Alma, 3.C.4, 400 words

Mister Twill pushes the door against the chain. Feet inside are misplaced on the carpet facing odd. Mister Twill fumbles with the chain. He pulls the door shut. It remains shut for some time. It opens again. Chapped hands draw an elastic band over the chain and to the doorknob. The door shuts again. The chain draws free and ticks against the jamb. Jacky swells with labored breaths. The human form is unmistakable. Even vivisected by clothing and misshapen by the twisted pose of unconsciousness, he is a boy. Were his parts strewn in each of the rooms’ corners, each would still extend out the phantom of the missing body. This room Mister Twill had reversed in his mind is still contingent on Jacky’s peculiar presence. The moldings, baseboards, upholstery, the brittle crust of the carpet are crisp, bright, with more of an appearance of being real than being solid. The fallen body is trussed by seams in his clothes. His face swells. Mister Twill kneels and pulls the boy over. His taut limbs waver outward and kink with ill-fit rigor. Jacky’s eyes rove and dart beyond Mister Twill to a blank wall. “You both came.” His stiff right arm waves beyond Mister Twill’s face clawing the air. His head pools on the carpet, lapping tapered coasts of cut loops. His eyes squint involuntary tears from bulged brow and socket. Mister Twill traces over the form with his palm stopping to unfasten buttons, snaps, and catches. The freed limbs pat to the carpet. Strained skin redistributes; ruddy complexion retreats beneath clammy, nude evaporation. “Let’s see about some clothes for you. Let me see to you.” Mister Twill scoops up the loosened boy. He droops like a lanky bladder in Mister Twill’s arms. “What do you do with the mad that you feel? When the world feels so wrong, and nothing feels very real. What do you do? Do you see how fast you can go? It’s great to stop when you’re doing a thing that’s wrong. You can stop when you want to, can stop, stop, stop any time. What a good feeling to know that the feeling is really yours, know that there’s something flowing inside that helps us become what we can, for a boy can be someday a man.” The small head rests in his armpit. Unconsciousness is a heavier burden. “It’s good. Like this it’s good.”

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