Fiction: Seaweed

By Geoffrey Marshall

Daddy got me real scared when I got home. Not just normal scared either. Figured best was I just go wait for it to blow over. So I hid out back — down by them old swings. He built them a couple years before. Still worked and all. He built them for me. Daddy could build things — when he wanted I guess. He built things pretty good.
So I swung and got red hands from them old rusty chains. Sometimes I would just stop swinging and sit there looking at the red. Then I would kicked my feet and start up again. The swing sure did squeak though. Sounded like seagulls when I got it going. When I was flying.
So I made myself scarce that afternoon. You know. Had to wait for it to blow over. Daddy always takes care of me — but sometimes I make things hard for him. You know what I mean? Like I might do something not so safe and all, by mistake. Then he gets mad.
I already knew he would be mad before I got home that afternoon. Reason being, I saw the cop cars. Bunch of them alright, heading out to Point Grim. Kids were saying things too. Not that any of them talked to me. But I could hear what they said.
Wait, I just lied to you. They talked to me alright. I mean, they used to. Mental Melany. That’s what they called me. They said I didn’t wash my hair. That it was always greasy. I was dirty. On account of my clothes, which Ma always got second hand. Plenty of other kids had used clothes, but for me, they always made fun. There’s Mental Melany in her used jacket and shit-stained jeans. That’s what they said about me.
Once, a while back, a boy came up and kissed me. Then he ran away, making barf noises. I heard them laugh. Even some girls laughed at that. And they kept doing it. More than a few times. They would dare each other to kiss me. I never did cry at school. I cried on my swing. I whistled at the seagulls when they came. I cried like those seagulls.
I wanted Daddy to hurt that boy so bad and I told him what happened. He was mad enough ok. Except it was me he thumped. I knew he would do it too, but I took it all the same. Just that one time. He told me he felt ashamed. Any boy that did that to his daughter ought to regret it. Just what would I do, next time a boy kissed me? he wanted to know.
I  wiped the blood from my nose. I would hurt them back Daddy, I said. That made him real happy. He was a crazy fucker. I know that well enough. What can I say?
Next time, I let the boy come real close. He kissed me and I hugged him back. I heard the other kids laugh. Look, she’s hugging him, they said. Mental Melany likes it, they laughed. But the boy didn’t laugh. Not one bit. He couldn’t get away and I kneed as hard as I could between his legs. Next thing I knew, he threw up all over the floor. The teachers had to come. I didn’t get in trouble though, because why should I? He came at me. Just leave me alone, I wanted to tell everybody.
School must’ve called because Daddy asked what happened. You should’ve seen his smile. They still talked about me after that, but all they did was talk. And I still listened. Just like this time.
I heard what they were saying, which was a lobster fisherman found a body in the seaweed down by the cliffs off Point Grim. Dead as dead could ever be, and not fresh. Nibbled up by some creepy crawlies, they said.  They all agreed — it was Tommy. He had missed school for a week and the kids said the cops had figured he got hooked on drugs and ran away. But the cops were wrong, the kids said. Because Tommy was dead in the seaweed with no eyes.
So when I saw the cop cars by the house, I figured they might give Daddy some ideas. I figured he would be mad. That’s why I hid. That’s why I was on my swing. That’s why I whistled to those seagulls.
Daddy came out back when the cops left. He called me inside. I figured I had to go. I mean, didn’t I? Where were you last Saturday, Melany? he asked. The story he gave the cops was that we were on the mainland, visiting Ma.
Ma was living up there with her sister right then, on account of work. They were in charge  of sorting the second hand clothes. She said there were lots rats. Some dead. Some alive. It didn’t sound too nice, but she did it. The cops got her on the phone and she told them it was true, Daddy and me were with her. Except we weren’t.
Where were you Melany? Daddy asked.
So I told him where I was. Tommy cornered me behind the bleachers. Tommy was strong. Wasn’t nothing I could do. Tommy said no one would ever believe Mental Melany. So I remembered what Daddy told me. I said to Tommy that I liked it. He could do what he wanted, because I liked it. I let him put his tongue down my throat. I said he could fuck me in the tall grass along the cliff.
So I told Daddy the truth. Last Saturday, Tommy and me was out for a walk along the cliff down by Point Grim.

Geoffrey Marshall is a writer in Aurora, Canada. His work can be found on Idle Ink, the Kaidankai podcast, A Thin Slice of Anxiety, as well as the MoonPark Review and a few other places. His novella Flyover Country (published by Alien Buddha Press) is available on Amazon and upcoming work will also appear in Schlock! and the Kaidankai podcast.


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