Imogene’s white eyelet lace Sunday dress billowed with the wind. She tried to hold it down so her behind wouldn’t show. She should have listened to her mama about wearing bloomers. Her little knees knocked together, goose-bumped with the cold gust. Little lace lined socks were smattered with dirt around the ankles of her black patent leather mary-jane shoes. Imogene was sad she got her outfit dirty. She tried so hard to be good. It had been a good Sunday until the service.
She scratched her knee and turned around to face the worship hall door. It was hard being a good girl for her mama. Some days were easier than others. Today wasn’t any different. She turned away, and skipped to her mama’s car – a beat up Cadillac, and opened the door. Seeing her treasure, she picked up the battered board book of “Goodnight Moon” and skipped back to the building. With a smile, she walked up the stairs, wrapping her bare arms around herself for warmth.
The door opened with a creak as she turned the knob, and she stepped into the heated building. Softly glowing colored lights cast rainbows on the beige tile, crying down from the old plates of the stained glass windows. Imogene always loved these colors, as they reminded her of the rainbows after a good summer thunderstorm.
Remembering her duty, Imogene tiptoed through the worship hall to the front of the room. She climbed the red-carpeted stairs to the pulpit and turned to face the parishioners.
With a weak smile, she opened the book on the pedestal to the first page.
The faces glared back at her. Mouths anchored shut by their belts or duct tape crossed through their teeth were good. They couldn’t interrupt her. Muffled moans and tear stained cheeks reflected to Imogene’s eyes. A hundred people sat, finally silent to listen to her story. She always wanted to stand here and read her favorite book. Nevertheless, no one listened. It had made her very angry. Very angry indeed. She hadn’t wanted to make them be quiet, but sometimes people had to be reminded to listen and not speak. Be seen and not heard. Wasn’t that what Mama had told her so many times before?
She frowned as she felt warmth on her toes, and looked down. The preacher’s glassy eyes stared up at her in fixed horror as the blood rushed from the back of his skull onto her shiny black shoe, and her previously white lace anklet sock was now bright red.
Imogene ‘tsk’d and took a step to the side. Mama would be so disappointed. With a quick thought of her mother, the little girl looked to the front pew and smiled warmly. A disfigured female corpse was propped up on the end, her face bloated and mottled in death some time ago.
“Sorry, Mama. I got red on my sock,” Imogene spoke, her twenty six year old voice warbled out, in what seemed to be a six year olds’ mentality.
Cries sounded out in the worship hall, drawing Imogene’s attention back to her task.
She cleared her throat and glanced down to the board book. Muffled cries sounded from the pews distracted her and she put her finger to her lips.
“Shhhh… I don’t want to waste anymore time.”
She put her finger under a word on the book page to mark her place, and began reading.
“In the great green room, there was a telephone and a red balloon…”