Lisa Lynn Biggar
We called it the fort, although it looked more like a little house with its blue siding and windows and tar paper roof, wooden steps from the front door leading down to the forest ground—no railing, so after we’d had a few beers, Genesee Cream Ale, we’d climb up the stairs like monkeys, using our hands to help navigate, balance.
A rust-colored carpet was inside, burnt in places from joints and cigarettes. And a few band posters on the white-washed walls—Heart, Three Dog Night, Grand Funk Railroad. Most nights, though, unless it rained, we’d hang out in the woods below the fort, around a small bonfire, drinking beer and shooting the shit like we were all grown up, our parents none-the-wiser.
I was the youngest of the cousins, around thirteen then, too young to hang out with them, and my youngest uncle, Trent, but too old to be left out. The neighborhood kids are older than me too. Tom was my boyfriend, three years older, but all we did was hold hands and roll around in a sleeping bag. My cousins and the other kids laughed at us—they thought we were cute.
One night Cindy and Kevin were in the fort getting high with some of the neighbor kids, and I got it in my head that pot could kill you; I knew I had to save them. I climbed up the wooden steps and banged on one of the door’s glass panes so hard that my hand went through, shattering the glass, showering my naked cousins with shards of glass, leaving small cuts. But my wrist was slit, a gash in the artery, the blood spilling like a fountain.
Tom made me a tourniquet out of his shirt, crying, afraid for my life. I should’ve gone to the hospital, but we were all too drunk, too scared. Tom kept telling me that he loved me, that I couldn’t die. I felt a sense of power, never believing that I would die, but knowing that if I did, Tom would never be the same, that he would never get over me like my grandmother never got over Albert, who jumped out a window when he found out she was getting married.
Eventually, my wrist stopped bleeding. But Rose, Trent’s girlfriend, who seemed older than any of us with her big boobs and bleached blond hair, kept spinning around in the field outside the woods in the moonlight, screaming like a wild banshee.
Lisa Lynn Biggar received her MFA from Vermont College. Her short fiction has appeared in Main Street Rag, Bluestem Magazine, The Minnesota Review, Kentucky Review, The Delmarva Review, Superstition Review, Pithead Chapel, and others. She is the fiction editor for Little Patuxent Review and co-owns and operates a cut flower farm in Maryland with her husband and three cats. @lislafleur