by Adam Mac
I had lived a sheltered life. Windows always open, wholesome fragrances everywhere, and I buzzed in and out of the house at will. Best were the apple pies that cooled on the kitchen table. The madam playfully swatted at me and chased me around knowing full well she’d never get me in a room with 10-foot ceilings.
Then one day, horror struck. I found my family strung up on one of those sticky strips, stuck there unmoving in gruesome, contorted positions. I’d never noticed it before, but my younger brother had seven legs.
I hopped the first outsider who was going far away–I hoped. Turns out, he only made it to the first stop on the interstate before he had to relieve himself. I was tired and disoriented, so I just buzzed around his cap, but when he made to leave I was prevented by a strong downdraft of air at the door. We parted ways and I got to know my new surroundings.
People, always men, came in waves. When it was slack, young boys would come in and horse around. “I can hit it from way back here,” one would say, and the other would wager a small bet. Most of the time, men would stand as far apart as possible, but sometimes you’d get a guy who’d come a little too close. I watched and listened.
It took getting used to what I thought was my punishment for having survived. (I’d learned all about guilt in Sunday School.) The smells weren’t like momma’s apple pie, but they were strangely attractive in a primal sort of way, and I felt a side of me emerge which might have frightened me once. Towards dark—the crickets told me—a large fellow in a black Lynyrd Skynyrd t-shirt barreled into a stall. I followed. I didn’t come out for hours. If this was purgatory, I could skip heaven.
Adam Mac is a featured author in the Garden of Eden Anthology.