Pollard by Ellen Mae Franklin


I sat in that place I favoured so well, letting the memories wash over me. Leaves swirled and danced on the floor and the wind teased my thick long hair, as it carried the sad overtures of what had once been. It covered my face as I turned my head a little to look at the door. A cracked mirror leant against the weatherboard wall and I caught a glimpse of myself. There were a few I had known that had said I was slim and pretty, but what did they know, I had been locked away forever and a day with her, never leaving the house, except to take Withering to the shed.

The trouble with living in a small town was that everyone knew your business. It troubled me that my grandmother was able to keep our business a secret. Were we safe because of the empty, outreaching fields and the rolling hills beyond that, as they bled away into endless stretches of colour? I didn’t know, nor did I really care. This town had skeletons roaming its dusty streets and no one seemed to give it a second thought that they crowded up against our place.

So many had died by Pollard’s hand and there, among the leaves, hidden under the hessian bag I used to cover my nakedness sat more tears. Shaped and hardened into coloured marbles. They were full of sin and other things. Some held disbelief and anger, while the pale yellow balls, catching the sunlight in my lap, shimmered with pain. It was easy to hurt, easier than forgetting.

“Justice, stop your moping and help me with the old man. Your grandfather’s been seen walking. Pollard’s name is on everyone’s lips this morning, so grab yourself an umbrella and get me to the shed.” Withering’s voice was as gnarly as the body she walked in. Long earrings hung from stretched earlobes and the many rings on her fingers clacked their impatience. Continue reading