7 brothers are waiting for the bus, a woman in a ski mask rips the smallest child into her Subaru, she drives headlong into swirling mist.
7 Lucky Gods somewhere do or do not exist.
There used to be 7 wonders of the world, some of the wonders were leveled; some of the wonders have only grown taller, wider, more prolific as refrigerator magnets, as modeling clay crumbling at a crime scene.
The kidnapper leans in and brushes the child’s hair from his wet face.
“Are you going to be quiet?”
The kid nods, the rag is removed, he screams, “HELP!!!!! HELP!!!! DAVID! JOHN! CLYDE! MARK! RALPH! MIKE! HELP!!!!” The rag goes back in.
The 7th son of a 7th son rocks his chair over, lays sideways on the cold tile; the woman wonders if the boy has any of these qualifications:
- A direct link with the dark forces.
- Soothsaying, whether it be with or without a special stone pressed on his forehead
- Does a full moon make his form shift?
- Is he a healer? A holder of the power of ‘The Cure’? (fingers crossed)
7 sleepers sleep in a stone wall. The sins add up to seven every time. Six brothers sit in separate classrooms. 6 uncles do not know. 1 father feels his nose itch. The rag is removed again and the boy says, “I’ll be quiet now.”
That night the moon is full. She places a silver coin in his mouth. When he spits it out, she says, “What’s your name?”
“You’re doing good so far, Bobby.”
They drive down a country road. A farmhouse sits dark, collapsed, terrifying.
“I’m scared,” he says.
“You should be.”
The woman drives besides a well and has the child stand beside the well.
She says, “There’s someone down at the bottom of the well, call for them, and if they answer you, I will bring you home.”
The boy leans over the side of the well. There is a strong draft. “What’s that smell?”
“Sulphur. Go on, call …”
He calls, “Hello! Hello!”
“Good,” she says, “Call one more time.”
“Hello is there anyone there?”
There is no response. Even the wind is still. The woman is pleased, they speed away in the car.
In an open field, she places a stone on his forehead, and has the boy stand with his arms straight out at his sides. She says, “Will I be arrested?”
The child says, “No, I promise. I won’t tell.”
She takes him to a different house. There are replicas of these things: Stonehenge, theColosseum, the Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa, the Porcelain Tower of Nanjing, the Great Wall of China, the Hagia Sophia, the Leaning Tower of Pisa—each room has a different object, each object is made out of modeling clay that looks to be on the verge of crumbling.
She says, “Which one do you like best?”
The boy motions towards the Porcelain Tower of Nanjing. She smiles, “Nobody ever picks that one. You’re a good kid.”
After a grilled 7-cheese sandwich lunch, she shows him some x-rays. There are spots on her lungs that look like sprawled out spiders.
“Cancer,” she says. “Incurable.”
“I’m sorry,” Bobby says.
The woman says, “But you can try …”
She lifts her shirt. Removes her bra. The child puts a hand on each breast. Nothing happens.
“Never mind. Time to take you home. But first, bite my neck, as hard as you can, just in case I’m wrong.”
© 2015 Bud Smith
Image “The Graveyard on Alderney on a foggy night” © Flickr user Neil Howard