“The Social Worker had mentioned
“but that night
Chintana saw no sign of any more.
“Maybe the incresiating cold
peculiar threat of a storm
“had turned parents
from wrestling with seat belts and car
“—from those oh so
of baby sitters tacked conveniently by a
“Chintana rubbed the violet line
on her thumb as a woman with topaz
clamped on her ears burst past her
towards a small bathroom tucked
under the main stairs.
“ ‘Such a hateful whore,’ the woman
sputstuttersobbed to Chintana,
“to no one
“diving for the comforts of
lock and running water.
“Whereupon Chintana’s thumb
abruptly began to sore a little
“as if a thousand
upon vengeances were dicing her
“Though the cause was none too
“—the front door just stood
“Though when it had
been flung so Chintana would never
“The porch lights were extinguished
“and what’s more a shadow
now cut across the threshold,
without moon or stars in the Texas sky
this was an awful impossibility,
reaching towards her it seemed was a
shadow cast by nothing
the darkness itself.
“Most would’ve denied the sight with
“but maybe because Chintana too, day
out and night in, could so easily consider
doing the same,
“what would leave these
rooms drenched in silence,
“she welcomed him.
“ ‘The orphans’
“was all he said.
“And Chintana showed him the way.
Excerpted from The Fifty Year Sword by Mark Z. Danielewski
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