Tell A Tale in 500 Words

Little One By katharine elliott

What do you know of violence, little one? Have fear and fury seeped into your blood as each day you took form?

Hush hush they say, can’t look at me directly, must look at the floor, old brown lino and scuffed-up skirting. Can’t open my right eye. Reach my fingers behind my head sticky blood in my hair, there’s a raw patch hurts more than the rest, think that’s where my scalp has come away. Reach your arm out to me softly kindly guide me as though I am maimed. Lead me down yellow-lit acid corridors to the doctor’s room. Let me look at you dear, it’s over now. She’s white and silver, an apparition. Click click take pictures of my swollen face. You don’t have to look into the lens but if you can it helps to piece together what happened. Latex gloves, paintbrush, pieces of happened. Paper sheets an ornament to fractured dignity. Cotton wool buds screw in test tubes. Put me back together, paint me in orange and red. Sleep. Wake. Dig my fingernails into my palms makes nice smooth crescent moons of crimson blood.

Do you hear me screaming at night little one? Quiet footsteps on the asphalt chased me into my dreams. Hush my darling, my father, his face is wet.

Come on now pet, drink some tea. Today is harder than tomorrow shall be.

You play vigorously whilst I lie numb.

They told me that if I was very good then they would deal with you, wake me up and set me free. Arms of ether hold me down while they seek you out unsuspecting in your safe haven. After it’s done they reassemble you, lest an elbow or an ear left behind may putrefy. Like a tic, you must extract it from the roots. Do not hate. Whoever hates is in the darkness. I have lost my way in this dark forest where each tree leans down to me and whispers incantations of loathing and also of the purest love there is.

What should I tell you of him when you ask? Should I tell you that sometimes when you flexed your new limbs, your free will already apparent, I wondered if they would take the shape of his feet and hands? Should I tell you that he was tall and strong and that he outran me once in the sepia streetlight with whisky on his heavy breath? Scratched my teeth tasted the concrete pavement. Tried to bite his meaty fingers. Arms. Twisted. Sinews. Torn. Waited. Until. He. Finished.

But in my dreams you are bouncing on my hip, looking upon me with wide and trusting eyes that see the world in all its colours. I see you playing in the long grass, and you are perfect, pure, a great dividing rain to replenish the fired earth and I am baptized anew. You reach out a gentle hand to me and I shall try to reach you.

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