A Child In the Closet

The following took place in Ooltewah, Tennessee.  It is one of those stories that has never left me, although it took place sometime in the late 1960’s.

The house was one those local firemen
might have used to practice on,
but so far burnt when they arrived, there wasn’t
much to do but water down the shed

and kill the sparks that fell. A rented place

and everybody out was said. The stuff

inside was mostly old and not worth much,

so no one tried to go back in. Except

that in a closet up the stairs, two pretty

dresses hung, a gift the week before

of classes from a nearby church to fourth

grade daughter Carla, who never had a pretty

thing before, and watching crying from the

yard kept thinking they might be the last

she’d ever have. They were. For after while

they missed her. And when the flames

died out, the firemen dreading saw she’d found
that closet, reached inside, and there were
two bare hangers lying on the floor
with her. All black and oddly twisted.

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