Inside of me


            Momma’s gonna murder me, Denny. And I’m your only sister.

            She said she would if I did anything more like I’d been doing. And then I got the urge again.

            I can’t always help myself when it comes on me. It is something queer inside of me, making me do it.

            And I’m real afraid of Momma.

            She caught me with the boys in the basement again a couple of days ago and really laid into me, then really laid into me.

            She didn’t beat me in the yard where neighbors could see us. But once she got me in the house, she left welts.

            I thought I was going to die then.

            Maybe she thought I was turning bad the way she thinks you did. I think she even thought you were teaching me to be bad.

            I tried to tell her I was to blame, tried to explain about this thing inside of me, but she wouldn’t take any of that, and beat me more.

            She kept saying that she was going to beat your poison out of me, saying she wasn’t going to have two devils in her family.

            To hear her talk, you would think she was crazy. Devils? Poison? I’m only 11 years old.

            When I told her that, she beat me more, saying 11 year old girls had no business being in the basement doing what I was doing with one boy let a lone all the boys I was doing.

            I tried to talk to big brother, Davey. You know how close he and Momma are. I figured he could talk to Momma for me and make her stop beating me. And maybe he could explain to her about the urge inside of me. I figured if she knew about the urge she might stop hitting me, and maybe get me a doctor who could look inside me and see what was wrong.

            But Davey is as thick as Momma is sometimes. He just looked at me real stern and said I was only getting what I deserved.

            That hurt almost as much as the beating did. I couldn’t handle him scolding me.

            You know how much I like Davey. And even when he looked at me like he did, I couldn’t help thinking how good he looked, how much of Poppa’s face he had or how he looked when he came straight out of a shower, and now if he asked me I’d do just about anything he wanted me to do, even go down to the basement with him and let him do what those other boys wanted when Momma caught them.

            I know how I shouldn’t think like that. No sister is supposed to do that with her brother. And an unmarried girl shouldn’t do it at all.

            So I got so upset and flustered I just ran up into the attic and hid behind Poppa’s old trunks where I could whimper all I wanted without anybody telling me to stop.

            I like it in the attic. All dust and all those memories.

            I even peeked at the photo album of Momma and Poppa’s wedding. But Momma isn’t the same person now as she was in those photos.

            She looked happy then.

            But I guess that’s what happened when Poppa had to go to the hospital and all.

            I went back downstairs after everything got quiet.

            Everybody was asleep. That’s the only time no body was shouting at anybody else.

            So I picked up the telephone and called California.

            I didn’t know anybody there. I just liked hearing a voice that was living there and still awake. I liked the idea of company that couldn’t see me.

            If a woman answered, I hung up. If a man answered, I talked dirty. Most times the men didn’t hang up until I did.

            This time a man answered and I could hear his excited breath getting faster and faster the more I talked.

            That’s when Momma caught me.

            She screamed “Pervert” into the phone then hung up.

            Maybe she had been faking sleep to see who it was that was making all those calls to all those strange places.

            When she got through with me I couldn’t walk for a while.

            I couldn’t even crawl up the stairs to hide in the attic

            She says she’s going to kill me if I make one more mistake.

            And that’s the problem, Denny.

            I’m gonna do something again.

            I can feel it building up inside of me.

            I figured I’d better leave before it happens.

            So I needed to talk to you to find out if you know someone who might take me in, who wouldn’t mind me doing things in the basement with the boys, who might even like to have me around just to see what I might do next.

            Do you?


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