Monday, February 12, 2018

Don't Go Into That Barn

I'm turning in a short story today to the teacher of a college class I'm taking. I'm not enrolled in college; I have more degrees than I'm using, but I work at a college that lets me audit a class a semester and I'm taking Fiction Writing. It's a second-level creative writing class: small with only us 4 students. It feels good to share my writing and, of course, this is not a romance. It scared me, writing it (not sure why, since I knew what was coming) so, I hope it will scare someone else. I attach the first page here:

Don’t Go Into That Barn
By Kathleen Day

As soon as Daddy mentioned the barn, the story of my great granddaddy's death came
back to me, turning over in my brain like Ma's fried onions, turning brown and shrinking
like a salted slug. The old guy died years before I was born, but a kid who hears a tale
like that remembers it. The worst part was dying alone, I always thought. Worse than
hanging dead from the old barn rafters for two weeks, worse than skin-shriveling and
muscles drawing in was the idea that no one cared to witness his last wheeze. And he
knew it.
Uncle Billy's pick-up jerked to a halt on the gravel drive, scattering gravel and yanking
me out of half a dream. As soon as I realized I’d sagged against Daddy while I drowsed,
I pulled myself upright.

"C'mon, boy," Dad said. "Move your ass." The door protested some when he opened it
and, as I scooted over, I tumbled onto grit and dust with a push from behind. My cousin
Tom giggled and lept over me, pointing to our dads’--hell, and their dads’-- childhood
home: an abandoned plantation house, two stories high, that watched us like a wary
farm cat. Hemmed in by giant pillars shedding crusts of white paint, the porch collected
leaves and neighbors' trash. What remained of a chicken hung by one leg on the double
front door. It had hung there a good piece, upside down, losing its juices to time.
Even from the driveway, I could see a dark brown mat of feathers beneath it.

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