- Navy’s Garden
“Good night, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!”
They were everywhere. Beautiful, slain bodies lay in between the weeds and the piles of dirt and the accumulated trash. Their blood was a pale blue; the same color of their eyes. To Navy, they looked like they were sleeping. The wind rippled their wings, and for a second he thought they would stretch their long, lean bodies and fly.
Nobody had seen them. Yet. This was his for now… his secret.
It had been a week since he had found them. Apparently, they didn’t rot. They were still there, day after day. Navy would quietly tuck his books under his arm and push his way through the crowds as the last school bell rang. He would walk slowly down the next two blocks, taking care not to be followed. When he hit the stop sign, he would bolt past the alleyways to the weed garden.
It had been by mistake that he had stumbled upon them. He didn’t even know about the garden (if it could actually be called a garden) until the Scary Day. That’s how he remembered it. The Scary Day. The day with the Black Suit Lady.
She had suddenly appeared during his math class. He had been trying to finish up a long division problem when he noticed her. He would glance at her occasionally. Maybe she was a new teacher. Maybe she was somebody’s mom. He didn’t really care until she [End Page 122] started staring right at him, jotting notes in her little brown leather binder.
He was told two days later that the lady had come from Protective Services. His gym teacher had seen an “unusual” bruise on his thigh. Then they started to notice other things. They noticed how he always stared at the floor. He had little burn marks. His clothes had an unusual odor. Drugs, they thought.
But it wasn’t until he came to school with a black eye that they decided to really do something. They didn’t have proof any other way. Now they did.
They had told him that day—The Scary Day—that they had decided to take him away from his mother and Mr. Dante.
“You won’t be living with them anymore, Navy,” said the Black Suit Lady with the stern face. “Do you understand?” He knew his mother yelled. He knew Mr. Dante swore and his mother broke dishes and people aren’t supposed to swear or break things. He knew about the strange men in their house, the smell of dizzying smoke.
They had told him that he wouldn’t be returning to his apartment that night. He was going to be “introduced to some nice people.” So he went back to class, sat and looked at Miss Harkell in her pink sweater. He would escape. He would escape from them all. He wasn’t going to go away with “nice people” or even back to his apartment. He wasn’t even going to go to sit through Miss Harkell’s next lesson. He quietly raised his hand.
“Yes, Navy?” Miss Harkell asked, her skirt spinning as she turned to him.
“May I get some water?”
“Hurry.” With that, she turned back to the board. He watched her as she went back to writing.
Good-bye, Miss Harkell, he thought. I’m not comin’ back.
He rose from his seat and headed out the door to the drinking fountain. Instead of turning down the hallway to go directly to the fountain, he took a short cut. He went around to the library, to the double doors that emptied out onto the playground.
He didn’t even think about it twice. He just walked out. Nobody had seen him. He felt the sunshine embrace his dark skin. He looked at the abandoned playground—the swings that yearned to hold a child, the glaring aluminum of the forsaken slide. Navy walked past them. He didn’t have time for them.
He was leaving them all behind.
He kept his eyes to the sidewalk. He hated it when people...