|Repose Remembers (reposeremembers) wrote in repose,|
@ 2020-04-11 01:28:00
|Entry tags:||atticus mcvickers, plot: memories|
Will characters be viewing the memory or experiencing it?:Experiencing it
Warning, this memory contains: Minor violence
There are four ants in a procession. You’re lying flat on your belly in the dust, and your shirt is mussed something terrible but you thought you saw the cat creep under the deck and lurk, eyes like pennies in the dark cool within and lay down to see. It’s hot out, the earth has baked all day and the air is tight, stretched like a drum-skin. It’s the hot before a storm, hot as sin your momma would have said and your stomach cramps tight on the recollection, clenched like a fist.
It’s quiet out here. It’s never quiet in the house, some kid is always yelling and a baby screams intermittent under the noise of the TV set, flipped between some preacher talking about sin and hellfire and the news. You’re used to it now. It hasn’t been quiet any place you’ve been the last three places and the one quiet place was real bad. That memory doesn’t clench, it pierces like a piece of glass lodged in your throat. You remember the quiet dark feeling like a promise, a threat. This much noise, this many kids you’re not ever going to be on your own in the dark, you sleep with a couple other bodies packed into the room, the heavy sound of breathing a comfort.
The ants are real busy shuffling through the dirt and you can see the cat blink in the recess under the deck, the gleam of her eyes winking as your eyes adjust to peering underneath, the glare of the hot sun overhead beating down on the back of your neck. You can smell drying grass and the baked smell of the earth and the vague mustiness of the space under the house.
Your daddy said once that no man ever became a man without taking some licks. By any account, you ought to be a full man grown. You hear them come. They ain’t trying to make themselves quiet and all of them are bigger than you. Fed on boredom and the kind of mean that comes of leaving kids to their selves without anybody, even a television preacher, to show ‘em right from wrong. Your daddy’s threat to spank your ass was threat enough to stay in line, but these kids don’t remember a daddy, if they ever had one.
They’re three. “What you doing?” The cat blinks, like signalling she don’t want you to give away her hiding place. The one kid, the boy talking, he’s mean. You think that cat knows that boy’s mean the hard way, the knowing way. You roll over, sit with your back to the deck. “Nothing.” You ain’t doing nothing, except watching them ants.
The kid jeers. Looks down at what you were watching, the trail of ants. “Real fucking dirty,” he says, in disgust, and he lifts his foot and before you can do a thing about it, he stamps real hard on the line of those ants, busy working their way back to their home. You let out a sound, protest maybe, and the kid lifts his foot back, looks at you a hot second to think about it, before he lets his foot fly. You got that boiling feeling inside, the way it stirs up like liquid.
Your daddy said no man ever became a man without taking licks, but he also showed you how to give ‘em. You throw yourself at the kid, knowing it won’t do a thing, knowing they’ll lick you harder than you lick them. But the cat, way back in the dark, don’t make a squeak, she don’t make a run for it, she sits way back there. Safe. Your nose stings, your eyes are full of water, and there’s blood on your shirt mixed with the brick-dust red of the dirt.