The Place Between

The Place Between

DJ Swykert

Price: $4.99

ISBN: 145052852X
CATEGORIES: Romantic Fiction, Inspirational
KEYWORDS: Maggie, Wolves, Two Worlds, Place Between



COPYRIGHT DJ Swykert/2010

My father drowns my kittens. It is like a ritual. Every summer Princess has a litter of kittens and every summer my father drowns them.
It makes me dread the summer, which is sad, because I love the sun. I like to see the flowers reaching up to the sky as if they are trying to touch the sun. There is a large field behind my house where I watch the lupines and daisies as they sway back and forth in the wind.
I am a dreamer. I have lived in my dream world for as long as I can remember, and I think I will always live there. I like to daydream because in dreams I can have things the way I want them to be, not the way they are. Not the way my father says they are. Not the way Reverend White says they are. Not even the way my friend Annie Stetter says they are. They are exactly the way I want them. So I will always live in two worlds: in the real world where I have to be, and in my dream world where I prefer to be.
I hear my father clanging around out by the shed. He has brought a steel gray washtub out of the basement and put it down on the grass. In one half of the shed he keeps his shovels and rakes for the garden; the other half of the shed is a chicken coop. It is June, it is late Saturday afternoon, and my father has just come home from the copper mine where he works.
Most of the chickens are outside the coop, walking around clucking and pecking in their fenced yard. I watch them. They are such stupid animals, walking around on their bony feet looking primitive. They look like little stick people, without arms, wearing silly hats on top of their heads. They make me laugh a little, even on this day which I know is going to be very sad.
I know why my father has brought out the washtub: to drown the kittens. I am holding Princess on my lap. I have to hold her to keep her from running over to them. I looked in on the kittens this morning and their eyes were not open yet. I am glad for that. I am glad they cannot see where they will be going, and I didn’t have to see their little kitten eyes, look into their tiny faces, all the while knowing that my father would be coming for them soon. Until they have eyes, they don’t really have faces. They cannot see and love me, and I cannot look into their tiny eyes and love them either. So it is less personal.
I cannot kill anything. It is not in my power to kill things like my father does. I could not kill a chicken like he does every Sunday. That is something that only my father can do. And he seems to do it with an ease that is hard for me to understand. I would like to ask him about that. I would like to know how he can so matter-of-factly remove a life from this world. Chickens and kittens are not like carrots and beans that you plant in your garden. You grow carrots and beans from a dry seed. Then you pull them from the earth and eat them, and then plant more seeds. But kittens do not come from dry seeds, they come from other kittens, just like people come from other people. Why is it all right to kill a chicken or a kitten, but you are not supposed to kill a person? That doesn’t seem to make any sense. We all come into this world from the same place.
I can forgive my father for the chickens; we have them for dinner. I eat them, even though I hate to think about killing them. I like our Sunday dinner of roast chicken, mashed potatoes, and bread stuffing that my grandmother makes. I like to cook and I like to eat chicken. I know that I have to eat, and I believe that it is all right that we have to kill a chicken for our dinner. But we don’t eat kittens, so it is not the same as it is with the chickens. There is no reason for killing the kittens.
My father goes back into the house and he comes out with a box. I hold Princess very tight on my shoulder, with her head away from the shed. I watch my father walk over to the steel gray washtub he has filled with water and dump the contents of the box into the tub. It takes my breath away when I see Brownie, Tiger, Sugar, Edward, Ginger, and Jackie tumble into the water. It makes my heart pound and I cannot breathe.


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