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cage. It sunk out of sight into the muddy water for a minute before floating back up to the top of the cage. “What should we name it?” Rachel asked. “Max.” Ricky squinted at it. “Steven has a dog named Max, and it’s awesome.” “It’s a mermaid.” When Ricky just looked blankly back at her, Rachel crossed her arms. “That means it’s a girl. Duh.” “It’s in Shadow’s cage. Let’s just call it Shadow.” “Shadow died, Ricky. I don’t want the mermaid to die.” Ricky splashed a handful of muddy water at his little sister. “Fine. What do you want to name it?” Rachel smiled, her teeth starting to chatter with the cold. “Let’s call it Rainbow Diamonds.” The water came up to her stomach and was slowly creeping up her sweater. “Forget it. It doesn’t get a name. It’s a slug.” Ricky noticed the goose bumps forming on his skin, and he looked over at his sister and saw she was shivering. “Let’s go inside.” The two of them gave the mermaid one last look. It blinked twice at them, and then belched out a sound that had turned a darker, healthier shade of green. “I thought I told you not to play near the water without telling me?” Ricky opened his mouth to speak, but Mom shook her head. Mom believed in cleaned plates, made beds, brushed teeth, and rules. “You want me to ground you? I’ll make you stay inside with me all day and not let you go outside. Is that what you want?” “Mom—” Mom’s anger cut through Ricky’s sentence. “Is it?” “No.” “What are the rules?” Rachel looked up. “Don’t go by the water. Don’t go in the street. Don’t talk to strangers.” Ricky’s face hardened as he looked at his sister; then he turned to face his mother. “I’m eight years old, Mom, I’m not gonna drown in the shallow water.” If his voice were a person, it would have rolled its eyes. Ricky, however, did not roll his eyes, because his mother was looking at him. He looked down at his feet. “Dad lets us go by the river when we’re at his house.” “Do I look like your dad?” Ricky didn’t answer. Mom took a deep breath. “Why do you two want to go down there anyway?” Rachel smiled. “Mom! We found a—” The boy glared at his sister. “—a really cool fish. We just want to look at the fish in the water. We won’t go out to the end of the pier. And if anything happens to Rachel, I can run to the house in six Mississippi-seconds.” When his mother didn’t say anything, he looked up at her. “You can time me if you want.” Mom sighed and sat down on the couch between her children. “When you want to play by the water, I want you to come and get me.” “We can’t play with you watching,” Rachel told her. The girl started to pick at the two little warts on her left thumb, but her mother grabbed her hand. “I’ll work on the back porch. I just want to be outside in case anything happens. And you can go halfway out onto the pier to look for fish: I don’t want you two in the water up to your waists when it’s this cold out. Once it starts snowing, you’re not

Profile for Brushfire Literature & Arts

Edition 63 Volume 1  

Fall 2010. Brushfire is UNR's oldest literature & arts journal. Brushfire publishes biannually, check out our website for more info! unrbrus...

Edition 63 Volume 1  

Fall 2010. Brushfire is UNR's oldest literature & arts journal. Brushfire publishes biannually, check out our website for more info! unrbrus...

Profile for brushfire
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