January 21, 2008
By Korbi Kay Blanchard, Walnut Creek, CA

Face up, her slit grey eyes watch the tiles of the ceiling, counting each to pass the time. She remembers a life faster than this, a world laced with chalk dust lines and dumpster soot.

The first began with him. He rescued her from the womb of that great green box, where she was tightly wedged against others like herself. They hadn’t spoken, but they all knew the status quo: erase or be erased. It was their job to serve as best they could, or face a life confined to cardboard walls. And a lifetime, she knew, was something indelible.

Her rescuer was tall, with spaghetti string legs that stretched down from his leather belt onto forever, probably plunging through the floor tiles. An unruly mop of frizzy brown hair—ideal for a bird’s nest—covered the majority of his head and curved down his face into messy sideburns. Yet he always wore a tie and seemed composed enough, almost noble despite his outward appearance. And most importantly, he had chosen her—her!—from that cardboard coffin and given her a permanent home cradled along the chalkboard. Although she never understood his diabolical plans—all those sharp shapes and equations cluttering the board—she felt as though she belonged.

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