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Lee DeAmali | Nevena Katalina

Despite this being summer, the walnut trees dotting the old farmhouse property were dead. Skeletal branches reached up and drooped down in nature’s mournful display that this was poison land where nothing worthwhile could grow.

Jenna was sitting on the porch to catch her breath, devise a plan for how to navigate the inherited property she hadn’t visited in years. Was it the poor design of the 1880’s farmhouse and its awkward appendages added to incorporate the conveniences of plumbing, or was it the bad memories that made the place so unbearably claustrophobic?

She wished there was someone to help her clear the place for sale, sort through the contents to salvage anything worth saving. Part of her wanted to at least save the portraits of her parents and sisters. But her fingers burned just touching the frames.

Perhaps somewhere in the old house were old wedding bands, jewelry and lace that she could pass on to her children if she ever chose to go that route. She wondered if she was cursing unborn children to even be thinking such a thing. She wondered if they’d be cursed from the get go just sharing her genes.

Perhaps somewhere inside were old toys that would jog lose memories of happier times before losing her sisters. She wouldn’t even know what to look for. Anything before they were taken away was a golden fog of ‘happy’ before it all went gray. And she was pretty certain their father had either thrown out, burned or buried all memory of the other daughters after the accident that claimed them.

Accident. Is that what you call it when someone goes crazy, really crazy? As in hearing things no one else hears, convinced your twin sister is the devil so you lock her in the former outhouse-turned-shed and burn it down crazy? As in having just enough sense left to know that you fucked up so you blame it on your younger sister and she’s the one who gets carted off, screaming uncontrollably about the monster in the house, one-way-ticket to the psych ward for electroshock then a lobotomy crazy?

Jenna had to stay out here and think awhile. She always assumed she’d sell this place when the time came, when her parents, aged early from grieving, finally passed. But this rickety old chair is kind of comfortable. And there’s an offshoot growing from one of the walnut trees, calling her name.

About Lee DeAmali

Lee DeAmali writes from Los Angeles.

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