The fields were polka-dotted with strawberries. The youngest—a towhead—said his finger had found the furthest reaches of his nose, which tickled, and that the sky had turned pink. The middle one—Michelle, a girl, brace-toothed and bespectacled—said, “Shut up, Bobby. Youre such an idiot.” The strawberry arched from her fingers in a parabola of streaked red. It splattered Bobbys shirt so that it resembled a television gunshot wound. The freckled chubby oldest filled the inside of his headlock with Michelles curled locks. Another berry—smashed upon those curls—resembled the brains that ticked away under Michelles scalp, the mind itself overcome with hatred. She was, after all, the middle child, a girl, the one they called “Four-eyes,” and “Lispy,” for her retainered Ss.
“You fat ass,” Michelle hollered from within Jacobs elbow. It sounded like she was deep inside a cave, locked away, which, of course, she was. There were things these brothers would never know: the twisted ruined barn beyond the southern hills, the old man and his son, the hundreds of colored bottles, and that to those men she was beautiful and wanted.
When Jacob released her, the hills sparkled not with strawberries and brothers, but with dew, alight with sunset, dappled like a tuxedos white-rosed lapel, the scent of mango carried in from the sea.