Scarecrow Gods
other people. Maybe we can’t be fixed. Maybe we aren’t meant to be fixed. Maybe we’re just broken , dammit. All broken and there’s nothing to be done.”
    They stood there, staring off across the water of Lake Chicamaugua, each already alone.
    “If you don’t get your things and leave, Ben. I’m going to call the police.”
    “Call the police then. I’m not leaving.”
    She raised an eyebrow, one poker player to the other, each waiting for the other to fold. She clucked once, shook her head and strode towards the phone. She pressed 9-1-1. When the operator answered, she spoke, never taking her eyes from him.
    “Yes. My name is Rebecca Jenks and I live on 2893 Lake Haven Drive. My husband refuses to leave the house and I’m afraid if he stays something bad is going to happen. No ma’am, I don’t think he’s dangerous. Yes ma’am. All right ma’am. Here he is.”
    She held the receiver out to her husband. His hand shook as he took it and placed it to his ear. He nodded each time he said Yes Ma’am. It took a minute, but finally he was done. Never once had they taken their gaze from each other and as the 911 Operator changed their lives.
    “I’ll be getting my things now.”
    He handed the receiver back to his wife and walked stiffly into the bedroom.
    * * *
    Danny sat hunched in the murky shadows at the bottom of the stairs, arms tightly gripping his knees, rocking back and forth to the private rhythm of his sobs. The house was quiet now. His mother was on the back deck smoking. He could imagine her there in the darkness, the hot fiery tip of her cigarette like a firefly in the night, hovering and unattached.
    The police had come and gone, their siren shattering the night. There was something about a siren when you know it’s coming to your own home. Suddenly the sound didn’t seem as interesting as the other times. Policemen didn’t seem as cool, either, especially when they tell your father that he has to leave.
    * * *
    Paradise Valley, Arizona
    The darkness was all consuming like the nights he remembered when he’d been a child. He closed his eyes so tightly they hurt, the pain curling his lip until it trembled. But that’s what he wanted—the pain. So he kept squeezing, waiting for it to peak, then, when it was almost enough to make him cry out, he snapped open his eyes. It was a trick he’d learned that allowed him to create sparkling motes of light that swirled in his vision. But these lights, nothing more than conjured Will O’ Wisps, existed solely within him. They weren’t bright enough to lighten the darkness.
    So instead of begging for the light, instead of trying to create his own light by closing tight his eyes, instead of kneeling with his nose under the door hoping they’d forget and leave the hallway light on, he stayed quiet and still, just as she’d told him to be because he was a good little boy.
    He was his momma’s boy.
    He remembered a time when he’d been afraid of the darkness. A time where he was childish and imagined things with fangs and claws forever sneaking up behind him. His momma had explained it was the unknown he’d been afraid of, so she’d allowed him to see his room that one single time. She allowed him to knock against the walls to feel their sturdiness. She wanted him to know there was no way for the monsters to get to him. She explained to him that knowing he was protected was important.
    For there are such things as monsters , she’d said. And they were after him .
    Momma had explained that it was the walls and the locks upon the door that kept the monsters at bay—that kept him alive. She was a good momma to do what she did and she explained that to him as well. After all, there were mommas who went to work and left their children unprotected. They left doors unlocked. They left their children alone. They even had windows where the monsters could slip through. That’s why momma explained she didn’t allow him to have any windows.
    Windows were

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