- The Vanishing Child
I’m leading you to her. Pay attention to what I’m saying. Doesn’t the night sky look like a giant one-way mirror? As a child, we’d go to the planetarium for school trips and create water in test tubes. I imagined birthing a small pond to drown secret keys, but it was just steam that appeared in magic tricks. I was punished for lynching dolls and calling it “Indian Rope Trick.” In bathtubs they all produced the same occupied stare whether lifeguard or murder victim. In the projection hall, instructors highlighted constellations of dragons, unicorns, and chemical furnaces. All I saw were chiffon skirts ripped by the jeweler’s dog. When Mom and the jeweler flipped through catalogs, I saw the inner workings of his dog when it yawned. There were five music boxes jerking black ballerinas. They danced to keep the heart pumping. No one else heard the tinkling piano when it snored. Since then, I obsessed over making my own water. Nuzzle a stop sign and roll blue carpets to the horizon. Name an ocean after me. Infants have the most water out of anyone. I’ve often thought of a future where they’re harvested into small reservoirs. The older I get the more death seems mundane. Dying in some ornate way seems to be the greatest surprise. Can you imagine reincarnating as the Turritopsis nutricula? That’s the Latin name of the immortal jellyfish. It can return to infancy from any age, but still can be torn apart. Record everything I’ve said. When bodies are dumped into warm water, they recall the sensation of being born. [End Page 24]
Jeffrey H. MacLachlan also has recent or forthcoming work in the Round, Inscape, Ayrus, and Skidrow Penthouse, among others. He can be followed on Twitter @jeffmack.