Skinny made it just over the hill before she collapsed in a fit of rage and anger towards herself. The badge jabbed her skin, but Skinny did nothing to stop it from piercing her, the least she should receive from her act. At 12, Skinny didn’t really know what to think about the murder, just that she shouldn’t have done it. He was somebody’s Pa, Skinny knew, he pleaded with her. “Put this ol’ dog outta his misery” Dusty whispered into her ear, his hand firm on her shoulder. “He’s the monster, Skin.” He said, whiskey haunting his breath, his grey-marked black beard tickling Skinny’s cheek.
“No! No no no no!” She screamed, hammering down on dirt. Skinny didn’t have much time, if she didn’t get Egger in a few minutes, Pa would come lookin’ for ’em both. She picked herself off the ground, wiped her shirt and jeans, and noticed actual blood seeping through her pants. Forgetting for a second about the badge, Skinny was certain her bad deed was already catching up with her. Soon she’d be completely covered in blood, she’d drown.
Skinny leapt up the front porch steps, jumping over the middle step’s loose board. The wind-chime Pa made of bird-bones and glass picked up a sullen song from the air and played it for Skinny as she pulled the torn-screen door closed behind her.
“Egger! Egger!” She yelled, letting herself stop for a moment to watch dust settle in a leaking ray of sunlight.
“Goddamnit what?” He yelled from upstairs, a second voice was young and crying, shaking.
“Pa needs you to help drag a body.” Skinny said, her eyes fixed on the dust.
“Ah goddamnit all.” He roared, then paused. “Was it the pig?”
“It was. I did ‘im.” Her sight moved from the dust to the small stain on her jeans. She pulled both of her arms close to her, holding herself while a tear fell to the floor.
“Well ho-lee…I’ll be down in a fuckin’ second.” A clamor upstairs, some yelps, fastening of metal. Egger came down in a dirty white t-shirt and ripped jeans, his everyday uniform. Skinny braced as he stormed down the stairs—she did every time Egger left his room.
His dead eyes looked deep into hers, like he knew what she was thinking, his hands forced on her shoulders like Pa’s. Egger had the same beard as him, less grays. His nose was long and shriveled at the tip, he’d been burned once. Cut up a few times. Shot, too. Long and slender, she’d watched him somehow take down big men twice his size. He’d probably done more things to people than even Pa.
“Well I’ll be goddamned, Skin. Thought you’d never come around! Think I cut me mine when I was 10, Pa was proud. He’s prouda ya, Skin. Ya did good by the family, ya know. We gotta keep to our own, these pig fuckers don’t want us to be together.”
“I know. Pa needs ya.” Skinny said, focusing on the dust slowly falling.
Egger shot Skinny a suspicious glare before throwing the screen door open, past the melancholic bone music, and towards Skinny’s deed. Once he was gone, Skinny pulled a garbage bag from the living room table—they were everywhere. “Good at gettin’ rid a problems” Pa said, always needed more. She ran to her room, a mostly barren area with a bed and drawers. She forced them open, one at a time, and threw everything into the garbage bag. Once they were emptied, Skinny looked around to make sure she hadn’t missed anything. On her bed, a mutilated teddy bear was pulled and thrown into the bag, with a strange necklace Pa made her that felt strange against her skin.
At 12, Skinny knew she had to leave. “I am not a monster” she told herself, standing in the corner of her room. Since Pa always made her stand there, she learned to use it as a place to think deeply about who she is. “I am not a monster” she repeated, squeezing her eyes closed and opening them to spots in her sight. “I am not a monster” she said one more time, shaking her hands free of shivers. In the hallway, she dropped the garbage bag, opened it, and pulled the teddy bear and necklace. She took a final look at the dust in the hallway, ignoring the horror surrounding it, and creaked open the torn-screen door to see Pa and Egger coming over the hill with the corpse of the policeman she had shot, his badge still in her pocket.