Mushrooms – Piece 10
Ryan sat alone in the dark wondering where Sam was and why she hadn’t returned.
His imagination ran wild. Was she dead? Impossible. Was she released? Maybe. Dead? No, that couldn’t happen yet.
The door opened and Sam returned. Uncle John placed her in her cage and after a long quite activity of climbing a ladder and changing the light, he let her out. Ryan was devasted.
Uncle John left the basement and Ryan watched as the girl grabbed a gallon of white paint and started to cover the mural.
“Stop! What are you doing?”
She turned around and smiled. “I’m getting out of here.”
“No your not.”
Sam just smiled and began to fill the basement with the smell of paint. Ryan just watched and then we he couldn’t take anymore he screamed. That’s all it took for Uncle John to come down. Click. Sch-click. Clickty-click-click. Click and click the locks went.
Sam heard Ryan say, “No,” before he left but it was already too late. Sam had figured a way to live longer.
Ryan stood in Uncle John’s bedroom in his white, dirty underwear. The room was quite large and Uncle John was fiddling with his large closet. He walked out and held a paddle in his hand. Three holes were positioned in a triangle formation at the end. It was crudely made, must have been older than Uncle John.
“I’m sorry,” the words seem to fall out of his mouth and disappear inches from his lips. He shivered in the coldness that blew through the vents and into the room. “I’m . . .”
“Ryan, my boy,” Uncle John said holding the paddle in his hand, swatting the inside of his hand with pleasure. “You know the rules,” and with that Ryan bent over the bed and Uncle John repeated brought the wooden relic down against his boney butt. Seven strikes, one had missed and struck heavily on his lower back. Uncle John whispered, “Don’t worry, you’ve always been my favorite.” Uncle John placed his finger on the inside edge of Ryan’s underwear and Ryan thought of the mural on the wall.
Seven mushrooms on a dirt path. One for every person he had seen die. Four were dedicated to the four girls he met and one for the other boy. Two were special. They were to his mother and father. He didn’t see them die, but he knew they were dead. He knew the must be since they would do everything in their power to save him, because they love him. He knew they loved him and held on to that idea when he lied on his side on the old cot in his cage.
His body hurt and his heart was torn. “Ryan,” Sam said through the bars. Ryan lied in silence thinking of his mural and his parents. He never got a chance to add another mushroom for Lorena. He hoped that soon he would be able to and maybe he would add Sam’s as well.
Next: Piece 11