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// lydia conklin


You can't call anyone. Your foot is flattened under the scaly bark of the blue fir. You didn't expect the trunk to fall that way but what does that matter now? It's done. And even if your phone wasn't a foot too far away to reach, even with the tendons of your fingers straining like rotten rubber bands, even with the pain that's like a scream stuck inside your skin, too blaring to fully register but loud enough to blot out almost all logic, there's no service, anyway, til Riverbend. Riverbend is forty miles from the forest back here. And even there the service is spotty.


She tripped him in gym class and his bone slid out. They were in the center of the linoleum floor, on top of the sweeping decals that marked the space. They were the last two contenders in dodge ball, and the whole class, knocked out and dead on the rim of the room, was watching. She shouldn't have crossed the line into his territory. The bone wagged like a stiff tail in the open air. He didn't notice, his eyes big and empty, staring, in fear, at the middle distance, like he knew what was coming and it was worse than the blood on the floor, the noisy closing in of their classmates. She didn't know how to tell him. After that, her year brightened.


He forgot what you do when a car falls into a body of water. For a moment, when the Toyota bounced into the thick gel of the Charles, he didn't want to do anything. The air was suddenly thick and shining green and full of fish and trash and weeds, and he didn't have to think about Cherry or the killed cat anymore. He longed to stay in that gooey density. But he thought he should do something. He rolled down the windows, but that didn't seem right.