The Quotable

The Trees Would Know

The basketball coach didn’t lay a finger on the girl in his car that day. This girl he had paid to babysit his children: his newborn, still pink, his toddler, still fat. He did no bodily harm to this girl who took the team’s stats: rebounds, turnovers, assists; this tenth-grade girl, still tender, still fresh. Let me give you a lift home, the coach said after school and took the girl for a long ride instead, through the woods. He pulled off the road and parked under some tall maples and old beeches. The girl went quiet. He locked the doors. The girl twitched.  He lifted his hand and the girl panicked at the sight of it, her head bumped the window and the sound, muffled by her thick hair, caused the coach’s hand to pause midair. Her hair bounced from the whack. His eyes went to her neck then to her bare knees. His hand continued, it pointed out the window and into the trees. A friend of mine has a cabin, right up there. I could take you there right now and rape you. And no one would know. The trees would know, thought the girl, as the blood left her head and made a heavy pool in her chest. A primal sound came out of him and a wisp of his rust-colored hair sprung loose from his pasty scalp. Then silence. The coach turned the car around; the sun had dropped behind the trees. She was relieved thinking he must need to get home to those babies she had rocked to sleep and kissed goodnight so many times.



Margaret Eaton’s very short fiction has appeared in Opium, Rumble, Onomatopoeia, The Collagist, Pif Magazine, and LITSNACK. Fiction Daily selected one of her stories as a good find on the web. She was an early contributing editor to Dowser, an online news source for social entrepreneurs. She lives in St. Louis with her husband; she is a dog person.

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