Friday, June 4, 2010

Fiction Friday: Mabel, Part 2

Click here to read Mabel, Part 1

Mabel’s head swirled as she tried to understand what he was saying. Finally, the effort to remain standing was too great and she fell into his arms. Confused and foggy, but still upset about the birds, Mabel felt herself being lifted and carried across their yard. Her eyes fluttered closed as the sun blazed against her face. She tipped her head forward against Hank’s arm to keep it from bouncing around.

Eventually, she heard Hank’s boots walk up a set of wooden stairs and kick open a door. “Mama!” Hank hollered, “You here?”

Mabel mumbled, “I’m tellin’ your mama about them birds.”

Hank laid her carefully on the sofa. Mabel opened her eyes and saw a dark stain on Hank’s shirt sleeve. “Did you shoot yourself, you fool?”

“No Mabel. This is your blood.”

Mabel raised a shaky hand and felt a warm, wet spot on the side of her head. Pulling her hand away, she could see the dark evidence of fresh blood on her fingertips. Eyes wide, she raised both of her hands up and could also see streaks of dried blood all over them. Her breath quickened as she stared, confused.

Hank returned – when had he left? – carrying a basin filled with water and a washcloth. He dabbed the wet cloth onto her head and she flinched, looking at him in terror.

“Shhh, it’s okay,” he soothed. “It’s going to be okay.”

Mabel numbly stared at his worried face as he continued to wipe the dark blood off her head. There was pain to be sure, but somehow it felt as distant as the gunshot she’d heard not so long ago.

“Why were you shooting those birds, Hank? What did they ever do to you?

“I wasn’t shooting at the birds, Mabel. I was trying to scare them out of the tree. My daddy got tired of being shat on all the time is all.”

Mabel pictured the birds flying through the air after each shot. Flailing their arms in fear, attempting to make sense of this new threat. Many flew off, never looking back, but several circled the tops of the trees and eventually returned. Like fools. Not knowing the threat was still there. That there’d be another gunshot soon. It didn’t end.

“What happened to you, Mabel?” Hank asked gently, still cleaning up her wound. Mabel closed her eyes, attempting to conjure up and answer, but she had none. Her mind was blank. All she could see were birds. She shook her head and looked at Hank, eyes filled with sadness yet empty at the same time.

“I don’t know.” And with that, Mabel slipped into unconsciousness. Slipped into a welcome darkness. And for the first time that day, she felt peace.

(To be continued...)

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