Another Dying

March 28, 2009

posted and written by Caroline Picard; this is an excerpt from something I’m working on at the moment. All you need to know is that Tobias and the principle are the only adults. Otherwise it’s just kids playing in a preschool.

plague

Another Dying.

Ring around the rosie the girls aren’t playing. They play another game. They playing a game they just made up all by themselves. Emily is having trouble with the other two—Hannah and Olivia, who have both gone off to conspire; purposefully abandoning Emily in spite. It is Emily’s turn to wield the brunt of Maya’s wrath. Yesterday it had been Olivia’s.
“Olivia! You are so cute!” Maya cries today, kissing the fair child again and again until Emily turns red and started to cry. “You are my favorite,” Maya asserts. “You are beautiful.” She scowls at Emily. They both know Maya has never called Emily beautiful. Not ever. Not even on the good days.
“You are my favorite. You’re my best friend,” Olivia says. “Let’s get out of here. Emily’s boring.” Olivia feels victorious. She puts her nose in the air.
“I HATE YOU!” In a fit, Emily lays down on the floor on the blue mat that smells like old rubber and feet. She shuts her eyes tight to feign sleep. She wants to escape.
When they are alone without the third, Olivia pales, Maya yawns and the two draw back after a squabble over blocks, returning to their brooding and self-proclaimed misanthrope. Maya bends down to study Emily’s face. Their chins inches a part.
“I think she’s dead,” Maya says.
Olivia kicks her to test. Emily doesn’t move.
“Are you dead?” whispers Maya into Emily’s ear.
“Yes, I’m dead,” Emily whispers back.
“She’s dead,” Maya says.
“We’ll have to bury her.” Olivia’s hands are planted firmly on pre-pubescent hips.
“What can we bury her with?” Maya raises her arms in a shrug.
“With the blanket,” Olivia says. She points to the playhouse and fetches a blanket. Eamon is sitting on it, sipping pretend tea.
Olivia stands above him. Maya is by her side. Olivia is bolder with Maya there. “Eamon we need your blanket.”
“Can we borrow it?” Maya asks. She coos a little.
“Why?” asks Eamon, he frowns.
“We need to bury Emily. She’s dead.” Olivia laughs and paws her face.
“She died.”
“Can I come?” asks Eamon.
“O.K.”
What was two becomes three and then four when Kai grows interested and trots up.
“Where are we going?” he asks.
“We have to bury Maggie,” says Maya. She kisses Kai on the cheek. Kai flinches but does not turn away.
“She’s dead and if we don’t bury her,” Olivia says. “She’ll start to smell.”
The four are joined by a fifth (Isabelle) then a sixth (Maxwell) and they all together gather around their pretend corpse who has started to suffer from boredom and fidgets. The children toss the blanket up high into the air, dropping it softly with bated breaths overtop the dead Asian angel.
“We can’t leave her like this,” Maya says looking at the lump under the blanket.
“Whatta we do?”
“We need to dance.”
“I’ll do a dance,” says Kai shaking his hips and waving his arms.
“We can all do a dance,” Olivia says. The children dance. They dance around the body a few times, then start to run, then giggle and forget for a moment. Maggie pushes a piece of fabric down to get some air. Her chin peeks out. Olivia sess her move. She is suddenly jealous.
“I want to be dead too,” Olivia says. She climbs under the blanket.
“I want to be dead,” says Kai.
“I’m the only dead one!” the blanket says.
Maya frowns. She raises her voice, stern. “I get to say and I’m also dead.”
“Whoop! I fell down and now I’m dead!” says Maxwell.
“Me too. Me too,” Isabelle says. She snuggles into Mawell under the covers.

The principle looks at Tobias. Tobias is watching the children play. He is trying to be quiet. The principle takes several quick steps towards the bundle of dead children and clapps her hands with hard smacks, breaking the world of pretend. “Alright! Alright! That’s enough! That’s totally inappropriate.” She glares at Tobias. “This is totally inappropriate.”

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