I’m Addicted to Eating Bugs

I suppose it started small, like all addictions do. I was in the first grade, having some corner time because I threw a crayon at Brandon’s head. He totally deserved it but that’s another story for another day.  

Anyway, I was facing the brick wall, imagining horrible fates for this jerk of a classmate when I heard a quiet buzzing. I looked by my feet to see an old cobweb, spider long gone but the dusty threads still managing to capture a fly. It wiggling and squirmed and if I hadn’t interfered it probably would have gotten loose and carried on with its life. But before I realized it I had plucked the fly free and placed it in my mouth.  

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There’s a girl who lives alone in the woods

Down a long dirt road, past a mile or so of forest, there’s a girl that lives all by herself in a big house. All of her relatives have passed, leaving her a treasure trove of valuables and money that she keeps on the property. There’s not even a dog to keep her safe from people who would take those things away.

And when the wrong ears hear all those things, their eyes fill with dollar signs and they decide to make the trek.  

They always make the same wrong assumption though-

That I’m really alone.

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Mr. Ferguson

I think the whole street breathed a sigh of relief when we saw the EMTs take a body bag out of the Ferguson house. I was only about ten or eleven at the time and it’s been a while so some details of my childhood are lost to time, but I can’t forget Mr. Ferguson.

There was never a Mrs. Ferguson in the picture, as far as I know. He lived in the house on the corner, the one with the bright yellow shutters and the gorgeous garden out back. The garden didn’t make up for the rotten old bastard he was. I wondered once if he was nicer when he was younger, when he didn’t have to walk with a cane and could actually get around without help, but my dad set me straight on that one. Mr. Ferguson had always been a terrible person and the neighbor from hell.

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Biter

I’m never going to complain about working at a daycare, it really is my dream job. I love working with kids and seeing how they grow up, when they learn to talk and walk, when they learn to string together sentences… It’s the best.

However, there are some kids that drive me up the wall.

“Ow! Parker, you don’t bite people!”

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Problem Child

As a social worker, you’re bound to come across some really messed up stuff. I’ve been at this job for nearly twelve years and I’ve seen everything. Joel was raised in a kennel with a dog, he was so small I thought he was two years younger than he really was. Andrea went into a doctor’s appointment only for the doc to find out the kid had contracted chlamydia. Sophia who had been tied to a bed and beaten to ‘get the devils’ out of her. Fynn had been choked for enough time by his stepdad to have permanent brain damage. 

But all of those kids have homes now. They were adopted by loving families, I send them cards on their birthdays. Joel is now a complete Potterhead and went to Florida with his mom during summer vacation. Andrea now speaks regularly at sexual abuse seminars and helps other victims come forward about what they went through. Sophia wants to be an astronaut, Fynn is beating the odds and making us all proud with all he’s accomplishing.

I can’t say the same for Bonnie.  

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Nicky

It happened ten years ago. I was only eight years old. I woke up that morning to the smell of frying eggs and bacon.  

Stumbling down the hallway, I was greeted by the sight of a dark haired woman at the stove, humming some friendly tune as she filled a cup to the near brim with orange juice. She turned to me and I nearly jumped out of my skin. In a sense she was pretty, but she had a vicious scar running down the left side of her face.

“Andy! You’re up!” She beamed as she picked up the plate stacked with a delicious smelling breakfast. “I had to run to the store, but I hope you like breakfast!”

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The Seven Angels

Blanca Leon. Tracy Russell. Jean McLaughlin.  

Seven girls went missing three years ago on the December 12.  

Gabriela Brown. Alice McGrail. June Larsen. Claudia Inman.  

The only thing these girls had in common were that they were all thirteen and that they all lived in the same town. Race, interests, grades, social status, nothing else matched up. Blanca and Tracy were close friends, as well as Gabriela and June, but the others didn’t know each other.  

Claudia was my little sister.

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The Devil’s Wives, Part Three

Gray walls, gray floors, gray food.

Mashed potatoes were not supposed to be gray.

Veronica swallowed her vitamins and poked at the wilted peas with her fork. “No wonder we’re having so many pills shoved down our throats. There’s nothingnutritional in these meals.”

She had been so petite before, no more than five feet tall and probably under a hundred pounds. Now she was visibly along in her pregnancy and exhausted. Part lack of makeup and part being trapped as a piece of flesh that scientists poked at for the last several months had drained her, and everyone else.

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The Devil’s Wives, Part Two

“So, according to her mother, you were alerted first to Bridget’s pregnancy?”

I had gone into the staff room for coffee and Principal Dudley cornered me in here with a blank face. Being ‘let go’ was looking quite likely at the moment. I was careful to keep my voice level. “Not in the office, I was off hours,” I responded. My only defense.

“Good. I’ll use that as your excuse not to get you in trouble.” Dudley poured himself a cup of the coffee before dumping enough sugar in the cup to turn it into a syrup. He took a sip and seemed content with the sugary mixture. “… Off the record, I would’ve done the same.”

I sighed with relief. “Thank you, sir.” He might’ve been a stickler for the rules, but at least Dudley wasn’t an ass like so many of the other bureaucrats that thought they knew how the education system for teenagers was supposed to work.

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The Horse Corral

Welcome to the Horse Corral! We hope you’re here to have a good time! The horses at Camp Golden Oak are gentle creatures who love to be fed carrots and to have fun. Just remember to follow the rules below and we’ll all have a great and safe time!

1- Horses are living creatures who deserve our respect. They are not toys. You are not to hit, shout at, or kick the horses. If you are caught abusing one of our horses, you will be sent back to your cabin for the rest of the day’s activities and will be strictly reprimanded. If you are caught twice, you will be sent home.

2- There is no room to fool around in the stables or the corral. Horseplay is reserved for the horses. Rough housing could lead to someone getting hurt, and we don’t want that to happen.

3- If you want to help out with care of the horses, be sure to ask the Stablemaster, Ms. Grace Triggs. She always can appreciate a gentle hand!

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