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Monday, January 31, 2011

Story Excerpt #2

It's almost February! That's February with an F, for FOUR, as in FOUR STORIES! Did you think I'd forgotten about my resolution? No, I've been a good girl, with the first story last week and the second story finished, for the most part, on Friday. I did forget to post it here, though. So here's the first few paragraphs! No context needed! This is partially one of my favorite stories yet, and partially the most flawed plot-line of all time. Uhh...

Actually, I do want to give some context. The title of this story is taken word-for-word from the title of one of my friend Meri's poems--don't worry, she knows about it...I think. It's "Fragile Graves." I KNOW! How amazing is that?! The subject matter is partially inspired by her poem, partially inspired by the extremely bizarre and nightmarish thesis I wrote as a junior in college. I think this is a bit more sophisticated and less sensational, though--if I haven't improved since my junior thesis, it may be time for some serious rethinking of certain life choices. Like the Fitzgerald-sized bottle of gin in my freezer! Don't worry, it's not just for me--it attracts poets & writers like flies to sugar water.


A skeleton hand stuck up beneath the rhododendron bush in our backyard—a delicate wrist bone with all five of its curving, brittle fingers still intact. Hand was one of my favorite playmates.

“You know that's connected to a whole person,” said my brother Nathaniel, but Hand wasn't anybody, Hand was just Hand, a cool and lovely and immobile thing in my little world. I spent hours under the purple rhododendrons. Hand was quiet but very present; Hand could hold things that didn't weigh much, like Christmas ornaments or a tarnished silver ring that my mom gave me for my sixth birthday.

Back then it was a big thing: where would you be buried? Everyone talked about it. Even the kids knew that there wasn't any room left in the ground, but no one wanted to be buried in a building, not one person. It was hard to get to the tops and they smelled. And how would your family come and visit you after you were gone? There was just something awful about it. But the earth was full,
full. There wasn't room.

I loved the earth, though—its loamy darkness. I wasn't allowed to dig deep, but I scratched at it, and there were all sorts of things to see, like worms and softened twigs and pill-bugs. Once I found a snake, but I screamed and Nate came running and killed it and threw it into the trashcan on the curb. I smelled the blood—it didn't smell like blood.

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You are truly great.