STAY AWAY - scott daughtridge

“Grab a knife from the kitchen and follow me,” Josh said from the front door. He always sounded like he was losing his voice, like he’d been screaming in his sleep or into his pillow behind closed doors, wide awake with tear filled eyes. Whatever it was, it made me respect him less. Instead of getting up, I mocked him in my head. I knew where he was going and why he wanted me to come. We had told Kenny, our neighbor, to stay away from our house, but he didn’t listen. He kept coming back later and later in the night, knocking harder and harder on our door. I don’t know why he didn’t just leave us alone.

“This is what animals do,” I said to Josh as I grabbed the long steel knife with the wooden handle from the drawer. I felt the edge with my thumb. It needed sharpening, but it would do for the time being.

“We are animals,” Josh said in his strained voice.

I closed the door behind us and said “that’s true.”

The air was sticky and the sun was directly overhead. I hummed a song and noticed that our shadows were nowhere to be seen.

Scott Daughtridge
Donal Ray Pollock