Wednesday, 16 May 2012

'Girls will be Girls' by Ben Jones


Nothing moved.

He looked around and saw his aunty sat in the chair, staring blankly at the room's patterned wallpaper. Her eyes were frozen, and she looked like a living statue; caught in the lens of a mime – with a tiny newborn next to her, deathly silent. Its mouth was blocked by toilet paper, and it wasn't breathing.
He began opening the rooms to see where everyone else was. Uncle had his face down in the fireplace, limbs sprawling outwards and with the same vacant stare as his aunty. He should be miserable in the fire, but it didn't look as if he cared.

He opened another room.

The bath had been filled to the brim and inside it lay his cousin, drowning and with her clothes still on. He pulled out the cold and wet body and placed it on the floor, then cleaned up the water on the floorboards and moved on.

The lights were off and the switch wasn't working in the bedroom. A macabre scene appeared in front of him; a harlequin great dane standing on the bed with his chops pressed into another sweet cousin's face, claret spilling over the duvet. He moved the dog off the bed; it didn't even bark. He dipped a finger into the blood red and tasted it. It was sweet and warm; it was ketchup. He licked it clean.
Someone came running up the winding staircase, heavy footsteps that pushed heavily through the door and into the bedroom. His sister stood before him for a second and then began to raid the cupboard. She was older than he was.

“Leave the pieces where I put them!” she demanded.

“I was just looking” he said.

She grabbed something.
Here, you can have your Action Man back, little boys shouldn't be playing with doll houses. Anyway, it's mine!” her teeth gritted.

She threw the Action Man from the cupboard and it crashed into the old Victorian doll house. She kept rummaging.

“Found it!” she bellowed, running hastily out of the room.

The little boy picked up the Action Man from the garden and placed it standing next to the doll house. He began to whisper.

“Guard us.”

The action man stood in front of the building.
He turned his attention to his family inside, then continued whispering softly, guiding their movements and making sure not to suffocate them with his choking fingers; replacing furniture and weaving imaginings with soft narration. After everyone was cleaned and back in their normal places, he smiled.

Then the process started again.
A wicked twinkle in his eyes, he picked up his uncle, who he thought must surely have been dead from the fire, and began to wrap him in toilet paper. His uncle was to become a mummy. 
Don't be scared” he whispered, breathing stories once more into his sister's doll house.
Boys will be boys.

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