived waiting for its sassy voices.
Pineapple yoghurt. Trifle. The last few months he wanted milky things. I bought a bottle of Rémy Martin. He took a sip, made a face. ‘It’s too much now, too strong. I’m sorry,’ he said.
“… bled all over the counter, staining my hands and the floor before I could get it cleaned up,” finished the lanky, slightly dirty, anemic-looking kid ringing me out, unaware, or perhaps undaunted, by the fact that I hadn’t been listening to him.
Fear has seeped into my sixty-year-old bones. Dread is my shadow and accompanies my every step. Terror has hollowed me out, emptied me, leaving me broken and brittle.
“One dollar,” young Earl C. Calder said and looked at the farmer before him transfixed on the small the blue vial Earl held in his hand.
Earl didn’t blink in the mid-day sun, all 110 pounds of himself holding steady next to Ida. The vial of elixir they had emptied the night before still floated through him, but he didn’t flinch, not Madam Wilma T.’s son, born in a brothel and groomed for greatness.
‘I need a lift you see.’
My voice strains to be heard outside Mike’s house. There’s a hot stink of ale chasing him out the door, a cigarette resting along his ear, and a slapped cheek look about his face. He looks down from his considerable height, bolstered by the chunky doorstep. He is a statue on his plinth and I’m a beggar with a crutch.
It was a Monday morning. A village hen clucked at the assembly, looking for its youngling. The school principal, Mister Rakobo, went off with the hen, leaving the assembly divided into several assemblies. The Mocking Birds choral conductor raised a hand, calming the sopranos and tenors that were going this way and that. “Whose mother is that?” inquired some. “Someone must have stolen money or something,” speculated some. “A family death? A bullying case?” Some concluded that this was not the case.