Good Trade

            You can call me crazy…I really don’t care. Been crazy for the last twelve years according to the doctors and you don’t see me complaining. Been enjoying it really. Free meals three times a day, pills to make the bad dreams go away, and nobody who can turn my life around. Yea, I know, I get it. You think I’m crazy too. So what? Let me tell me a little story and you can call me crazy all you want.

            Daddy said my mouth was a blossom. A fine flower that opened every morning and night to drink. As long as it did that, the valley didn’t need to be flooded. I decided, after one bad flood, the flower was a whole lot better.

            Mommy said I was a harlot. Everyday she used the scarlet “A” to mark me. Hester has nothing on me, and at least she did it for love. When Mommy said she wouldn’t use it anymore if I would just help her…well…I guess I did it for love too. No more scarlet “A” burning into pink, and Daddy only needed the flower. Nice trade.

            Brother said that I was sick. Had to be. Had to be. So what. Every night, like clockwork he threw the Book at me. I learned just about every book it had in it over that time. For a girl that never learned to read, that has to be something right? Learned it, got something to show for it. Wasn’t as sick I suppose, no more scarlet “A”, and no flooding of the valley. Nice moves, nice trade.

            Sister just cried. Cried all the time. Daddy was going to teach her next. Wasn’t sure how I felt about that. Anger I suppose. If he taught her then my trades weren’t good anymore. He wouldn’t care about not flooding my valley, which would make Mommy angrier, and the “A” would return, Brother would leave, and though the pain of a flying book would be gone, so would be God. I couldn’t read remember? Something had to give.

            Late one night, after Mommy, Brother, and Daddy had come and gone, I lifted sister out of the window. She didn’t want to stay anymore. I loved her. I knew I did. She’d leave. Everything would be fine, and we’d make a good trade. She wanted to be with the angels, and for a moment I didn’t want her to. I remembered them from the book. All fire and glory. Maybe I wanted to be with the angels….But she told me that she would go with or without me and she’d make sure they blamed me. Not a good trade. So I helped her out the window. Watched silently as she fell, and then moved with the angels. I even heard her giggle as they surrounded her. I hadn’t heard her laugh in a long time. Good trade.

            Mommy came in screaming. I told her to stop but she wouldn’t. She just kept screaming at me about something called killing and I ran for her. She’d wake Daddy, he’d be angry and then he’d flood the valley. Not a good trade. So she went to the angels too…Not as nicely but she would be in good hands. I knew that from the Book. Good trade.

            Brother came in then, crying and slobbering. He looked kind of funny. I thought I would laugh but he threw the Book again and it shut my mouth. Never thought it would hurt so much. The red stuff would stain the carpet. Not good. Daddy wouldn’t like it and then he’d flood the valley. Not good. Brother flew to the angels too. I heard some sort of ringing in the background then. Red and blue lighting up the street. Pretty.

            Daddy came running in then. He was red. Kinda like the lights. I tried to laugh but all I could do was choke on the red stuff. Nasty. But everything was ok. We could go back to normal, me and Daddy. He would have his flower. The Book was gone, but I remembered it. Mommy wouldn’t be angry so no “A”, and sister wouldn’t have to learn what I did. Good trade right? Daddy said no as men in black with silver badges rushed in. He screamed to them it was me.

            Yes, Daddy, it was. Now we can go back to normal…Maybe.

            The Man in the white coat came in my room later. It was cold in the room. Only thing I had to lie on was a metal bed. But I was ok. They fed me and gave me a pretty new orange outfit. Good trade. The Man in the white coat said he was going to take me to somewhere better. Somewhere I could get help. I asked if I could have the Book there and he said yes. Good trade.

            Call me crazy if you want. I don’t care. They feed me here; I have a bed, and clothes. No more Daddy. No more Mommy. No more Brother. No more Sister…Good trade.

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