The campfire is hot on her shins, and the others are ready for bed, but she does not move. She smoothes Little One’s hair and breathes it in. He smells like smoke and marshmallows and boy sweat. He smells like life, and she is not ready to let him go.
All day she’d been haunted by the feeling of this child in her arms, not sleeping, but pale and without breath. He’d been underwater much too long, and she should have been watching, but she never seems to have enough eyes or arms to keep them all safe, especially in her dreams. She was watching his brother when he went under silently, telling the wrong child to be careful. And so it was that he was carried to her from the stream, silent and still. It was too late to do anything, and she pressed him to her and breathed in his wet hair and tried to love him alive, but it was too late.
“It’s getting late,” daddy says, but she is busy loving him alive, for just a little longer. He stirs, nestles in closer, and puts his sticky hand in her hair. She clings tigher, sits deeper, and will sit until her bluejeans catch on fire.
This month I'm participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). My goal is to write 50k of fiction in the month of November. This post is not part of the novel... it's just me playing with fiction, warming up my fingers. I'd love to hear your thoughts.