*READER DISCRETION — TRIGGER WARNING*
He said it was only a game – a secret between you and me.
It was a game he played after her mom left for work, a game of too much tickling, reaching in and touching – all wrong, she thought as she tried to twist away. He held her wrist and they laughed, he laughed too loudly, she laughed because she was scared not too.
It was over, soon enough.
And when he flopped back on her pink bed spread and snored, she climbed out of his arms and stood staring at him. Her underwear were sticky and his pants still unzipped. She looked away from his open fly.
Like a half-filled balloon, she thought. His head flopped sideways and his mouth hung open; breath still reeking of cheap beer and cigarette smoke.
She pulled her shorts back on, on top of her dirty underwear; softball tonight – mom worked ‘til midnight and he was supposed to take her. He was supposed to do these things.
He never did.
Her glove sat waiting on her dresser and the bat beside it; shiny aluminum, a gift for grade school graduation. She started high school that fall.
She didn’t remember picking up the bat, or the sharp crack that followed, or the one after that. The warm liquid that spattered down her bare legs felt strangely familiar, and she kept hitting until there was nothing left.
A big wet spot on her pillow.
Somewhere inside his pocket his phone chirped. He couldn’t hear it anymore, his ears were all gone. The rest of him too.
This struck her as funny.
She laughed and then choked and cried with snot running down her face; and then wiped at her legs with a corner of the bedspread.
Wiped off the bat, too.
Everything was sticky, like the gunk on her underwear.
The phone chirped again and she grabbed her glove and headed out the door, bat still in hand. Softball practice tonight, and she had a real long walk until she got to the fields.
Liz McAdams is a writer living in the wilds of Canada with her black cats and her laptop (the wifi’s pretty good in the boonies). She loves themes of loss, love, and change – all with a twist of something else. You can connect with Liz through https://lizmcadams.wordpress.com/