In the Summer We Remember Winter

They wrapped you in chains you could have shrugged off like cobwebs and cracked the ice to sink you in the pond next to the old kennels. You watched their shadows pass away as you settled to the bottom, blood heavy in your belly like the stone they tied to your ankles, lungs flat and empty until the water wormed its way in, surrounded by the scattered bones of the dogs no one needed.

You could have, easily enough, fought your way free, at any point from when they kicked open the door of your basement, but what would be the point? One spot was as good as another.

The sun rises and they gather to stare at you through the ice, and you play dead, or close enough; eyes opened and unfocused, chest still, stirred by the current. They count themselves successful, save one child, hypnotized with dread, who lingers. You close your right eye slowly: a knowing wink. They gasp and run off and you hear the sound of distant laughter. You were legend enough to kill, but not legend enough to believe in.

Still, you remember the child’s face; they will be worth looking up when the pond and memories have thawed. Faith should be justified.

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