The falcon carried her for many miles, over wheat fields, highways, and
city lights. Years later, that night would come back to her in shots,
firing off in her head, pop-gun memories. She was a child then, and so
the cities were like flickering candles on a cake, and she was not
afraid of the flight.
When her son calls out for her at night, she carries him into her room.
He twitches, says mommy, and she strokes his damp hair. She will not
take him to the forest. He sleeps in his own room, with three night
lights and a scout lantern. But she wakes, every night, as she did when
he nursed, her body carrying her to the blue and green room, and there
he is, every time. She'll smell his clean skin, or adjust his coverlet.
One night he wakes to tell her there is a robot outside his window. A
giant robot he says, a dark robot with one claw. "He doesn't
have hands, Mom," her son says, "he goes like this. He goes like this."
He crumples his forehead and stares. They look out the window, and she
remembers a friend telling her to check the closet, to spray glitter
water, to banish monsters. But she is afraid. It's storming and the
neighbors are gone. She would like to carry him to her room, put the
phone by the bed, turn on the lights and the television, the radio too.
It could be there, a man, or something cold, waiting. There's an odd
smell, like plastic burning.
Claudia Smith's 2007 collection, The Sky is a Well and Other Shorts, is being reprinted this month in
A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness: Four Chapbooks of Short Short Fiction by Four Women, from
Rose Metal Press.
To link to this story directly: http://wigleaf.com/200803scout.htm
Photo detail on main page courtesy
of Gwyn Fisher.
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