October 17, 2008
It was one of those summer days that you could only know about if you have spent countless hours in the deep south. When you wake up there is a fog creeping up from the woods in an attempt to take over your yard. Yet the fog isn't quite strong enough to break free of the needed supply of warmth and wetness that the closeness of the trees and underbrush provide. You watch it from the confines of the back porch as it slowly gives way and surrenders to drying effects of the rising sun. You know what the day will bring and can smell it, recognizing the scent without effort or even a passing thought because it has become instinctual in your movements and time, already permeating your soul, even at such a tender age. You know that cicadas will sound, your neck will burn, sweat will flow and knees will be skinned, yet not one of these thoughts enters your mind. Innocence of youth can keep many things at bay that later restrict us and keep us from activities that can shape our lives for the better.
Your attention moves from toy to toy in an attempt to figure out what grand adventure you feel like participating in, but the hook doesn't catch, instead you decide to go for the old standby.. the stalking and dismemberment of the younger sibling... You begin the hunt, which is woefully simple as all you really have to do is listen. It proves to be far too easy, so you give him a sporting chance by allowing him to make his way outside and get a decent head start. Watching carefully just so you can get the general idea of what direction he has headed once hitting the ground from the side of the porch. To the left... That means the forbidden boat being stored in our aunt's carport next door...an easy, yet touchy, fortress to overcome. The tactical maneuvering is frighteningly simple, over take the high ground, battle down hill and box him in toward the left rear corner, then the slaughter begins. The touchy part is that it is indeed forbidden. The aunt will surely appear and begin to cackle her disapproval of your being near the beloved reminder of material excess, for fear of "Tearing something up", yelps of "Ya'll get out of the boat!" are sure to follow any loud noises that the butchering is sure to create.
When you round the corner of the house with your eyes only, you notice - much to your dismay, that he has bypassed the boat completely, making your machinations completely useless. Damn him. He's making his way to an unfamiliar child to the area. Oh, but this is delicious, two victims in such close proximity, and one.. an unknown, much sweeter prey. You watch from the safety of distance as they become acquainted, a joyful child he does seem. They begin to head around the house in the opposite direction, simpletons, all you have to do is go the other way. Once you begin the stealthy path to the front of the boat, ruination. You hear the encroachment of elderly preteen beings approaching. The power they have over you is evident by their ability to hang you from a tree with no effort at all. You must use your wits to navigate around them for fear of physical harm, an easy enough ploy, because vanity is their universal downfall.
You lose the hunter mode as you innocently saunter across the yard, will they attack or be friendly? You all seem to meet under the large oak tree in the aunt's yard, as if fate itself has put the events in motion solely for your intents and purposes of capture, slaughter and eventual empowerment over all you survey. The conversation is tempered by the heat but everyone doesn't realize it yet, we are still to young to reason such unimportant ideas into our thinking.
The new child among us turns out to be the relative of someone you should know, someone everybody else seems to know, yet you feign the knowledge they have, so you don't appear to be ignorant of the common comings and goings of the neighborhood. You listen as they speak, yet watch only, so that they do not turn on you. You seem to realize that this new presence is a rather boastful individual that commands the full attention of all that are gathered, you feel pity in that he may well explode if not afforded the required attention he needs to breathe. This becomes distasteful to you, yet you are too young to realize what it is that you feel, at this point you simply are creeped out by the individual.
You watch as he climbs into the tree that you know will not be friendly to such advances, you have been there. You back away, feeling the approach of what's to come. You watch as he begins the attempt to impress people that do not know him - yet should be left in awe of his prowess.
Then you watch as he falls in slow motion toward the blacktop of the awaiting street. A slight gasp is all that you can muster as his head cracks against the pavement with a sickening thud. The fount of blood from his scalp holds you captive as the other children run in fear, some screaming for an adult to fix the situation and quickly return normality to their world and some in terror at simply witnessing such a thing. The sight makes you feel ill beyond anything that you have ever encountered. Nausea rises as you wait in the background watching the flurry of activity that always arrives when adults reach the scene of such a horrific occurrence. A loud ambulance arrives in moments and the men from the vehicle pick him up and place him on the gurney to be taken to the hospital. The trail of blood that is left on the street seems to burn itself into your mind forever remaining a vision you wish you had never witnessed. The small flap of scalp that isn't moving with the rest of his head is disturbing to your young eyes, some things children shouldn't see, and this is surely one those moments...
Everyone stands in silence as they drive away, feeling put off by the event, and seemingly unable to speak of the blood and gore left behind. Everyone is silent as the older lady from across the way begins to clean the blood and flesh from the street.
You quietly decide that you would much rather play in the sandbox with the army of gorilla action figures that awaits you, moving in just yesterday from the planet of the apes, poised to build a peaceful life in a village created in unity of spirit, frankly.. you really don't want to see any more death and destruction, its just not that fun when you get right down to it.