by Meg Tuite

As soon as you’ve stepped inside, you’re bolted in. Rotted stories bristle and battle each other in a grudge, closing into groaning flesh. Just open the door while moving. Trees and cornfields careen as fast as your mind. A casual swipe of a moment and clouds shake heads in only one direction. The cord, the handcuffs, a whole maintenance man’s box of tools. Look deeply at the crusty creases of stubble and eyes as demented as yours must be. Talk. Say what? Words beg to be laughed at. Cry? Nothing but one tic that creeps through your left eye. It seems there is no hero in this van. Nothingness bares itself. Worthless streets dumb as his mouth blink past you.

That girl who was blindfolded and lifted it enough so she could route it to memory. The girl who heard planes overhead and they found her kidnapper lived by the airport. The girl who talked a man into tears, telling him she was dying of AIDS. Go ahead, kill her.

You have lost the ability to care. Let him drudge you with his wicked idiocy. Let his DNA drip into your orifices. Someone will file them away in plastic bags. You’ve seen the shows. Where would you be if you weren’t here? Maybe gym class. In those blue bloomers. Fucking focus.

He’s far enough away from here not to know where there will become. All of it seems to wane away. The white van passes naked in and out of landscapes without a game plan. It’s a seedy ghost that vacates anyone’s vision. When it comes to a shuddering halt, there is no betrayal.

There are the trees crowded together, weary with anticipation. Beyond them as many paths that end somewhere. As many crunching leaves as he will need.

Meg Tuite is author of four story collections and five chapbooks. She won the Twin Antlers Poetry award for her poetry collection, Bare Bulbs Swinging. She teaches writing retreats and online classes hosted by Bending Genres. She is also the fiction editor of Bending Genres and associate editor at Narrative Magazine. 

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