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Mr. Black

Two young girls navigate a frozen ditch and their imaginations one unsupervised fall day.

By Kooper Shagena Published 2 years ago 3 min read
Mr. Black
Photo by Quinn Battick on Unsplash

“Mr. Black is under there.”

Yasmin sniffed her drippy nose. It was red at the tip from the cold wind and extra leaky from hanging her head to look down at the ice.

October had swept the Midwest into a dustpan of cold brownness that was headed for the trashcan of winter. Disheveled trees were shedding all over the bright red and yellow playground by my house, so the monkey bars were extra tacky and my hands were extra grimy- I got blisters on my palms from all the swinging. Yasmin was skinny and blonde and three years older than me but she was my best Mom’s-house friend.

“He can’t get us over here though `cause its thick enough,” I assured us both. The tip of my coat by my face kept freezing because I kept sucking on it, so it scraped my chin when I looked up from Mr. Black to the other end of the ditch.

“C’mon let's go a little further, I like how the cracks sound. We can run back if he starts to come up.” I grabbed Yasmin’s mitten hand and we shuffled closer to the drainage pipe. Crackle crackle crunch.

“Oh he’s under there Yasmin, look! He wants to get us so bad.” The dark, black ditch water welled up to the impressions our rubber boots were making in the young ice. I sucked on my coat some more and stepped all around, taunting Mr. Black with my rainbow polka dot boots.

Yasmin started to sing a song to the rhythm of her own teasing steps and soon two little girls were yelling about cracks and Mr. Blacks in the frozen ditch of County Road 17.

He wasn’t as scary now because we had trampled the ice so much that there was no difference between the deep dark ditch water and the clearer layer on top. Just dirty, shattered ice.

Yasmin asked if we should go further towards the culvert and my chest buzzed as I looked over at the deepest part of the ditch. The ice was unblemished like glass and who could ever resist that? I grinned with my coat in my teeth.

“Oh Mr. Bla-ack" I sang as we inched towards the swell of deeper water. We skirted around the edge and stuck out our rubber feet as far as we dared, coaxing Mr. Black up from the depths.

“It’s actually probably pretty deep in the middle, like I don’t even know if we would stick up.” Yasmin tried to do that thing that kids do when they’re scared, because it wouldn’t even be fun anyway, right?

“We’d probably get hypel-thermia or something.” I contributed.

We stood there and looked at the pristine glassy mystery in the middle of the huge puddle and sniffed our runny noses. Then I realized something.

“If we don’t go out there, he wins.” I rubbed my hat on my head where it was getting itchy and drug a trail of watery snot down my coat sleeve.

“He’ll think we’re scared of him! C’mon Yasmin, we’re not scared, right? Plus hypel-thermia only happens when there’s snow.”

Yasmin mulled that over for a moment and then agreed. “We should go one at a time though, right? So it’s not so heavy.”

Genius. We were so smart that Mr. Black didn’t have a chance.

I watched the black plumes lick up at my boots from the depths as I scooted towards the middle of the ditch pond. Cracks were shooting across the ice and Mr. Black surged up all around. I screamed with half fear and half laughter and watched the swirly water beneath my feet.

At once the ice gave way and Mr. Black pooled into my boots and splashed up the back of my coat. I screamed a real scream.

I ran home on ice cube feet to change my socks.

Short Story

About the Creator

Kooper Shagena

hi :) I write short stories and poetry about emotions, experiences, and interactions with the universe, others, and nature!

Most my stories are fictional, but some are my real life experiences as I remember them.

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