The blood they shed.
The pain they endured.
The evil that still walked free.
It was all I saw. Those memories, my childhood—the images.
Torment turned to blinding rage. Hate sought revenge, which pursued death.
Then there was life.
dripped down the side of my face, collecting in the collar of my shirt. The
heat was almost unbearable, but I didn’t want to be inside. Mom was away for
work again—this time for a full week—and Dad was stuck in front of the
television set watching another football game. I hated it when Mom was gone,
because my dad didn’t really know how to handle me. He had no problem bonding
with my brother, but where I was concerned, he acted completely clueless. So
Sundays became the day I’d take a book and sit in the back yard beneath a tree.
I brought my water bottle to my lips when something caught my
attention near the privacy fence, separating the houses in the neighborhood and
the wooded area behind it. It ran up the side yard, offering us seclusion to the
house next door. The young woman who lived there often had guests over, which
made my parents uneasy. But now, someone was in her back yard, climbing her
No…not just someone.
His stick-straight hair, the color of sand, hung to the middle of
his ears. But I couldn’t see his face. He had his back to me as he climbed,
just before jumping over to the side filled with trees. His black T-shirt was a
blur. He was there one second and gone the next.
I stared at the barrier, wondering if I could climb over and
follow him. I knew everyone in the neighborhood, but I’d never seen him before.
I glanced over my shoulder and waited a moment, just to make sure my dad or my
brother weren’t on their way out. When I noticed no movement beyond the sliding
glass door, I jumped up and ran as fast as I could. Without second guessing it,
I began to scale the tall slats of the wood.
Once I made it to the top, I looked down and realized it was much
higher on the other side. I’d never been in the wooded area before, and for a
second, I contemplated just going back to my yard. I thought about my book I’d
left beneath the tree and my father who might’ve gone looking for me. But then
I remembered the boy—and I so desperately wanted to find out where he came
Curiosity got the best of me.
I swung my leg over and, with the pace of a sloth, I used the wood
between the slats to lower myself to the ground. Standing on my feet again, I
searched through the trees, hoping to spot the boy with blond hair and a black
But he was nowhere.
I carefully walked farther into the trees on the soft dirt,
keeping as quiet as possible. I didn’t want to venture too far, because I
worried I wouldn’t be able to make it back to my house. From this side, I
couldn’t tell which house was which. So I made sure not to deviate too far from
behind my back yard.
It felt like an hour, but realistically, it was probably closer to
five minutes before I decided to give up. I thought it might’ve been better to
have just waited until he came back. I turned around, ready to head home, when
I spotted him.
Or…he spotted me.
About Leddy Harper