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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/2211494
Rated: E · Fiction · Emotional · #2211494
This is my 1st pass at writing to get me on the path of writing for a story about alchemy.
Writing DAY 1 - 1/28/20 (1 hour)

There is a girl I used to know. She grew up in a small town. She was from a large family, but spent a lot of time on her own. She was an adventuress of sorts. She was always finding new places, if not outdoors, then in her imagination. Outdoors she liked being in the dirt. She went from making mud pies to seeking that which lived in the mud. Her yard was full of rocks, and to her surprise and delight, there was a lot going on under those rocks. Worms and salamanders to be exact. Such a variety of salamanders. Some were quite fat and light in color and others long, skinny and much darker. She thought they were all salamanders but maybe those were snakes? Baby snakes? It seems odd that having 5 siblings did not hold much interest for her. Maybe because she was the oldest. Perhaps there was not a lot of joy in their arrival.

I lived on the same street as her and my parents talked about her parents. They said the dad was a drunk and that he beat up her mom. Sometimes the girl showed up at our house in fear about the fighting and my parents would call the police. Maybe that's why she often played by herself. I think she was embarrassed. As a kid I did not think of that. I enjoyed her company when she was younger and I never stopped liking her, but she seemed to pull away from the kids on the street over time. Then one day she was gone. They were all gone. I have no idea what happened to them. In fact I can't even remember her name.
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I do remember she was brave. One day there were two snakes crossing the road and a few of us were watching them from a distance but she walked right up to them and picked them up. She started talking to them as if they were her pets and she knew them. She may even have given them names on the spot. She took them with her down her driveway and later that day her father came back from the store with a glass house for them and some mice. She let us watch them eat the mice. I don't think any of us enjoyed that. Even she seemed a bit squeamish. She kept those snakes for quite some time. It was as though they were her friends. They often lived around her neck and she let them slither down her shirt onto her chest. She was different from any other girl I ever knew. I was sad when she left.
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One time we were all on the street playing together and her father came out of their home completely naked. She was mortified and we were all scared. He seemed like a crazy man. He went to their car and removed the keys and yelled at her and her sisters to get in the house. We did not see her for a few days after that. That was only a few weeks before they disappeared completely.
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Nowadays when kids disappear like that our teachers talk to us, help us try to understand, but back then people whispered. I overheard alcohol, fighting, neglect, abuse, but I did not know what any of that meant. I just remembered the children I used to know go quieter and quieter until they finally disappeared.
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I on the other hand did my best to show up. I was the oldest on the block once they moved. I was not brave enough to pick up snakes, and I did not have a yard full of slimy creatures, but I did have a yard that opened up to a huge hillside. I remember when my family changed that I spent more and more time out there, and as I walked alone, I remembered the girl from across the street and wondered where she was.
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In my family when I was 12 years old my sister was hit by a car. I heard that word alcohol again and later learned she was hit by a drunk driver. Anyway, my sister, Michelle, was in the hospital for months. Everything changed in my home from that day on. My parents took turns being by Michele's side and whichever one stayed with the rest of us kids was often tired and worried. They both worked, so without the help of the other, they had to manage meals, bath time, homework and bedtime. That wasn't easy, even with a family of 3. Michele was the 4th child, the baby of the house. She was 2 when she was hit. When she came home, we were told she was lucky to be alive and that she might never be the same and that it was our job to help take care of her.
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Michele never did get "better". She grew up and looked okay on the outside but her brain was damaged in the accident and people at school made fun of her. Kids can be so cruel. I got in a few fights sticking up for her, and I tried to help my parents by spending time with her, but eventually I got sick of life revolving around her and I began to resent her. My parents didn't like it but they understood and let me spend a lot of time away from home. That's when I came to know the hills behind our home better. I could wander for hours.
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In those hills I had a lot of make-believe homes and friends and family members. I was popular and brave and I had a special connection to animals. There were dogs I would see out there. In fact, I am pretty sure one was Rebel who belonged to the family across the street. I think they may have left him behind. I think they actually left a lot behind. I remember an older couple came with a truck to clear out the house. I thought it was family but I heard my parents say it was the owners getting the house ready for new people to move in. I saw lots of things being taken out that I wondered about. I wondered why they were left behind.
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I am Rebel. I was their black dog. I ran wild and had a bad reputation around town. The story goes that my life ended in a fight with the bitch I loved. She had my puppies and I came sniffing around and one of my sons didn't know me so he attacked me. I was old, so they say I crept off tired after that fight and died in the hills. The same hills "that girl" spent many hours roaming in her imaginary life. She had some forts that were so spacious, that made her happy. Large cleared dirt floors and thick branches to sit on as couches. She had the best of times there and she never once took anyone along on those adventures. Now I was not the type of dog anyone "took along" or didn't. I never had a leash and never wore a collar. I pretty much had life to myself to do as I pleased, and sometimes that included following her around, to see what she was up to.
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Back to my reputation. I was a black dog, so right off the bat there was some stigma, and I wasn't small . I weighed about 45 pounds and what I didn't carry in weight I carried in confidence and aloofness. At least that's what others saw in me. What casual observers didn't know about me was that I hated to be left alone for long periods of time with no affection. I wanted to be included with my family. When they all packed up in the car to go places, I wanted to be with them. I often felt forgotten. Sometimes the pain was so deep that I'd use every muscle in my body to chase down their car and finally, once they saw me near the freeway, they would pull over and let me in. I am surprised I didn't collapse to my death on that back-seat floor of the car. My body ached and my chest hurt and I felt like I was one breath away from death. In fact, the truth is, one day they didn't stop. One day it was their uncle's car that those kids piled into. Their father was still home, but he was not a person I wanted to be near, and their mother had left a few days before. I only wanted to be in the lap of those kids. That's the only place I ever felt any love.
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One night a brown station wagon appeared. I had never seen it before. I smelled a lot of fear that night. I was out front laying on the cement driveway and the lights approached the house. It parked on the street just above. The oldest girl, my favorite, came out and greeted the two strangers. They knew each other, but there was no joy in their seeing each other. The lady held her for a minute and then the girl pulled away. I sensed she did not want the comfort. It was too much. I knew that feeling. She stiffened up and walked back towards the house and she stood aside as the man knocked on the door. He spoke to the father who looked confused and annoyed. He stood aside as the 3 of them entered. Soon after all the kids walked out carrying stuffed pillow cases and one by one they got into the brown station wagon. I never saw them again.

