“Secrets Bite” by Laura Wolfe

Secrets Bite

By Laura Wolfe

I tripped and fell into the puddle.

Mommy had buttoned my raincoat, hiked up my galoshes, and sent me out to play in the rain.  At first it had been sprinkly, and the puddles had been small and good for jumping.  But then the water dumped out of the sky, like someone had turned over a gigantic bucket, and the alley behind our house became a rushing river.

I ran as fast as I could to keep from being knocked over, but it’s hard to run in rainboots and I wasn’t surprised when I tripped.  I reached out to catch myself, expecting gravel-bite on my palms, but instead I pushed through something like Jell-O.

I dove through the water.  The light around me was grayish green, like the rainy day above.  There were strange fish, with slippery bodies that brushed up against my face and spiny fins that scratched my cheek.  Then there were stranger things, with tentacles and round mouths with teeth.  They looked hungry, so I wriggled away.

My palms plunged into a sandy bottom that sparkled and cut like broken glass.  My hands stung, and I wanted to put them in my mouth.

I lifted my head, and in front of me lay a clamshell big enough to sleep in.  An upside down waterfall of bubbles poured from its lips.

“I will tell you a secret,” said the pink and white giant before me, opening and closing its mighty door.  And he did.

I jumped up from the bottom of the water world, and I rose quickly.  A beautiful pale woman with green hair called from my right, but I thought she might have sharp teeth so I just reached for the air.

I shot from the puddle and landed on my knees.  “Mommy!” I cried, and ran to the back door.

She met me on the porch, lifted me and cuddled me.

In the warm kitchen, she dabbed ointment on my hands and cheeks while I told her about the puddle.  She smiled softly.  Then I told her the clam’s secret, and her smile melted.

“What an imagination.”  Mommy covered her eyes and turned away.