Sunday, May 20, 2007

When Dylan Went Electric; Part one and a half

The child of six was a girl. She had died by the ungentle gust of an automobile that was trying to evade a stray cat in the street, but instead sent her flying over the sticker-decorated handlebars of her red bicycle. She hit the curb head first, which left her with a soft pink abrasion on her forehead, and fatal damage to her neck. Dylan had read of her unfavorable doom in The Claremont Courier, in an article that took up one quarter of page 6, placed right above an ad for kosher vegetable shortening. It was composed of a small biography of the child and three eyewitness accounts, and embellished with a black and white photograph of the girl cradling her newborn baby brother.

Other than that Dylan knew nothing of her, but it provided him with just enough details, or lack thereof, to keep his mind and body delirious for several days in a row. Like rings in water, the particulars of the event expanded inside him, drawing what seemed like an immeasurable number of people into the story, all of whom had their heart broken so severely by the tragedy that they wished they could have gone instead of her. Seven days to her death Dylan had grown a little more than an inch, simply due to the volume and intensity of their grief. At least, so his mother reasoned.

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