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They Marched Into Fields

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Photos: William Fruet
Short Story: Jamie Iredell
Music: Sleeper by Laura Gibson

Sleeper

The fields were polka-dotted with strawberries. The youngest–a towhead–said his finger had found the furthest reaches of his nose, which tickled, and that the sky had turned pink. The middle one–Michelle, a girl, brace-toothed and bespectacled said, “Shut up, Bobby. You’re such an idiot.” The strawberry arched from her fingers in a parabola of streaked red. It splattered Bobby’s shirt so that it resembled a television gunshot wound. The freckled chubby oldest filled the inside of his headlock with Michelle’s curled locks. Another berry smashed upon those curls resembled the brains that ticked away under Michelle’s scalp, the mind itself overcome with hatred. She was, after all, the middle child, a girl, the one they called “Four-eyes,” and “Lispy,” for her retainers.

“You fat ass,” Michelle hollered from within Jacob’s elbow. It sounded like she was deep inside a cave, locked away, which, of course, she was. There were things these brothers would never know: the twisted ruined barn beyond the southern hills, the old man and his son, the hundreds of colored bottles, and that to those men she was beautiful and wanted.

When Jacob released her, the hills sparkled not with strawberries and brothers, but with dew, alight with sunset, dappled like a tuxedo’s white-rosed lapel, the scent of mango carried in from the sea.

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