Here's an excerpt from “Bluer Even than the Sky Above,” a story in Long Time Ago Good.
A little context: I’ve never performed this story, never read it aloud. Don’t know why—it’s not terrible….
Shannon stumbled down the slope to the edge of the water, ducking under low branches. She sat in the shade of a willow and watched the water. For the first time in a long time there was no one telling her to sit up straight or act ladylike, no one putting her down about schoolwork, no one asking her about boys. No Margie, no Dad, and even though she sort of liked Chrissy and Cathy—felt sorry for them—she was glad to be away from them, too. There were just too many people in her life, too many people trying to mess with her.
She threw a rock into the water and watched the ripples flow to the bank.
“Hey—you a-scarin my fish, there.”
Shannon jerked around in the direction of the voice and scooted back towards the base of the tree.
“Don’t you be scared.”
Shannon squinted at the cattails. Something seemed to be moving back behind them.
“You all alone—right?” A man stepped out of the cattails, a very short man, shorter than Shannon, almost a dwarf, with strange short stubby arms. He had dirty blond hair that was matted and muddy, and a stubble of beard on his chin. His tiny eyes were flat, and pale—they reminded Shannon of the fetal pigs in biology class, of something that was dead and pickled. “Don’t you be scared,” he said again, and smiled.
Shannon got slowly to her feet and crossed her arms over her chest. She gripped the hot, unopened can of Diet Dr Pepper and watched the little man.
“What do you want?”
“I want you to stop a-scarin my fish,” he said. His face was all red and blistered; Shannon couldn’t tell if he was sunburned or sick. “They my friends.”