Flumes Volume 1 Issue 1 - Page 25

season was starting to change, that the day didn’t last as long as it used to. Nobody noticed the odd timing of his offer or how tense and aggressive he was when he said it. But maybe that’s because they were pleased with his sudden display of chivalry.

There’s a generous history between the two girls and Shane. They weren’t just neighbors. They were constant playmates before he turned twelve. That was five years ago. They had rarely argued with each other, mostly because Fitzie and Harper always played the kinds of games

Shane wanted to play, and then played their own games at home. Sometimes he’d knock them onto the ground, but never really hard, more like how a brother would do it, just enough to hurt, but not so hard that it bruised.

The day the girls decided to stop playing with Shane was when he pushed Harper and she busted her collarbone. The three of them were in his treehouse, and Harper had refused to give him a little peck on the cheek. When he had turned around and was threatening Fitzie to give him his kiss, Harper smacked him on the back of the head. Shane used his elbows and the upper half of his back to shove her without turning around. She stumbled backwards out the open doorway and fell five feet into a patch of tall grass. She had almost hit her head on a knotted root that looked like a Labrador curled up asleep at the base of the tree.

They weren’t friends for those five years that separated the past from the present. They’d heard from other neighbors that he’d started doing peculiar things to some of the animals on his mother’s farm; yet, after Harper began working at Dorothy’s, she’d told Fitzie and their parents not to believe the gossip because she hadn’t seen him do anything strange. Harper told them she thought Shane was different, that he wasn’t the same kid they used to play with, that he knew how to be patient. Harper said she’d seen the way he treated the animals on the farm, and he cared for them like he was supposed to.

Shane had told the nurses and the Clinch family that he “saved” Harper purely by accident; that he was usually inside the barn around that time, and he just happened to go over to grab a garden hose from the shed when he saw her. He said he found her passed out on the dirt and that he scoped her up and walked as fast as he could in the direction of the hospital. He claimed he didn’t even think about what he was doing, he just did it. People in town said Harper was real lucky he found her, and then like an afterthought, they said she was real lucky she didn’t bust her head open or break her neck.

Monday through Friday Fitzie arrived at Dorothy’s at 3:30 in the afternoon and went home at 6:30 in the evening. Fitzie had started out at Dorothy’s as “diet specialist.” Dorothy thought it was fun to make up names for all the different jobs on the farm, names that sounded professional on tax