Devil would have at our time of greatest suffering when the town pushed us out and killed the ground behind us and burned it past the fulcrum point and no sooner was when we found the House. From the flames we ran and ran we slowed to a trot. Slowed to a walk and wander. For days we wandered through the woods and lo. The House. On the land at center.
We five all the same. Name and face all the same. Five boys named Tad. Our hair red our face thick pale and jowl. We stood no dog found one and cut her to five. Best to share we learned. We are legion. We did squirrel and yard bird lay their bones to fester. We kept fat and happy. Devil would have we were alone. A bird came to cross the dale we would quick curse it to drop in our pot. To find our psychic net. We kept a nice fire of trash and tires. Would that the bird knew.
To make our spelling star round the House we never touched Its walls or lock Its window pane or steps or brick for It was sacred. We slept on boards one eye among us watching the House yellow-gold and whole. We fresh in our power and draped in it. We servile beast. We strong and sure. We listen to the earth to its sound to the south. Being what you don’t know will kill you.
To say they did come and brought their trucks and tents and cans of beer. Boys and little girls as from school. We did articulate our joy with howls and moaning. They come to discover! Their campsite circle the bending trees the girls their lips the sweet girls cudding to their boys. They make a fire to settle in they open cans of beer and food they watch and wait they far from home.
Their elders lived to cross us and made it law to never try. NEVER TRY THE LEGION TAD they said. We saw them in our sleep. They knew but not their kids they knew how we were and came to be. The town a mass of good and humble folk the county line a fulcrum the trees and House a weight to keep the balance the five of us crucial. As they say Good needs Tad. But now these boys and little girls have willed off the weight these little boys and baby girls.
We all of us wait the House thrums a beating heart. It makes to speak we draw near it makes to tell us. We draw near. TOUCH ME it growls we press palms to it TOUCH EACH OTHER we clasp one arm around the other and press the House it makes a Dark Circuit there a razor sense all of them those boys and girls we see to make them TOUCH THEM the House screams ear to ear inside our baby boy brain cross the circuit five. Touch fire to sense we land on our backs laid out like cord wood drymouthed like cord wood our hands palms jagged with broken glass yet unbleeding our hands palms weapons against. A gift from the House! We holler and clap and shards sprinkle like snowfire.
Run through the woods we screeching to them we to see these guests to TOUCH THEM we good students we boys like the rest we make to know them we hear their noises we smell their good food we see their campfire we hear their singing WE see their bodies WE see their faces WE see their faces WE see their faces THEY DO NOT SEE US.
Amelia Gray is the author of four books: AM/PM, Museum of the Weird, THREATS, and Gutshot.