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Too High

Too Fast

By Sukie HarperPublished 10 months ago 3 min read
Too High
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

“Molly! You’re going too high!” Sam whined as she struggled to climb up after her sister, “I can’t even see you anymore!”

Molly rolled her eyes and scoffed. She knew Sam could see her, she could feel her stubby little fingers on the back of her heel every other branch.

“Just come on Sam, we’re almost there,” Molly said as she grabbed another branch. The sweat beaded on her skin like little scales that glimmered in the hot sun. The cicadas buzzed endlessly in a way that Molly found soothing, despite her daddy saying it was the worst part of summertime. Her bare feet gripped the rough bark of the tree like an old pal; it was in a way. The tree has been around as long as she had; their mama had had her daddy plant it the day she was born. She called it “Molly’s Maple.”

Molly hated sharing her tree picnics with Sam. It was her tree, why should she have to share it with her six year old baby of a sister? Daddy said it was because her tree wasn’t strong enough yet. She didn’t think it was fair. Sam always whined the entire way up, and then would steal all of the sweets Molly had packed when mama wasn’t looking. But, mama would get mad if Molly refused to bring Sam, and sometimes the fight wasn’t worth the trouble.

“But Molly, my arms feel dead and I’m tired!” Sam whined again, trying to lure her sister into carrying her the rest of the way.

Molly would not be so swayed. She’d climbed all this way by herself, plus the snack bag. Sam could make it a few more feet.

“Just come on, goddammit” she said.

Sam gasped.

“Molly, I’m gonna tell mama you said the lord’s name in vain and you’re gonna get a whoopin.”

Molly shook her head with resolution, “fine then I’m just gonna eat your animal crackers when I get to the top.”

“NOOOOO,” Sam hollered.

“Then just come on,” Molly groaned, “if you can hush up until we get there I’ll peel your orange for you.”

That did it. Sam hated peeling oranges; they turned her skin orange, and she could never get the peel open to start. She’d always end up just crying in frustration.

So, for the next few branches, they climbed in silence. The only sounds that could be heard were the creaking of branches and the squeaking of Sam’s tennis shoes (that she’d been told not to wear). Molly had finally gotten her peace and quiet, and the picnic branch was in sight.

It was the perfect place to sit, the branches were open enough to have a view of the land, but closed enough to protect you from the glare of the sun. Plus, there weren’t any twigs or burrs to stab you in the butt either. It was her favorite spot.

As Molly went to sling their snack bag up onto the branch though, something happened.


Sam’s shoes (which she had been told three times not to wear) had started to slip, causing her to lose her footing.

Molly screamed, “SAMMY!”

Later on, Molly would say that somehow everything moved too fast and too slow all at the same time. Like ants on a sidewalk.

Sam’s tiny, exhausted fingers lost their grip of the branch, and she started to fall back. In an attempt to free her hand, Molly threw the snack bag into the branches of the tree, sending oranges and animal crackers hurling through the air. She reached out to grab anything that she could lay a hand on, but Sam had been just too far away. Molly could only watch as Sam tumbled through the air like an abandoned doll. Their eyes wide and their mouths twisted in shock.

As Sam landed on the ground, her head struck a large rock, and made a sound that Molly would never forget. A hollow splitting sound, it felt thick and sent a sickening feeling to the pit of her belly. She’d say it sounded like the watermelon her daddy had dropped on the Fourth of July; a fruit that she would never be able to eat again, along with oranges.

Molly’s parents found them both at the bottom of the tree. Sam had gone white, like the sheets hung out to dry, but Molly was covered in red. There was nothing to be done, though of course they tried. By the time they’d reached the hospital, Sam had gone cold.

They buried her on a Tuesday, and tore down the girls’ trees on Wednesday .


About the Creator

Sukie Harper

I like to put pieces of myself into my writing. Sometimes it's a finger, sometimes a toe, but it's always something that gets stuck to the roof of your mouth and leaves a lingering feel in your gut.

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  • HandsomelouiiThePoet (Lonzo ward)6 months ago


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