Its early morning on the first day of spring break and the distant squeal of children beginning their week long vacation can be heard throughout the neighborhood. There is a warm breeze blowing, and it is just the invitation for children to spend all day at the park; at least, until the pool opens. With the swings singing their whining protest against the wind, the merry-go-round spins lazily, preparing itself for the coming onslaught of childish challenges. When Silverman and Sussex arrive, the park is deserted, only the chirping birds are waiting for them.
“See! There’s no one here! They’re probably all gathering at the pool now. We’re gonna miss all the fun.” Sussex whines.
“Shut up, will ya! The pool isn’t open yet. Remember? Randy and Coolidge and the others will be here soon. They gotta walk further to get here. Damn, you’re impatient!” Silverman says.
“Oooh, I’mm tell mom you said damn.” Sussex threatens.
“Then I’m gonna tell mom that you showed your thing to Mary Brennan.” Silverman retorts.
“No I didn’t!” The younger brother yells.
“Yes, you did! I caught you!” The older brother yells back.
Smiling, slyly, Sussex admits, “Ok, so you did. She woulda touched it, if you hadn’t walked up.”
Waving him off, Silverman says, “You’re dreaming.”
Wandering towards the slide, Silverman smiles to himself, knowing how jealous and angry Sussex would be if he knew that Mary Brennan had already touched his thing. Actually, she touches it whenever he asks. Being nine years old, Sussex has an inkling of what the female touch will do for his thing. But being 13 years old, he knows for sure what the female touch will do for his thing. That’s why he carries tissues in his pocket. In case, he gets a moment alone with her, not to blow his runny nose, like he told his mom.
Reaching the slide, Silverman pauses as he notices two black and yellow striped caterpillars slowly crawling their way up the slowly heating metal of the slide. They are oblivious to their observer, as they quietly travel nearly a foot apart.
“Whatcha looking at?” Sussex asks.
Joining him at the slide, Sussex asks, “How can they crawl on the metal with it getting so hot and them being so small?”
“I don’t know. Maybe they have special feet.”
Still watching them make their slow ascent, Silverman doesn’t notice when his little brother picks up a stick and places the broken off end of it in front of the trailing caterpillar.
“What’re you doing?” Silverman asks.
“I wanna see it crawl on the stick.”
Without breaking its very deliberate stride, it climbs up onto the stick, methodically working its way towards Sussex’s hand. Just as it begins to near the other end of the stick, Sussex grips the lower end with his left hand, uses his right index finger to pull the upper half of the stick back like a makeshift slingshot. He pulls back until they both could hear the audible protest of the slowly drying wood, and then he releases it, causing the caterpillar to catapult through the air quickly leaving their sight.
Jumping up and down, Sussex hollers, “Did you see that Silverman? I bet that flew twenty feet, I can’t even see where it landed! Yeah that was awesome!”
“Pretty good man. The caterpillar never knew what hit him.” Silverman relays with smile, offering his brother his approval.
From behind, they quickly hear approaching footsteps, followed by their names getting called.
“Hey, Sussex, I bet ya can’t spin me on the merry-go-round til I puke.” Coolidge dares.
“I betcha I can.” Sussex retorts, accepting the challenge as he runs to the merry-go-round.
Silverman shifts his wait to follow the two to the merry-go-round, when something compels him to look back at the slide. The lead caterpillar has stopped its ascent and changed direction, so that it is now pointed back down the slide.
“Why did you let him do that?”
Glancing around, Silverman says quietly, “Let who do what? Who’s there?”
“Why did you let him kill my friend?”
“No one got killed. Stop hiding and come out, this is stupid.” Silverman says.
“You’re stupid. Look at me, on the slide, stupid. I’m right here.”
Shifting his gaze to the caterpillar, Silverman notices that it seems to be perched on its rear set of legs, while the front half of its body stands nearly erect in the air, as if it’s trying to get his attention.
“A caterpillar.” Silverman says.
“A human. Why don’t you stop stating the obvious and answer me stupid? Why did you let your brother kill my friend?” The caterpillar asks.
“He didn’t kill anybody.” Silverman says.
“He catapulted my friend to his death. And you didn’t try and stop him. My friend is dead now and you cheered meat stain on.” The caterpillar says with a raised voice.
“I’m sure your friend is fine.” Silverman says dismissively.
“You suck. He’s dead. We have soft bodies and we don’t fucking fly. We were on our way to make our cocoons. Do you know how far we had to travel to reach an ideal cocooning spot? And now your brother murders my friend and leaves me all alone. How would you like it if you were walking home and someone catapulted your brother, out of your life and to his death? How would you explain that to your mother. I guess you’d say “I’m sure he is fine.” Condescending asshole.” The caterpillar says.
