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  • Writer's pictureMarie Smysor Watson


Updated: Jun 5, 2020

“You ripped your stitches again, honey,” he whispered near my ear. His breath was thick but his voice was thin, reedy, like the grass that grew near the pond at Home.

“She’s a fighter, this one,” the One who held my ankle laughed.

The lights overhead were soft, barely visible through my eyelids. The work the doctor did was quick, almost painless. I’d been through it three times before. Scar tissue made his work difficult, and he grunted twice, cursed once. The One at my feet said nothing, and the pressure from his hand never wavered.

“All done,” the doctor said, patting my cheek with a gloved hand. He helped me to a sitting position. The One grasped my hand, helped me to stand.

“Be careful to keep that clean,” the doctor said. I didn’t even to open my eyes to know he was smiling.

I opened them in the corridor though, them darting left, the One following so close behind I could smell his unwashed shirt. The Others huddled in their cages, one to each, some so dark they were shadows in the corners, others so light they glowed like shattered stars. Big-chested, bird-breasted, slack-bellied, splay-ribbed, slim-hipped, round-bottomed. Hair of black, red, blonde, mud-brown. Even white. All they had in common was the thick black stitching that bound their lips together. Solidarity.

In Silence, We Find Truth,” the One said, a monotone salute. He shoved me to the damp ground and the door slid shut, full stop.

A light tapping began almost as soon as the outside door clicked shut behind The One Who Returned Me. A centuries old pattern, rhythmic. Dah-dit-dit-dah-dit.

When we had been together in the same pens, we used sign language. Always watching each other for some news. They eventually caught onto that, and threw us each in our own cell. Soon, we had no voices, and our eyes, with nothing to cling to, became useless. All despaired, some died. But then, useful memory resurfaced, and with it, hope.

It had not been hard to teach them, the Others. It’s never hard to educate those who wish to learn. All I can say is, God bless the Girl Scouts.

And that, my children, is how the Resistance began.

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