Author Stephanie Kane-quiet time, blind spot, new books, book online, book search


May 1973

 “You wanna see it, don't you?”
     Gravel pierced his sandals as he struggled to keep up.
     A dusty wind fanned purple flowers in the field, but he looked straight ahead. They passed a trailer with a chicken wire hutch. He saw the rabbits prick up their ears.
     The sun was hot and his mouth tasted like dirt. The footsteps he was following got longer. They'd left the others in the shade of the park.
     “Change your mind?”
     He'd never go there alone, he'd get spanked if he got caught. But he wasn't alone. So it was okay, wasn't it?
     “Then hurry up!”
     He stumbled but kept on his feet. Now they were trotting, and the only sound was trucks whipping by on the interstate past the railroad tracks. When the footsteps came to a stop he almost fell. He looked up and saw twin flashes of silver.
      Arrows with gleaming tips pointed straight at the sky.
      Rocket ships.
     “Go on, you can touch them.”
     He took a step forward and ran his fingers over the ribbed metal. Slowly he circled the huge bins that guarded the windowless tower. It was cooler here in the shadows, the highway was in another world and he stopped thinking about what would happen if he got caught.
     The tower was so tall he couldn't see the top. Braided wire thick as rope tied the ships to the ground. Ducts and chutes, an upside-down funnel big enough to swallow and spit him out whole-
     He felt a warm breath at the back of his neck.
     “Pretty neat, huh?”
     From where he was standing, the highway and the railroad tracks were gone. Even the town had disappeared. How would they look from the tower? High above the bins stood a catwalk with a small platform.
     “What are you waiting for?”
     Metal bars hugged the wall with nails for handholds. The ladder was too steep, but he wanted to see-
“I knew you were too little.”
     He stepped onto the first rung, sandal slipping on the greasy metal.
     “I'm right behind you.”
     He'd really catch it if his mom-A gentle push made him reach for the handhold.
     Slowly he began to climb.
     “Go on...”
     Driven by soft grunts behind him and the creak of heavier feet on the rungs, he kept climbing. After five steps his arms were shaking and his fingers cramped. Halfway up the ladder his trousers caught something sharp. He heard them tear.
     “Not gonna stop now, are you?”
     He'd show them .
     When he reached the catwalk his legs were jerking so badly he couldn't stand. Dropping to his knees at the platform's edge, he shut his eyes.
     “Well, go ahead. Take a look.”
     The four-wheelers on the interstate were the size of his red truck, the railroad tracks no bigger than the ones in the train set his brother got for Christmas. In the other direction the ground was patched like a quilt, one piece brown and flat and the next ribbons of green. A gust of wind parted the grass and ran through the field like a comb.
     “Wanna see something else?”
     A flash. Something flat and shiny, with a-
     He grabbed, but it was snatched back.
     “Come and get it!”
     Now it was above his head. He reached up with both hands only to have it pulled away. He was hot and he was out of breath, and suddenly he was too tired to play.
     “What do you think you're doing?”
     “Wanna go home..” The whiny voice was his.
     “I knew you were a baby.”
     He made himself stand.
     "Pull them down.”
     The giggle added to his confusion.
     “I said, take them off!”
     A smile, but this was no longer fun.
     “Do it now.
     He stepped back and his shoulder bumped the railing. He felt a warm surge.
     “Don't be a baby. It's just a game.”
     Pee rolled down the inside of his leg.
      “Not a fraidy-cat, are you?”
     He could hear the trucks on the highway.
“Do it.”
The eyes shined like black buttons. His heel touched the platform's edge.
“Do it now .”
The voice was scarier than the eyes. Metal flashed. Then his sandal slipped. He tried to grab the railing. His feet went out from under him. It was too late.
All he could hear was his own scream





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