A Different Kind of Dead

by Obsidian

I’m dead.

Okay, maybe I’m not. I have just made the dumbest mistake of my life, and the fastest route any human would take out of it was to die, or bury themselves six feet under.

I’m dead. I’m very dead. My mom says to say things over and over when you want it to stick, to pray over and over for things to happen. Because words repeated can morph into answers. So, when I’m saying “I’m dead,” albeit, loud enough for my ears only, I mean, I want answers from the universe.

It’s one of the days, when the universe, instead of blessing you with wings for flight, or interfering auspiciously in your life, only mocks you. A mockingbird is singing in the distance, and the Earth is orbiting the normal way.

Biggy pulls me up by the collar, snarling at me with lettuce-stained teeth. “Why you write my girl a love letter? You deserve beating.”

Biggy is the tallest in our class, and the strongest. One of his best fighting strategies is to sit on his victim and stuff their mouth with sand. He is known for his frequent visits to the staff room for punishment, and his tendency to leave his shirt unbuttoned, and his shoelaces dragging after him, as though they are reluctant to follow him.

Hear me out, I know she is his girl, I just feel as though she needs saving. Even Biggy needs saving from himself.

Penelope stands at the corner of the classroom, her eyes filled with concern and a hint of dread. Coloring book and crayons discarded, she walks to Biggy, her braids bouncing off her back. “Biggy, don’t.”

Biggy snarls at me again, reducing all my thought up attempts to fight back to zero. He backs away, and pointed at me. “I’ll get you, prissy boy.”


Penelope and I are on the swing, waiting for our parents. I watch out for both Biggy and my mom’s silver Buick. This isn’t the first time we have waited for our parents together. We would wait together, talk, and wave at each other when we see the red paint of her father’s Camry, or the glinting silver of my mom’s Buick.

We sit side by side, the knight and his damsel in distress. She slips a hand into mine and looks away, like she is afraid to see if our hands fit perfectly. Her braids are brown, matching her brown eyes.

“Do you need saving from Biggy?”

Her head whips around to look at me, and she retrieves her hand in a hurry. “No, I don’t. You know he’s been moved from one foster home to another? He doesn’t have a real daddy and a mummy like we do. Biggy is a good boy, he just needs someone to see him for who he is. ”

“And you’re that person?”

She doesn’t speak for a while, as though contemplating, then nodded. “I’m that person.”

“What if he finds out that you pity him?”

Penelope stops swinging. “I don’t pity him, I see him.”

“You don’t have to see him up close, you can do that from afar.”

“Why not?”

“Because you can be my girl.”

She spluttered into a cough, one that I had to pat away from her back. “Oh, Adam,” she says, the side of her lips tugging up in a smile.

I press a kiss to her forehead like my mom does to me, smoothing her braids while at it. I fish the plastic ring I had bought from the stall close to our school, and hand it over to her. It is red, with a love shaped candy attached to the top of it.

“You’re so dead, Prissy boy,” I hear someone say. I don’t have to look to know it is Biggy. I really am dead.

Obsidian is a writer with an eye for poetry in nature and the mundane. When she isn’t writing, she can be found listening to Sade and Asa, scouring the internet for memes, or wondering why everything she needs cannot be brought to her doorstep. She has had her works published in Brittle Paper, Fiery Scribe and Backwards Trajectory, and another is forthcoming in Eunoia Review.

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