“I don’t know what that word means. But I’m not about to let some worm talk trash to me.”
Moving in small increments, “Now you insult me by calling me a worm. I am an insect. We were gonna be butterflies. We were gonna be free. Free to go wherever we wanted. Not limited to the ground. Free! And your shit for brains brother killed him. Killed him for nothing.”
Shaking his head in annoyance, Silverman smacks the caterpillar to the ground where it curls up into a ball in the dirt.
“I must be day dreaming too hard. Talking caterpillars, how stupid.”
Looking at his hand, he can see some liquid residue of the swatted caterpillar on his hand that he swiftly wipes on his shorts. In nearly a whisper, he can hear the caterpillar say, “You’ll remember us. You’ll remember the life you stole, when yours is stolen away.”
Then, there is silence. Looking down at the curled, motionless caterpillar, Silverman brings his foot down on its lifeless body, seemingly erasing the encounter from time. At that same moment, he hears a soft familiar voice, call his name.
Turning around, he sees Mary Brennan standing in front of him. With her blond hair pulled back into a ponytail, he notices that a short, pink dress has replaced her standard shorts and t-shirt. Glancing over his shoulder, Silverman checks to see that Randy has joined Coolidge and Sussex; who are all trying to make each other hurl on the merry-go-round.
Smiling, Silverman says, “Hi Mary. You’re up early.”
“So are you. Why aren’t you playing with them?” She asks him.
“I’m just hanging around. I enjoyed my breakfast. I don’t wanna puke it up.” He explains.
Glancing to the far right, Mary asks, “Have you ever looked at those trees over there at the edge of the park?”
“No.” Silverman answers.
“They’re hollowed out and kinda dark. Wanna see’em?” She asks hopefully.
“Yeah. Show me.”
“Cool. Then I can show you what I learned.”
Without alerting the other kids, Silverman and Mary walk to the edge of the park, where a one-hundred foot oak tree stands unmoved by the spring breeze. Walking around to the back of it, they are both unable to see the park anymore, but can easily see that the tree’s trunk is hollowed out. Nothing is visible but a dark hole that Mary steadily enters. Once they are both inside, Mary faces him, slightly smiling.
“So what did you wanna show me?” Silverman asks.
He can just barely see her, but he can easily feel when she reaches out and takes his hand. Feeling himself being pulled, he takes several steps forward until his hand touches something soft. He nearly asks what it is, but her sudden inhale silences him. With his heart beginning to pound, he begins to explore the soft area, quickly realizing that it feels both mushy and hairy to the touch. Feeling her push his hand down, his finger discover a divide in the softness that they eagerly delve in to. When her wetness contacts his fingers, his erection quickly begins to strain against his shorts. Next, he can feel her slip her hand in the elastic band around his waste and pull it down until his erection is exposed to the open air. Feeling his body being pulled forward in the dark, Silverman wonders only for an instance, why would an 11 year old girl be doing this, but when his penis touches the previously explored softness between her legs, those thoughts vanish like a puff of smoke. With what feels like her leg being thrown up around his waist, he obeys her command for him to stoop, and before he can fully comprehend what is happening, his inexperienced penis is wrapped in hot, tight wetness. Feeling her moving against him, he freezes, as a pleasure unlike any he has ever experienced grips his entire body. Remembering what he has seen the men do in his father’s secret stash of pornography, he begins thrusting his hips forward, making the willing Mary moan, and the pleasure around his penis grow. Forcing her into the inner walling of the tree, Silverman claws at her pretty pink dress, as a burning need speedily builds in his pelvis. Seconds later, Silverman’s first internal ejaculation explodes into the moaning 11-year-old girl, who continues to gyrate her pelvis. With her leg lowering to the ground, Silverman backs up, slightly stumbling as he pulls up his pants and underwear.
“When did you learn that?” Silverman asks.
“Last night. Do you wanna watch me finish?” Mary Brennan asks him.
“Finish what?” He asks.
Stepping more into the light, Mary stoops down with her legs parted wide, and he is able to see what gave him so much pleasure. Her pubic area is glistening and reddened, with a short mass of blond hair. With her right hand, she reaches down and slides her finger between her reddened lips. He is not sure what she is doing, but as she begins to moan, his used member grows erect again. The faster she works her hand, the more she moans and she begins to thrust her hips forward. Looking down, he can see white fluid dripping from between her legs, as she stuffs her free hand into her mouth and bites down. Her fast manual stimulations quickly stop and to him, it looks like her girl area is contracting. Mesmerized by how much this is like his father’s videos, his mind begins to pull him out of this real life fantasy, with the acknowledgement of this persistent sound behind him. It reminds him of the sound of a flock of birds as they fly overhead; hundreds of wing beats moving in unison. Slowly, Silverman turns around and he can see what his ears have been hearing. Butterflies. Seemingly hundreds of multi-colored butterflies all fluttering their wings in synchrony, hovering in a mass that is as wide and as tall as the cavernous hole in the tree. Taking a step to his right, the idle swarm seemingly floats to their left, mimicking him; only to repeat it in the opposite direction. Vaguely aware of Mary still moaning behind him, Silverman can clearly hear footsteps growing near.
