The Prize (Part 3)

“…better have started makin’ something. I’m fuckin’ starved.” Dusty said, head in his hands, as he and Egger trekked over a hill with the body of Officer Lansing. The house now in view, both watched each step, careful not to trip. Skinny was frozen, standing in front of the house with the remains of a teddy bear in her hand, Pa’s uncomfortable necklace around her neck, and Officer Lansing’s badge in her pocket. After hesitating, Skinny ran to the side of the house, gasping for breath and watching swirling darkness overtake her vision.

On the hill, Egger and Dusty dropped the corpse and let it roll down on its own, tired from carrying him from the tree he was tied to. “Roll, piggy piggy.” Dusty said, stone-faced and twirling a nightstick. Egger ran alongside it, prodding the body with his foot when it got stuck on a rock or an uneven patch. Every few prods Egger’d wind up and kick hard, howling and crying-out demonic at the midday sun. When the two reached the bottom of the hill, they left Lansing where he fell and continued towards the house.

“Heeeeee. HEEEEEEEE.” Skinny was still trying to pull life into her on the side of the house. Keeled over, she let the tears fall where they would, she dropped her teddy bear, and held herself tight. “You’re not a monster” she repeated in her head. This was just like all the times under the porch when she couldn’t breathe. It would pass. She’s not trapped anymore. All that was left was one foot in front of the other to the woods. She’d be free if she could manage that far.

Skinny knew she had to move when she heard the two men stomp up the patio stairs, smack the bone music, and open the screen door. “Where the fuck you at, girl? Goddamnit I’m hungry!” She could hear Pa inside. “What the fuck is this shit?” She heard Egger upstairs rifling through a garbage bag of her possessions. “Pa! The bitch took off!” Egger’s words were the gun at the start of a race; with them, Skinny was off, still heaving and swirling, towards the woods. “Shoulda never let that thing out. She ain’t like us! I told ya so!” It was the last thing she heard from Egger before Skinny met the tree line and vanished behind forest.

“What the fuck’re we gonna do, Pa?” Egger paced on the porch, staring out into the woods looking for his sister.

“We’re gonna find the bitch. Grab the pig’s Taser.” Dusty said, checking the chamber of Lansing’s glock, happy two bullets remained. “Git that bitch alive.” He said, as father and son sprinted towards the woods, just left of Skinny’s escape route.

Skinny didn’t have a destination. In fact, she’d never actually left the property—Pa told her there were pigs out there waiting to take her, like they did Ma. At least that’s when they let her out. Before that, under the porch, she was treated like any of the others: beaten and touched by dirty hands—except Skinny was the only one to live through it. In the woods, Skinny suddenly couldn’t make sense of why she had stayed for so long; everything Pa told her about the pigs was better than anything he or Egger did. She was scared back then, she was trapped. Not anymore. She tried looking forward, she tried not thinking about Lansing or the bullet she put in his stomach. But Skinny felt his blood take over, begin at her jeans pocket and spread over her. “I’m not a monster” she repeated, her sprint slowing to a jog as her breathing anxiously rose and fell. Skinny rested against a large oak tree to catch herself, long enough to notice both Egger and Dusty sprinting past her position a few hundred feet away from her. “Come on out, ya little bitch! Got somethin’ for ya! Ya done real good today! Come git yer prize, Skin!” When they were out of sight, Skinny crept away hiding behind trees until it was okay to sprint again.

Skinny didn’t have a destination, but she knew one place she’d never go back. Even if Egger and Pa caught up to her.

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Author: antbrov

Fiction | Magical Realism | Introspective Write > Edit > Hate > Learn > Write...

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