MARIO J. GONZALES
MARCH 2012 - FICTION
In summer when schools have closed their doors and winter is buried beneath rows of scorched sunlight, a group of boys runs through a field overgrown with sweet thistle, saw grass and milkweed. West of the field is an empty lot where numerous bricks, both solid and cracked, lay scattered on an old concrete foundation. The boys, frenzied by the spell of their youth, reach the lot and declare it theirs: no girls or kids from other neighborhoods can enter. One boy, a thickly rancorous child named Eddie leads all the others. He lays out his presence by drawing an X on the remains of the house’s foundation. “This,” he states, “is ours.”
Each boy fears Eddie with a fierce devotion. They avoid looking into his eyes for if they do, the depth of Eddie’s mystery flashes, that unnamable thing he can neither bury, nor deny nor defend against. It moves in him like some minor demon, soaked in its own darkness. It’s the very thing compelling and stoking the pleasure in each boy’s fear of Eddie.
Eddie continues to spread the word: “This place can’t be crossed by anyone but us.”
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