KEEPERS

BY DAVID ACKLEY

His hands go up and down on me. You love me don’t you he says. I don’t know I say. He pushes me down. His head moves and I see the wall out the window. When somebody talks on that side I keep still. On this side I play with the little girl. He gave another girl a doll. She threw it away and the head broke on the ground. Brown. Sky blue. Clouds white. Leaves green. Wall grey and brown. Cars shup shup by. Dark in the big crack. Dina’s my mommy the little girl says. Who says. Dina. No I’m that. I can’t say the other word. You were in here. I point to where I kept her. How did I get out she says. Here I say and point. It’s too small. It got big. Did I hurt. You hurt. Another little girl used to cry all the time. Cry. Cry. Cry. They didn’t want you he told her they gave you to me and went away. After a while she went away. I stayed. Once he takes me out. Keep quiet he says don’t look at them and they won’t see you. They don’t. You have to keep quiet. Shut the fuck up Dina says to me. If I go down you’re going too he says to her. Then those two are gone and you come and all of them and it’s bright. Bright. The girl holds my hand and I hold yours tight tight.

***

David Ackley lives with his wife and various fauna, wild and domestic, in Franconia, New Hampshire. He is a former editor of  The Greensboro Review, and has an MFA from UNC-G. He has a number of pieces on Fictionaut and has published in Prick of the Spindle, The Greensboro Review, Litsnack and some others.

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