Site icon Alexander Hammil

Only Child Lost

The ceiling she festooned with dead roses, plastic forks melted and twisted into mannikins, bright streamers, toys she found and repainted. Over her bed she planted a lego forest, populating the plastic glens with cheerful, blank-faced yellow lumberjacks, toothless and rounded bears and wolves, working until her arms ached and vertigo pitched her over onto the mattress. Mornings, she hung upside down over her jungle, vast, like a stormfront.

“Argh,” said her mother. “I hate coming into your room. I’m always afraid I’m going to lose an eye.”

“So don’t come in,” she said. “It’s my room, anyway. What do you need in there?”

“Don’t be that way, Eve,” pouted her mother, and changed the subject.

She shaped a path on the carpet with tape and began to build a city. Skyscrapers four feet tall, built from sheet metal she found at junkyards, the bottoms of old coke bottles, red and white LEDs from RadioShack. She smudged faces into the windows, figures, domestic scenes and violent.

“Where are you going with all this, Eve?” said her mother, standing in the doorway, a crease sharp between her shaggy eyebrows.

“Get out,” Eve snarled, and glared at her until she left. She straightened up awkwardly, and stretched, her shadow spreading over the city.

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