By...Lea Anne Stoughton
We began in the garden, you and I. We explored together in the cool morning light, turning over pebbles and peeking under leaves. Ants bustled about their little ant business. We laughed.
Morning melted into afternoon. Pebbles became rocks, leaves became trees. There were beetles. We whispered.
Shadows stretched and the sky turned red. I led you to my secret place. We held hands.
I showed you the giant rock, the one in the deepest darkness, untouched by light. In the hush, I turned it over, exposing the dank hollow beneath.
You saw what lay there. I showed you willingly. I thought you understood. But night fell heavy on me, and you filled your pockets while I slept.
In the morning I found you in the marketplace. You stood behind the auctioneer, who waved my desperate treasure at the salivating crowd.
“Muck! Filth! Maggots! Putrescence! Death!” she cried. Her eyes rolled. “Look! See!”
The crowd roared at the sky.
I return to the garden sometimes. The pebbles are dull, the trees limp, but I am drawn to this place like a tongue to an aching tooth.
The hollow under the rock holds no treasure now. The deformity it held is gone. I birthed it, yes, but I killed it too, and I buried it.
You made me a monster.
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