The little girl bounced down the sidewalk and the brisk, empty, blue autumn air burned through her lungs and she sang.
She sang thinly, rather more weak than strong, and the words were meaningless and the tune was wavery and wasn't much to write home about. Yet she sang, still, and skipped along and seemed to enjoy the time of it.
Above her the sky with small wispy strands of cloud, peeking through the canopy of browns and reds from the row of old oaks, and underneath a row of small Craftsman houses built of old brick and clad in old siding.
Inside, people of the age, cooking cleaning reading and doing, and inside one of the smallest and oldest houses a woman, bridging the threshold between kitchen and den with a bottle of Coca-Cola, cheeks gaunt and eyes a little hollow and perhaps a little burnt out. She stared at the flickering television set and sucked in the cathode rays and programmed herself to sync with the minds of thousands.
In the attic above, a porcelain doll, paint chipped and hair stripped from its head, thrown haphazardly upon the top of a battered cardboard box, neck twisted one hundred eighty and legs flailed beyond possibility, and a bit of twine was tied around the waist and a little bag of cloth bundled up and tucked neatly inside the twine.
It had been there for years, motionless, yet outside the girl skipped along, knowledgeable and understanding and very certain.
The doll sprawled motionless, an amulet awry.
The little girl skipped, one-one-two, one-one-two, and then she stopped short, a petulant little voodoo smile playing across her face, and firmly planted the toe of her Mary Janes upon a crack in the sidewalk.
The woman inside gave a sharp gasp, and, along with the bottle of Coca-Cola, dropped to the floor.
Issue #2 Contents
The Heart of the Labyrinth
Where I Choose to Wake
They Don’t Move Like They Used To
The Dubious Apotheosis of Baskin Gough, Part Two
Patrick S. McGinnity
Lazarus Walks, Part Two
Gil Gildner is a documentary filmmaker based in Little Rock. He is the author of one novel, The Eclectic Chauvinist, and his short fiction can be found in The Valley Review, Out Of Order, The Bison, and other publications. You can find him at www.gilgildner.com/blog.