Little Round Head

Little Round Head by Michael Marano Read Free Book Online

Book: Little Round Head by Michael Marano Read Free Book Online
Authors: Michael Marano
Tags: Speculative Fiction
LITTLE ROUND HEAD
    Mother found me in the sun today and “
woosh!
” out she came on her fast legs when there were clouds and took me inside.
    She wasn’t mad, but she held me against her fur and her tears fell,
drip! drip!
, on me and I started crying too because I was bad and didn’t want to make her cry. When she saw me cry too she kissed me and rocked me back and forth and she said my name, “Little Round Head! Little Round Head! What am I to do with my Little Round Head?” And then she sang me one of the songs I like so much and cleaned off the tears with her tongue. Later, Father came with food from down deep and he and Mother and me cleaned each other before we ate and I slept between them and felt safe.
    I didn’t want to be bad.
    Father and Mother played a game with me with sticks and bones. It was fun and there were songs to sing with the game and Mother and Father said the game was very old and the songs were from the Old Times. One of the bones was a head bone, and it was round and funny looking like my head and I picked it up and kissed it like Mother and Father kiss my head and called the bone “Little Round Head” like how they call me and I held it close like it was my baby.
    Mother and Father thought that was funny and laughed, “Ha-Ha!” They held me close and ran their hands over my skin that doesn’t have fur like theirs to pick off bugs.
    It is nice to be loved.
    Father brought home a paper box with milk in it. When he comes home down the big pipe he shakes the paper box “
wusha-wusha
” so I can hear that there’s milk inside that he is bringing. He makes sound because I can’t see down the big pipes like he and Mother do.
    Sometimes the paper box is covered with the sticky red food Mother and Father like, and they lick it off and I drink the milk inside and we pass the milk box in a circle so we can all have a treat.
    Mother and Father eat the box when it is empty, “
crunch-crunch
,” because it makes them happy and I am happy when they are. I tried to eat the paper box once, but it tasted bad and Mother and Father laughed and said maybe when I am older I can eat the grown-up food they eat.
    Father was about to eat the paper box when his eyes got big and he showed it to Mother and she said a whispery thing “
pishha-pishha-pishha
” and they folded the box and put it between them.
    I asked what was wrong . . . maybe the milk was rotten and would make them sick. But they said, “No, No. Nothing is wrong, Little Round Head. You go to sleep now, and we will come sing you songs.”
    I went because I wanted to be good. I heard them tearing up the paper box and I was worried that they would be sick and I would be all alone.
    When I went to sleep I dreamed about the Bad Mother and the Bad Father. They are ugly mean things like giant babies, without soft grey fur on them like Mother and Father have, without the fur that I will grow when I’m big. The Bad Mother and the Bad Father yell at me and keep me in an ugly thing like a cage with wood bars. The Bad Mother and Bad Father burn me with little white sticks that they put in their mouths and make on fire before they burn me with the orange parts.
    I start crying because I am so sad and hurt so much. But Mother and Father kill the Bad Mother and the Bad Father and take me away home.
    When I woke up I was still crying, and my real Mother and Father came and held me close and said, “Shh! Shh! It’s only a bad dream, Little Round Head! It’s only a bad dream!”
    They let me sleep between them and they sang to me and I had dreams about a dark place with shiny black stone steps going down and down to a place where I could play all the time and get my own food like Father does from the hunts.
    It is a nice dream, and the Bad Mother and the Bad Father are far, far away.
    * * *
    Today Mother and Father had to leave me all alone, and I tried to show them I was brave. They saw I was scared, and before they left they gave me the head bone that

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