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Originally Published on



The Trickle Down Effect
































































The first thing is a true drip.  I am a crustacean.  I am a vampire squid.  There is no light. The drip is a constant, blinking sound.  It is a rolling of liquid across my belly.  There is no light.  The drip defines shape, closes off openings, and rips holes in the ends of things.  There is no light.


I am alone below the big, beefy sandwich of the lungs and heart. I can feel them.  But mostly, I can feel her.


She does a puzzle.  Each piece spirals into her brain: jagged slices of an arm, a curving toe, a wrinkled knee; then out of her head, through her throat and down.  I hear the sifting as her hands move across the cardboard heaps; feel the jolt of happiness when she connects two pieces.  The drip wakes me, an insistent, dribbling alarm.


She shows me small parts of herself: a blaring mouth, words like “not”, and “please”. A full sentence filters through: “You will never find them.”  I see others too: her mother, clutching the gray bosom of her dress, her father, covering his face with his hands.  But the drip moves quickly and the images are replaced by household objects: a soapy dinner plate, or a broom.  The changes are almost funny.


“She tricks me,” I think.  I laugh, shaking and kicking out in the darkness. 


She sets the leaves on fire.  There is a great, swirling smell of earth and wetness and the image of a smoking red heap. 


She thinks, “My arm hurts. I am afraid.  I should have pruned the roses.” The smell lingers, and her lungs beat rapidly against my head. 


She thinks, “I do not want to die.”  And then I see a different fire.  The same lick and crackle, but frantic, flames jumping from house to house, boots clicking against stone, people pouring into the fields with blood in their mouths. A churning acid pops against my thin walls. 


“This is how I should feel too,” I think, “We are only one fire away from death.”     

Twisting Pike © 2012 Amy Gall

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