House Full of Bugs
Mara wanted to move.
“We can spray, seal up cracks.”
“Too much work.”
Earwigs under damp cloths. Spiders in corners. Beetles lumbered across the floor.
“Moving is work too. It’s spring. Things will settle.”
Fleas invaded, took over the dogs, then our ankles, then the bed. Ants wove a trail from
under the cabinets to the recycling bin across the room.
Mara left while I was at work. On the counter, next to a pile of insect carcasses: “Don’t
A few months later, Abby moved in. She even brought a few bugs with her.
Father tells the family they are leaving Virginia soon, leaving the civilized world for the wilderness of Kentucky. He tells everyone in town they are going next summer. Still, creditors have come to the house. One is knocking now.
“You can’t tell anyone,” mother says, standing to go to the door. They have been mending socks, a task Charlotte hates, a task they used to have a girl do, when Charlotte was younger, when father won more often than he lost.
“I don’t see why it matters,” Charlotte says. “People might be glad to see us go.” Charlotte joins mother at the door, socks still in her hands. The rapping at the door is louder, but still not the fist pounding that sometimes happens. Mother deals with the creditors.
“They will put your father in jail,” mother says sharply. “His debts are too great.”
“At least then we wouldn’t have to leave,” Charlotte says.
Mother’s hand flashes. A quick slap across Charlotte’s cheek. Charlotte grits her teeth…
excerpted from Copperfield Review Quarterly