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one

I

was covered in blood when the police found me. Head to toe: in my hair, on my eyelashes, in the skin

between my toes. Dried so deep into my clothes they were taken away and I never saw them again. I found flecks of it under my fingernails for days after, dried reddish brown crumbs that I clung to as they fell free, that I held as if I could somehow pull them inside me. As if I could somehow bring my parents back. I didn’t remember what happened to them. I didn’t remember finding them. I didn’t remember sitting down with their . . . with their bodies. I didn’t remember sitting with them as the night-gleaming moon rose, arching across the sky, and the stars shone. I was with them all night in the forest. I didn’t remember that either.

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2 • Ivy Devlin I didn’t even remember being found. Ron said he’d found me after he’d gotten a call from Deputy Sharpe, who was out patrolling the little section of forest where people lived. Ron had come to find the deputy crying, and me . . . And me. I was just sitting there, but when I was in the hospital I heard him tell Renee that at first he’d thought I was dead too. That I wasn’t moving. Wasn’t blinking. That I was sitting on the ground outside my home covered in blood. That I was sitting with my parents’ bodies, holding their hands in mine. That I’d tried to put what was left of them back together. That all the blood on me came from me trying to make them whole when they were broken. From me trying to put them back together. I couldn’t do it. My parents were dead. They’d died and no one knew how or why, just that it had happened. They hadn’t just died, though. My parents were murdered. Ron was sure I’d seen something. Heard something. I  was in the hospital for two days after they found me; not because I was hurt, but because I wouldn’t move. I wouldn’t talk, wouldn’t eat, and wouldn’t speak. Everything inside me was dark. Gone.

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low red moon • 3 It was like I was dead too, just like Ron had thought when he’d first seen me. But I wasn’t dead, and Renee made me leave the hospital for the funeral. She stood next to me, holding my hand while the wooden boxes that held my parents were put in the ground. The boxes were closed tight, but I didn’t wonder if my parents were in there. I knew they were gone forever. I knew that because the one thing I did remember is what I saw when Ron put me in his car. Deputy Sharpe was off sobbing softly in the distance, the sound coming to me like it was the wind. Like noise, and nothing more. I remembered looking out Ron’s window and hearing the crying. I remembered seeing the colors of sirens cast shadows everywhere. I didn’t hear the sirens, though. In the car, I didn’t hear anything but silence. I watched those colored shadows on the ground and I watched them flicker off pieces of plastic sheeting. I remembered it looked strange to see them there, covering the soil and snaking around the trees my parents loved. I remembered the lumps under it. I remembered screaming then, screaming until my voice stopped. So when I saw the boxes, I knew who was in them. I knew my parents were gone. I watched them being lowered into the ground, I saw soil start to cover them up, and I stared at the trees

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4 • Ivy Devlin Renee pressed into the dirt, tiny saplings that would one day grow tall and true. That would grow into trees like those in the forest. I heard her whisper, “Why, John? Why?” her voice angry and sad but mostly angry, so angry, as she did it, and then watched her stand up, brushing the soil off her hands. It fell free easily, smoothly. I closed my eyes and saw dark red. I saw blood. And around that, through that, I saw silver, gleaming silver, a blur of something cruel. Inhuman. “Avery?” Renee said, and I opened my eyes. Saw the soil where my parents would forever lie. I didn’t remember finding them. I didn’t even remember the last thing I said to them. It was all gone. And yet I was still here.

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Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin