Saturday, January 27, 2007
Chronicles of Avery Dry Who Put Her Soul In The Collection Plate. . .
"Chronicles" -- now there’s a word with some power. Put it with some other words and see what happens: The Absinthe Chronicles. Chronicles of a Barefoot Vampire. The Tiptoe Chronicles. The Living in Sin in the Trunk of a Car Chronicles. The Chronicles of Smitty, Who Nobody Loved (Except One Blind Ferret). The Chronicles of Beelzebub, Who Wets the Bed in Hell. The Red Licorice Chronicles. The Brimstone Chronicles. The Cupcake Chronicles.
You put the word “chronicle” with some other words, and it’s like a magic trick: it suggests a whole mysterious history there, stuff that had to be dug up. You know, by globe-trotting historians who keep a vampire stake in one pocket and a pistol loaded with silver bullets in the other! It’s a dry word with juicy secrets. I want to be part of a chronicle. What kind? A weird family of witches? What if I already do come from a weird family of witches and you just don’t know it? What if. . .
Isn’t every family like a beehive of scandal, with some folks desperate to keep secrets snug and others like bears trying to claw them open and gobble up all the honey? I wonder at all the things I don’t know about, all the wrong love and the gambling and the vicious tempers, all the bastards and ghosts and the magic kept bottled up like Prohibition bourbon. It shouldn’t have been kept stoppered; it’s the devil that does that, puts his cork in folks’ souls. Not God.
The magic should’ve been let out. Maybe Plum would still be alive, then, and I’d still have my soul in my chest to keep me warm on nights like these.
Plum was the only one who didn’t go to Grandpa -- her baby brother -- and beg him not to marry Angelina. She had to know it wouldn’t matter. There was that look in his eye of love or sorcery and there’s no arguing a man out of either. It wasn’t because Angelina was a war widow from the scorched toe of Italy with three stunted kids and a scar round her neck like she’d been hung and forgot to die. That’s not why the family hated her so much. It was because she was a witch. And not the good kind.
But Plum was a witch too, and good or bad, she’d have been a powerful one and she’d have won, I bet, but for all those years of having her knuckles whacked in school, of her daddy’s beatings and her mama’s shame and the preacher’s wickedness and thinking those were angels whispering in his ear and not his own damn spite. Every preacher I ever knew mistook his own nasty thoughts for the whispers of God. I think if God whispered, he’d of said to damn well leave Plum alone and let her fix things and heal folks, let her make the orchard grow up fast, natural or not. Let her use the talent she was born with and quit whacking her knuckles, you dark-minded children of disruption!
But God didn’t whisper down and Plum got whacked until her magic was as stunted as Angelina’s kids. I’d tell the whole story but it’s not what I sat down to think about. Plum died a long time ago, and Angelina had Grandpa’s babies and my mama was one of them. That makes Angelina my grandma, I know, but it’s hard to call her that, except I got the witch from both sides, her and Plum, the good and the bad, and the preacher tried to drown it out of me, too. That’s how it all happened, how the preacher died and I lost my soul. Teach him to talk God with his mouth full of hate. Teach him manners. I’m not afraid. Like I said, I got the bad witch in me too.
Here we go. It’s a long story and it’ll get under your fingernails but nothing a good toothpick won't fix. I’m calling it the Chronicles of Avery Dry, Who Put Her Soul In The Collection Plate and Then Turned Indian-Giver And Tried To Grab It Back. And She Hopes God Isn’t Mad. I know it’s a long title. Get out your red pencil if you want. I’m not afraid of you.
(of course, that’s all. That was fun. I like that Avery Dry who just came out of nowhere. Thanks, Sunday Scribblings!
Posted by Laini Taylor at 9:44 AM