a little toss of the wrist and the fleece blanket unfurled and a pile of adult sized bones fell out, so i knew this one was a different one. we got back in the car and drove to the snow park.
it was closed because there had been some accidents, they said.
when i was about fifteen i thought i realized the truth, that these accidents were in fact recently discovered bodies that my aunt had hidden in the forest.
seven years later i learned the true truth, which was that the accidents were alive and springing up from the crater near the state park portion of the valley.
whenever i slept in the playroom at her house i dreamt of a skull vomiting pills on me, so i slept in the playroom whenever possible.
i would hold something large and smooth like an empty plastic egg that used to have gum in it and this would comfort me. i remember sleeping with a boxed magic kit still in shrink-wrap.
soft toys reminded me of bodies.
i didn’t know the skull was a man.
he was wearing a little french maid dress like you order online, but this was before the internet was a whole thing,
but then again my aunt was weird enough to be on geocities and ebay at that point. it was when he brought me an anatomy book that i realized he was male.
he pointed to where his fleshless pelvis would be under his skirts, and to a skeleton diagram.
when he knew i understood, he brought out another, thinner book, more of a stapled educational pamphlet,
and showed me what icepick and scattered shotgun bullet wounds (on different pages) looked like on a human skull. he was still vomiting when he showed me.
i asked her why i could see him once and she said to remember that she took my body from my mother when my mother killed me, and bound my spirit to a porcelain figure on the mantel.
she pointed to it. it was a blue kitten in a clown outfit that looked very sad, like its eyes were melting.
i told her this was the first i’d heard of this, and accused her of gaslighting me, except privately in my head and then later in my diary.
also, that didn’t answer any of my questions.
fast forward a few weeks or months, I’m not good at time. i found the skull, but corporeal and off-white and obviously scraped and boiled, in a box in the sewing room. it had the same scars.
i’d been living with my aunt for a while so i wasn’t even shocked, it was more like, oh, well this explains a lot.
his abbreviated spinal column was stuffed and wrapped with electrical wiring. taped up with electrical tape. i didn’t know whether to pull it out or not.
i could see a future where i stole the box and my aunt killed me for real for taking “percy”, as the box was labeled.
i still don’t know if my vision was valid, but she threw me into a dark hole in the living room floor that doesn’t exist right now, screaming at me for breaking up her marriage.
i didn’t know if she and percy had in fact been married or if percy was even his name. my aunt liked to name her projects herself.
also now when i’m 26 i’m pretty sure my aunt is incapable of feeling love or sexual arousal.
the last time i talked to percy i told him about the box. he knew. he couldn’t look in it.
he felt he had to in order to disperse, a word he laboriously fingerspelled to me with wooden model hands.
he told me he would never get back the rest of him but that he’d seen it remotely, at the bottom of the crater in the valley, fizzing with chemical deposits. but he couldn’t look at his head.
i wished to myself that percy was my friend or my dad but was even more secretly thankful that he was a ghost, because he could never really touch me or i think even see me clearly.
when my aunt burned her house down last year i could see little piles of dissolving pills glowing in the ashes.
i wonder where percy is, because i know she took that skull before she set the fire.