Rondo

darkness-has-crept-in-the-midnight-hour-james-christopher-hill

(excerpt from “Silver Bottle”)

 

Death was in a hurry and dressed in in the wrong clothes and Lizzie, in defiant anger, pounds her heels against the stone. An old lady outfit, navy with dyed buttons and lace at each cuff. The sleeves are the problem. Lizzie has come back mobile but not limber; her fingers too stiff to fold. She pushes the sleeves past her elbows, where they rest, bunched.

Her brow is clear and her limbs are firm. Her hair, illumined by moonlight, bursts with a thousand strawberries. Lizzie is a redhead, and she’d look young if she weren’t dead.

Here’s another oddity. Her eyes are all pupil, dilated into saucers and unblinking. She looks around, like a returning tourist trying to remember where she’s been.

Now she knows, and she holds out her arms, hoping to feel the wind on her skin. She peers around, head jerking in a counter clockwise motion, stopping at the end of her grave. 

Where the girl sprawls.

A cloud plagued moon pulls free, and now a pool of moonlight encircles them both. Light holds Lizzie in time and the girl to the moment. Between them is the silver bottle.

Lizzie’s face forms a near expression. Her hands go to her throat, tearing off a corsage of rotted cloth flowers. She rips the shirtwaist, and darkness pours out, at variance with the night. 

The girl looks to the sky as if sensing rain. There’s no rain, just wind. 

Bones, suddenly eager, rattle below ground like crackerjacks.

Hunker down, doll face.

Everybody’s got a story. 

 

 

 

 

 

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