“Hey, look at all of those butterflies.” Sussex yells. “They’re all in front of this tree.”
Too scared to run away, Silverman stands frozen as Sussex, Randy and Coolidge round the corner and stop as they see him standing behind the wall of butterflies.
“Cool.” Randy says. “Hey, who is that in there with you, Silverman?”
Suddenly, Sussex realizes who it is, and while watching the young Mary rubbing her girl parts, his brother stands frozen, with a partial erection, wet shorts and an expression of fear on his face; a deep jealousy and anger builds within the nine year old.
“I’m gonna tell mom what you did.” Sussex says in a deeply hurt voice, before running away, as fast as he can.
Then, as Mary gets to her feet, wiping her hands on the under side of her pretty pink dress, the butterflies disperse, just as mysteriously as they arrived, leaving Silverman feeling frightened of far more than the wrath of his mother. Before Coolidge and Randy can question the situation thoroughly, Silverman follows his distraught brother running as fast as he can. By the time he catches sight of him, Sussex is rounding the corner at the entrance of the park and headed down the road towards home. Having longer legs than him, Silverman covers more ground than his nine year old counterpart, and easily begins to close the distance.
“Sussex!” Silverman yells.
“Shut up! I’m tellin’ mom on you!” Sussex yells behind him.
As Silverman gets closer, a large shadow seems to materialize in the sky, ten feet away and descends swooping well over Sussex’ head, plotting a collision course with Silverman. As the shadow closes in, he quickly realizes that it isn’t some rogue storm cloud or mysterious shade, but the mystical coalescence of multi-colored butterflies has reconvened and appears to be charging at him. Just as they move to overtake him, Silverman dives into the ditch on the side of the road, covering his head, obscuring his vision, with only the sensory stimulus being that of thousands on small butterfly wings flapping above him. With terror and dread swirling together to form a large knot in his stomach, Silverman trembles in fear until the disturbing sound seems to pass him by. Slowly lifting his head, he realizes that he is alone and unscathed, allowing him to rapidly rise to his feet.
“He’s gotta be almost home by now.” Silverman mutters to himself, compelling him to break into an all-out dash down the road.
As he reaches the crest of the hill, he is just able to spot Sussex at the bottom, rapidly slowing from exertion. As he inhales to yell his name, Silverman watches with growing horror the swarm of butterflies engulfs his little brother, causing him to spin in place and wave his arms, in a futile attempt the fan the flying insects away from him. Yelling his name, Silverman begins to run down the hill towards him, just as Sussex begins to scream with fright.
“My eyes! Get outta my eyes!!”
With the butterflies at the center of the swarm pecking at his eyes repeatedly, Sussex’s begins to run blindly back up the hill, unknowingly towards his older brother. With his full attention focused on him, Silverman never hears the dump truck coming up the hill behind him, but as the multi-wheeled vehicle speeds over the crest, it immediately slams on brakes. Being too big and going too fast to stop on a dime, the transfer dump truck careens into the panicking nine year old, still travelling at around 50 mph, causing the swarm of butterflies to disperse like a cloud of dust, just as Sussex flies through the air, limp and twisted, before slamming into the asphalt on the upward incline of the hill.
When the dump truck is finally able to come to a complete stop, the bumper rests just a couple feet from where Sussex lies on the road, motionless. Although feeling the urgency, Silverman cannot compel himself to run, as the driver’s side door of the dump truck opens and the driver stumbles out onto the street.
“I… I couldn’t stop…. I couldn’t see… What the… Where the hell did he come from?”
As the driver stands on wobbly knees, looking at the unmoving body of the young boy on the pavement, Silverman finally reaches them, where he stands staring at Sussex with wide, vacant eyes.
“Do you know who this is?” The driver asks. “Hey, hey, kid? You know this… Oh fuck… He ain’t movin’…”
Looking down at Sussex’s battered and broken form, Silverman slowly sinks to his knees, where he quickly observes how his brother’s chest fails to rise. Inexplicably, Silverman is compelled to look up the hill, above his body at the double yellow lines dividing the road, where he can just make out the slow, incremental movements of a black and yellow caterpillar crossing from one side of the line to the other.