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About a Girl: Prologue

Joined: 11/3/2010
Posts: 206
THE SUMMER I AM FIFTEEN, I walk into the garage and find my sister’s body on the ground.

It’s funny how we distance ourselves from the dead. It – the body – is no longer Layla. It has her dark hair, the edge of her trailing braid unraveling like a frayed rope end. It wears her natural fiber Juniper Berry skirt with the tassels and horrendous gold embroidery, the unfortunate result of another of her impulsive eco-friendly obsessions. Its fingers are painted her favorite shade of nail polish, a vibrant coral red, and its eyelashes are heavy with clumpy mascara. But for all its lifelike qualities, it’s just a body.

The person Layla was is long gone. All we’re left with is this empty, soulless shell. The body is overflowing with organs and bones and wriggly pink muscles, like gooey innards pressing against the skin of a fat grape, about to explode with health and life. The body has everything it needs to live, the nuts and bolts, even the engine fluid and carburetor. But for all its completeness, her body lacks the spark that once made her dance and laugh and love life with burning fervor.

I stand frozen, one hand on the handle of the manual garage door. In my other hand I clutch For Whom the Bell Tolls against my chest, my index finger pinched between the pages, holding my place. My eyes travel from the pool on the floor to the garroted throat. The limp end of rope curled on the floor like a sleeping animal. The silver fender of my father’s car flecked with the rusty brown of dried blood. The heavy manila envelope tucked beneath the windshield wiper, my name scrawled in purple ink across the paper.

Dull red patches of ruptured blood vessels glare beneath her half-closed lids. The bowline slipknot has carved into her neck. A thick crease of purple skin pushes around the edges of the rope, rising like a low mountain ridge, crusted in blood.

Later they tell us she hung herself, but after a minute or two the knot holding the rope to the ceiling loosened. She fell. Cracked her head against the floor. Blood sprayed in a careful arc over the polished concrete, but a slow leak from the smashed parietal bone in her skull obliterated the meticulous artwork in a pool of dark red.

The image is forever burned in my mind. Not with the clear brilliance of a twenty-first century digital image, the sort rendered by a Kodak touchscreen with fourteen megapixels and 5X optical zoom. Rather, it is a worn and moth-eaten image, much fingered and stained, tinged with acidic yellow like a Roger Fenton daguerreotype or a still shot from a grainy 1920s movie with clumsily restored color. Suffused with that translucent sheen of unreality characterized in extreme exhaustion or inebriation. Flushed with the vertiginous emotion of shock. Exaggerated and warped by endorphins and adrenaline.

I run out into the yard and vomit.

We were friends before. When we were children. We walked through life holding each others’ hands and hearts. I loved her with the blind, unconditional love of innocence and ignorance. I loved her as only a sister can. And later, I hated her as only a sister can.

I feel hollow. Empty. Like a starving man on a desert island who wasn’t eaten for weeks.

She’s better now, I think. She’s better now she’s dead. I feel a twinge at the callousness of my own words, but this is exactly what I think as I vomit on the overgrown grass and the image of my sister’s body haunts my vision. This, and, Dear god, this is going to kill Andrew.

And it does.

(To be continued . . .)
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Comment by george_strait_girl_5

Joined: 8/15/2011
Posts: 4
If this is a true story, I feel so much for you, and I am so sorry for your loss. :(

But whether true or fiction-- wow. This is amazing. There's not a single flaw [i]in[i/] it. Your use of literary tools to deepen things is great. The imagery is so skillfully put in. And I felt like I was right there with you, feeling what you did, as you did. I love this so much! It says "to be continued..." at the bottom. Please continue it!! :)
Posted: Wednesday, August 24, 2011 4:00:26 AM
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Comment by sullysolipsism

Joined: 11/3/2010
Posts: 206
Thanks so much for the encouragement! Just to clarify, it's NOT a true story (thankfully). It's all coming from my twisted little writer's brain where the basic thoguht process is that a good book requires lots of plot and plot requires lots of conflict and conflict requires lots of unfulfilled or blocked wants and needs. I thought the loss of a child posed the ultimate yearning.

And yes, I'll be posting the next parts soon. :) Thanks again!
Posted: Wednesday, August 24, 2011 1:16:11 PM
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Comment by LogOphile

Joined: 9/16/2011
Posts: 3
I literally had my breath sucked in!
Just let it out when i read your comment that this ain't a true story :)
and you sure have a way with the detailed descriptions ..
an awesome read (thank God it's not true) :D
Posted: Friday, September 16, 2011 6:00:59 PM
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Comment by sullysolipsism

Joined: 11/3/2010
Posts: 206
Wow, thanks so much! I was a little afraid that there was too MUCH detail and that it would either bore or disgust readers, so thanks for the encouragement! :)
Posted: Saturday, September 17, 2011 1:51:05 PM
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Comment by LivyluvsJC

Joined: 8/14/2011
Posts: 10
Wow Keilah! This is the first of your work that I've read. It's really impressive. I think you did real good how you made your readers feel like they were we were the ones seeing the body, not whoever was talking. I also liked how the person that was talking expressed how she had loved her sister her whole life and now she hated her. Keep the good work up!
Posted: Tuesday, October 25, 2011 1:03:18 AM
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Comment by sullysolipsism

Joined: 11/3/2010
Posts: 206
Thanks so much, Livy! I really appreciate the encouragement. :) Can't wait to check out some of your work too!
Posted: Thursday, October 27, 2011 5:43:34 AM
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Comment by kethmini

Joined: 11/1/2011
Posts: 3
Oh my goodness, you had me at that first sentence. I love your vivid use of adjectives and feelings, it seems to effortless and fits perfectly with your writing. Brilliant and amazing. :)
Posted: Tuesday, November 1, 2011 3:19:37 AM
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Comment by sullysolipsism

Joined: 11/3/2010
Posts: 206
Thank you! :)
Posted: Wednesday, November 2, 2011 2:33:56 PM
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