BY JESSICA HOLLANDER
Michaela had red hair so frizzy and light it seemed made of cotton, pulled apart and thin. A raised line curved across her nose like skin tucked under itself, suggesting a reckless child carefully reconstructed into an adult. It was clear by her bright eyes and the rickety way she walked that she was fragile, old in body and young in heart, a doomed combination that made evil ones crave her, that made dark things want to tear her limbs away and lock them up for later use and study.
And Michelob loved her and he did what he could to protect her.
But the day came when the world would end, when thick black clouds dropped closer and closer to the ground, and Michelob was forced to let Michaela out.
“We’re leaving,” he told her, binding her.
“I know,” she said. They went out to the yard where a rowboat waited with a dozen townspeople.
Michelob set her in the rear of the boat and put his arms around her for comfort. Michaela was not afraid of the black clouds that descended like hordes of swarming bees. She had come from a place littered and soaked with such things and would survive it now as she had survived it then.
Michaela surveyed the destruction below, swept through the air by those who loved her, toward an unsuspecting world where she would seek refuge and wait for Them to find her and free her and ravage her home once again.
Jessica Hollander has failed at many things. And like most people her failures normally can be traced back to a bad beginning. Instead of wallowing in the sadness that accompanies these failures, she chronicles them — well, at least the writerly versions of failure — at jessicahollanderwriter.com. Come see a virtual graveyard of stories that didn’t make it out of toddler-hood.