Shell grow out of it

Competition Three Highly Commended: She’ll Grow Out Of It by

I let Quirk out. She scampers around collecting abandoned shoes ordering them toe to heel in a queue for Urgent Care. Next, she casts her arms to net all the tumbled clothes, flicking them viciously, slapping the air with a crack. A memory stirs of a stinging cheek and I rouse. I hear Quirk say clearly, “Blue can’t touch–you know that!” I tap-tap-tap my head against the wall in a repeating rhythm to shut her up. I haven’t taken my pink lady pills—they slow motion—as if I’m wading through treacle.

“Treacle” Quirk mocks, “How do you know what wading through treacle feels like? You know why you don’t take them and it’s not because they turn you into gingerbread. No—you missed me. After all, we go together like Danny and Sandy”.

I give up the struggle and let Quirk have full reign. Giggling she accepts the mantle. All the blue is buried under the bed and my calm clumsily returns whispering, “Catch her now”. I grab her up by a heel and swallow her down quickly before she can search for more sad thingamajigs. I cage her behind the jail of my ribs; she squeezes my lungs and I pant painfully.

I wriggle into a stretchy yellow dress dotted with poppies. “Happy clothes”, I tell her so she will let go. Quirk loves anything yellow. When I was little and she was littler she told me to eat only yellow food to make me happy on the insides. But my parents—colorless, slaphappy—had no truck with what they called ‘my quirky behavior’. They force-fed me gloomy greens and woebegone white potatoes until I shrank.

When I left home I lived on sweet corn, pineapple and cheese-puffs, for months and I was able to grow big. But of course, Quirk grew bigger.



Adele Evershed is an early years educator who has rediscovered her childhood wish to be a writer. Born in Wales she has lived in Hong Kong and Singapore before settling in Connecticut. Her prose has been published in a number of journals such as Every Day Fiction, Flash Fiction North, Ab Terra Flash Fiction Magazine, Grey Sparrow Journal, and Free Flash Fiction. You can find her poetry in Shot Glass Journal, High Shelf , bee house journal, Sad Girls Club and Green Ink Poetry.


Photo-credit; Dylan Evershed

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