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2011-2012 Fiction

"Uncertain Things"
By James Burton

A woman lifts her child. The child's feet drags circles like drawings through the sand as she is hoisted up in the air. The young girl feels like she's levitating. The woman laughs and the child giggles. They play in the sand and build magic castles. The woman tells her child a story about growing old.

“One day you'll have dresses, more of them than you'll know what to do with and you'll wear them. Especially in the evenings. You'll wear them and your earrings will shine and you'll smile.” She smiled and laughed her voice out.

The child stirred in a dreamlike state basking in the glow of her mother's smile as it was like a sun tanning her soul with happiness.

“I love you, my little dear. You're a precious little girl.” the mother says to her daughter.

The child looks up at her mother and smiles. She places her hand on her mother's blouse. A car pulls into the driveway and the mother rises. The child tugs at her skirt. She holds on tight and scurries to keep up with her mother as she's heading to the door. The loud slams of the door startle the child and she appears bewildered at the gentleman getting out of the car.

Their attire is business dress. The child has never seen anything to rival their shiny black coats. She smiles and begins to approach the men but stops as if she notices something is very wrong.

“Ms. Marilla?” The man asks. Before the mother has time to answer he begins again. “Ms. Marilla, we have all the things in order. You have received the first part?”

The mother rubs the track marks on her arms. She lowers her head and nods. As her head hangs one of the men grabs the child and places his arm under her butt. She smiles and rests on his arm. He turns and places her in the car. She is giggling. The other man pulls out an orange envelope and hands it to the woman. He turns and runs, leaving a junkie to count her money.