but lost her grip and slid down the side,
What’ve you got there?
landing facedown in the dirt. She felt
Katherine offered the box. Her
a searing pain and bit her lip against
mother pulled the necklace out and ran
a scream. She got up slowly, brushed
her fingers over the links. Oh, I remember
some of the dirt off and started back for
this, she said. Your father gave it to me.
I was allergic to the metal though. Gave
Slipping in through the back door,
me a horrible rash whenever I wore it
she made her way to the bathroom down
for too long. It’ll probably turn your skin
the hall. She passed the hatch door to
green. You should throw it away.
the attic, which had been closed. She
She dropped the necklace back in
made sure to close the door quietly
the box and gave it back to Katherine.
behind her. Under the sink she washed
Maybe it’s time to go back outside, she
the dirt from her hands and face before
said and got up from the table. She
pulling off the ruined fabric to inspect
smoothed some of Katherine’s untidy
the damage. A long scrape ran down
hair before going back down the hallway.
her right side, the skin ripped in uneven
Katherine did as she was told. She
patches. It had left a large red stain on
made her way back to the boulder and
the shirt. She grabbed first aid supplies
sat on the ground, leaning against the
from the lowest shelf in the closet and
cold rock. She pulled out the box and
got to work on the damage.
turned it over in her fingers for a moment
After changing and stowing the ru-
before taking out the necklace. She ran
ined shirt, Katherine found her mother in
her fingers over the links, gently working
the kitchen. She was sitting at the table
some of the slack into loops. Some of
with a glass of water, leaning her head
the gold began to rub off onto her fin-
against one hand. Her mother didn’t no-
gers. The metal looked as though it had
tice her until she was on the other side
of the table. Hey, her mother said. She forced
She slid her thumbnail between the taut strands in the center and tried to
a smile and tried to wipe her puffy red
widen the gaps between them. As the
eyes. Did you play outside today?
knot loosened, a piece slid out and fell
Katherine said, Yeah but I fell and
into her lap. A lump grew in her throat.
got a scrape. I fixed it myself though,
She carefully pulled at the knot again.
she said. She felt something digging into
Two more separate pieces came free.
her leg and pulled out the necklace box
She twisted them between her fingers,
from her pocket.
feeling where the thin links had been
That’s good, her mother said.
stretched and disconnected.