by Cat JenkinsLi’l sister saw it same time as me.
But her eyes kenned it differ’nt.
What I saw were green and noisome, like one of Granny’s potions. Like bile milked from a sea slug. But Sara got all gaspy and whispery; her face goin’ beatific. “Lookee, Rena,” she says to me. “Lookee.”
“Don’ touch it.” I pulled at her arm to make her leave. “Come away. Don’ touch it.”
“Why, it’s like a ghost or angel leaned down from Heaven, breathin’ pearly-green all over the mucky holes, all pretty and shimmery like dragonfly wings.”
I minded me to tell Granny to stop fillin’ Sara’s head with them fairytales. Don’ do no good to have nonsense flittin’ through yer head in the bayou. They’s enough cautions to be had ‘round ev’ry corner ‘thout bringin’ fancies into it.
The green stuff was oozin’ on closer like it were drawn by heat or heartbeat, and li’l Sara couldn’ take her eyes off’n it. So’s I pulled her back and herded her all the way home, tellin’ her never to go back there.
“But it’s booootiful, Rena! Like…like the moon and the sea got t’gether an’ conjured up elf-fire…”
I pushed li’l Sara up onto the porch, and acrost it, and into our room, and that shoulda been the end to it.
But li’l girls is a han’ful. That night Sara sneaked out.
We tracked ‘er next day, but lost ‘er back where that bile-green glow bubbled up from the mucky holes. We called and called and Mama wept somethin’ fierce…Granny, too.
But no Sara.
Couple nights later I thought I heard li’l sis callin’. Her voice had gone all chimey and tinkly, but it were callin’ my name, and who else’d do that? I went lookin’, but no Sara. Jes’ her callin’ from all differ’nt sides at once, seemed like. Next mornin’ afore the sun come up, I saw bitty footprints glowin’ green in the glimmer-light. They come out from the bayou to my window and then gone back.
Bile-green they was.
When I told, Granny and Mama shook me hard and said to pay them no nevermind. And they stopped lookin’ for my li’l sister. Stopped talkin’ ‘bout her, too. Stopped usin’ her name.
But I think I’ll see Sara again. Prob’ly soon. ‘Cause I keep hearin’ her chimey voice at night. And this mornin’, afore the sun washed it away, I saw the greeny glow’d come up again.
Only this time, I didn’ think it were bile-y, but pearly-soft and glowy.
And it were pretty like Sara said.
And it come all the way ‘cross the yard again.
Only this time, it come up the siding.
Only this time, there were some on my windowsill.
Cat Jenkins lives in the Pacific Northwest where the weather is often conducive to long hours before a keyboard. Her stories in humor, fantasy, speculative fiction, and horror have been published both online and in print. She is working on her first novel, a psychological thriller with touches of magical realism. Read Cat’s blog. Follow her on Twitter: @CatJenkins11