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My hand grabbed the shears and with all my energy struck the side of her head. She fell down, rolled completely off my body, gripping the side of her face. I got up, a bit unsteady as my knees were made of silt. I ended up falling over again, one fist still holding the shears. I crawled towards the rest of the tools, grabbing each one and throwing them into the box, shears first. The ringing noise in my head started to dissipate as I heard the lock click on the tool kit.

She's sobbing loudly, but Mother wasn't home. The neighbors kept to themselves.

I thought I had enough time to put the box back in the basement. I got up and steadied myself against the wall. My legs were sluggish but withstanding. Several paces away, the door was wide open. I grabbed the box and made my way.

A thump stopped me, made me turn my attention back to her. She'd gotten herself off the ground and was heading towards me fast. It wasn't the most successful run; the term galloping came to mind. I noticed she's still wearing my petticoat, now taupe and missing some lace trim.

She seemed to gather more energy as she got closer, the side of her face red with scrapes of blood.

I froze. She hurls her body at me. I saw the hidden gopher hole before her foot did. It caught and she lost her footing. Her body was coming closer. Behind me was an open door and trouble. This bothered me. It wasn't until I stepped aside that my brain flicked away from flight mode.

Her head turned to face me, but her body was still flying towards the basement. I took one more look at my trashed slip. I stepped forward, placed both of my hands firmly beneath her shoulder blades and pushed.

The door is locked now. If I stand still and wait for the breeze to subside, I can hear muffled yelps and soft sobs. I look down at the gardening kit. I pick it up and head towards the shed. It'll look better next to Father's old tools. My chin is up; the buzzing is gone.

I put them in the shed and head back to the house. I walk up the porch; stamp the dirt off my shoes. I get a broom and sweep it off. I hear muffled versions of my name. I pause, frown a bit, and watch a breeze dance across the grass. A section of smashed grass lies untouched. I put the broom back and walk into the house.

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About Daryn Houston

Daryn Houston hopes you enjoy her stories and feels bad if you didn't. She lives and writes in Los Angeles with her cat even though she's allergic to Los Angeles and cats. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from UC Riverside's low-residency program.


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