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Jay Palme stood from the
chair, watching, and Billy was on the floor and passed out as if he’d
summoned spirits from a dark crystal ball. Coming to, his
eyes darted around the room, perhaps remembering or reenacting the
strange scene that had taken place. It seemed a very long
time – too long. Then he gathered himself. He looked at me
then and noticed I was uneasy. He was jittery and his face
was powdery white and his lips paler still, and he moved slowly as
though it hurt to move even a single muscle.
And as I descended the stairway, he dressed
himself in front of the
fire and looked like a very sick and trembling young man of seventeen
years. Like he’d swallowed something he shouldn’t.
When I placed my hand on his forehead, he had a fever. There
were other things too.
“You must go to bed, upstairs,” I insisted,
“you’re a sick young man.”
Billy wiped his boyish face. “I have to
grimaced. “I’ll pee on the carpet if I don’t.” He
jumped around. Grabbed his crotch began to dance stiff legged
as if on a pair of stilts. “Where’s the bathroom?”
“He’s making me laugh,” said Jay Palme in a loud
“Upstairs,” I said.
On nights like this I try to remember everything
starting with the emails, the timid introductions, the half-truths and
lies, the slow yet methodical approaches. But these memories
and rituals always led back to my grandfather’s attic — lo those many
years ago, and that was where it all began, when it began.
After hating myself for remembering, I would start again and remember
all the rest, everything that lead me here today. The things
From grandfather I learned about the dark side of
human nature, the
total spectrum of its horrors; for the old man had peculiarities about
himself, ways of doing things near impossible to explain, ways of doing
best left untold.
Some nights I ran from the house but I could not
truly escape, and on
such nights, I stayed hopelessly awake and would watch the stars and
pray. If I had prayed enough, which might take hours, saying
Hail Marys and Our Fathers until my throat grew sore, it would be close
to dawn, and then I could go to sleep and dream.
But never in Grandfather’s attic.
- G. D.
G. D. McFetridge llives
in Montana's Sapphire Mountains. His fiction is published across
America, Canada, Ireland, and the UK, in such publications as Confrontation, Weber-The Contemporary West,
Closed Doors, The
Broadkill Review, Cottonwood,
Boxing Stories, Tales
of the Talisman, Big
Dakota Review, The
Antigonish Review (Nova Scotia), Talking River, Mobius Magazine, Left Curve, Blue Lake Review, Overtime, Hardboiled, The Looseleaf Tea, Miracle E-zine, Underground Literary Alliance
(ULA), and Death
Throes Webzine. He is the author of six unpublished novels.
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by Tony Kitterick, 2012