I did all I could to get in that car. I tried right there at the house, but the man pulled me back, so I ran and I ran and I ran. There was only one exit out of that town and I made it there before the car. I stood there in the middle of the street begging to be let in. That's the location where the family usually stopped to let me in, but the man just honked and yelled at me, so I got out of the way.
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That was the night I went to see my bitch and my pups. They weren't pups anymore. I am not sure why I never thought to see them before. They had grown large and time had passed so fast. I just needed a lap. I finally knew that was what I needed. I wanted to find comfort, that was all. What I found was the mother of my pups very frail. I could smell her sickness. My boys were guarding her. They didn't understand. One lunged at my throat. I did not fight back. I tucked my head and turned. I did not die of a fight that night. I later died of a broken heart.
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I did not die that same day. I lived a bit longer in the hillsides. I went back to all the places I had followed the girl, looking for pieces of her. I wanted to remember her and the stories she told. I wanted to smell her and fill in the empty spaces she left behind. Things eventually got ugly when I started killing animals for food but I was hungry. I had no intention of going back to that empty house and I knew no one else would take me in. I didn't want to be taken, I wanted to be free, but I hated being alone all the time. I could not find love anywhere but I could find food so that's what I did. I ravaged what I could until my ravaged heart could not take another day and then I wept myself to sleep. That was the day I left my body behind. It's long since turned into ashes and I am free now.
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