Paula told me she was housesitting when a boy appeared. She walked into the house and through a long hallway and at the end stood a child who looked chalky, and then dissolved. This kept happening again and again.
He was inhabited by spirit of her brother, she said, and her brother’s spirit was intent on killing her. But no one believed her. She wished him dead and eventually she did kill him. But when the spirit abandoned the body it moved into her brother’s body, and then her brother set out to kill her again.
She developed an elaborate process of running from him and his supernatural powers.
At first I worried that he would kill me too. But her brother wouldn’t kill just anyone, she said, even though he was possessed. Eventually the spirit moved on. Now it’s in somebody else’s sanctuary. The other people still don’t know this.
I made a wedding pie for my brother, filled with pecans and mince meats and cloves and cheese. I had just been told that he was getting married and I couldn’t believe I didn’t know before. I tried hard to find the right gift. Some say he’s religious, but everything’s always changing. I found this one frame with bunnies, and another with black velvet and penises and crepe paper. There was something festive about it. Inappropriate was what my mother said. How to avoid that, I don’t know.
My sisters were threatened by a terrorist action, the local paper announced. I was terrified. My sisters were supposed to be at home that weekend, but then they were just like, Change of plans. Now we’re going to California instead.
I guess my parents escorted them because I was left alone at their house, and there was a knock at the door. I heard, ‘It’s Richard’!
Oh, just let me put something on, I responded. Certainly a terrorist wouldn’t announce himself.
I put a dress on to cover my nightgown. The gown was sticking out but I thought it would do. Richard was here to have a talking to with my sisters. I accepted this. But then he said he had been reading my book, and I couldn’t help but ask his thoughts. And he was just like, oh, it’s very good but the characters are so distant. We were listening to music from a five-CD player and he was like, I haven’t seen one of these for a long while.
But then my sister appeared and changed the dynamic completely.
Anne K. Yoder is the author of two poetry chapbooks, and her fiction has appeared in Fence, New York Tyrant, and Make Lit, among other publications. She is a staff writer for The Millions and a member of Meekling Press, a collective micropress based in Chicago. // @annekyoder
Banner image by Olivia Cronk
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