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Dirty

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Marnie was a sticky child. There always seemed to be the remnants of past meals smeared about her mouth, oozing scabs peppered her legs, and her hair always seemed to be clumped with an unidentifiable gunk. She constantly picked at her cuts, enjoying how her blood looked like raspberry juice. Sadly, it didn’t taste like it.

Her mother had died a year ago, when Marnie was three. She had been left with her father and brother, both of whom had other priorities. At the moment, she was on the front stoop, picking at a scab that she thought resembled the Pillsbury doughboy. Blood dribbled from the center of his stomach. Just as she had popped a reddened pinky into her mouth, she sighted her brother, Ray. He was coming home from school, his backpack dangling from his shoulder and a cigarette resting on his chapped under lip. Her fingers anxiously gnawed at the doughboy, as he reached the front stoop.

Ray eyed his little sister distastefully, sucking on the cigarette like a lollipop. He was thirteen and the age gap between them had resulted in his treating her like an unwanted pet. The smoke blooming from his cigarette filled the air like a smelly ghost. He ran a hand through his lank hair as he contemplated the being before him.

“You’ll get scarred that way,” he said, as he pointed to her picking.

“I’m not scared, it ain’t Halloween yet,” Marnie said in a voice as rough as a pinecone.

“No idiot. You’ll get scars, cuts that’ll last forever. Then you’ll have ugly legs and no one’ll marry you,” Ray taunted. Ash sprinkled onto his t-shirt, which resembled cotton Swiss cheese.

“My name ain’t Mary,” Marnie said. Ray shook his head, his sister was obviously as dull as grass. As he ascended the crumbling stoop, he pushed her off the bottom stair. She fell on her knees, adding a new scrape. Marnie didn’t bother to cry, she was used to pain. As soon as she heard the door slam, she stood up, and brushed off the dress that she had worn for the past three days. It was a garish green and appliquéd with a large smiley face. She looked at her knee and saw that the Pillsbury Doughboy had been embedded with gravel. She sat back on the step and began to suck her grimy thumb.

Her father came home an hour before the sun was to set. He was a tall man and smelled of grease and beer. He glared at her with contempt, as if she were gum smeared upon his shoe. But Marnie looked him straight in the eye, glad to be noticed. He was the one that finally turned away; he hated how her eyes were the same color as his dead wife’s. He went inside without a word.

When the sun was just a half-oval of dying color, a man was walking up the street. He stopped in front of her house, eying her on the front stoop. He was tall and thin, just like her father, and she stared back at him. He smiled and began walking across the front lawn, his yardstick legs parting the sea of weeds. He stopped in front of the stoop.

He also resembled her father in that he too reeked of beer. There was also another scent, a scent that Marnie would never grow old enough to understand. The stench was vile, it was inhuman. The man offered her his hand, and she examined it. Her eyes took in the black stained tips and the hardened spider webs that patterned his palms. She took it, hoping the man would take her somewhere else. He did.





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sillyaardvarkabc said...
Dec. 25, 2009 at 1:14 pm
Wait- where did he take her?? This was great.
 
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