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Roots

Laury Charland

Creative Writing Editor


She watched the desert stretch on, a vast wasteland of nothingness and memories she’d rather forget. Her steps dragged on, uneasy and exhausted. Her throat was raw and parched and the weight of her whole life slowed her down. Or perhaps it was the dead who haunted her, clawing and grasping at her ankles. At her hands. At her hair, when they too had the strength to get up. She didn’t think about them much anymore, but they followed her still.

There was her dad, buried in a landfill somewhere even the dogs hadn’t been able to find.

There was her sister, buried in bits and pieces across Arizona. She’d always loved puzzles when she was little.

There was her next-door neighbor’s dog, grilled to perfection and fed to the unsuspecting parents attending little Debbie’s 7th birthday party.

There was her uncle, who she’d left hung and castrated in his living room in Maine.

And now there was her daughter, buried in a shallow grave 30 miles south of route 79, the sand cracked and dry and hard and nothing to mark her grave but the tiny skull of a mouse she’d found dying as they walked together towards the perfect spot. It was better, she thought, that her four-year old never really knew her mom. And as she stumbled and scratched her knees against the scorching ground, she couldn’t help but wonder who would bury her in turn.


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