Part 1 here
Part 2 here
When I came back from the barn after returning the handsaw, a bolt of pain stabbed my lower belly as I stepped inside the house. I crammed the hurt into that dark, crowded place deep inside me that Mama couldn’t see, undressed Sissy, ran a damp cloth over her clammy body, and pulled her favorite pink nightgown over her head, all the while talking slowly and softly. I knew she heard me. She stood when I told her to, held up her hands when I said so, but not one word passed her white lips.
Meanwhile, Mama fed thin slats of wood into the cook stove until the thing danced with heat. Sweat ran down her face and soaked the white collar of her dress, turning it pink.
“Put your sister to bed,” she said over her shoulder. “Then come get yourself cleaned up.”
I led Sissy into the little room off the kitchen, and tucked her into the bed we shared. “I’ll be back.
No answer from my sister. She rolled over and faced the wall. If I looked, I knew her eyes would still be open.
I laid my hand on her shoulder. “Everything’s gonna be all right. When you wake up in the morning, you’ll have forgotten all about tonight. Just a dream, that’s all. A bad dream.”
“Clara!” Mama yelled.
I wanted nothing more than to crawl into the bed next to Sissy and sleep for days. I was worn out and my belly hurt real bad. Instead, I patted her shoulder and walked back out into the nightmare. Continue reading