The Kindness of Bones
by Leslie Jane Anderson
My parents adopted the skeleton when I was ten. It was normal to have a skeleton by then, resurrected from an animal, or a combo, that were dead for at least fifteen years. Don't even try to resurrect something that still had skin. That's why the guy who invented the process was dead. At least that's what my teacher said. So now they just resurrect bones, and the little bit of feeling and memories or whatever inside them that was left. They were honestly kind of dopey, she said. Sometimes you got the feeling that they wanted to say something, but that was just projection. They don't, she said.
Anyway, they got me one when I got sick. Actually they got me one when I was sick enough to have to stay in bed. I guess I'd been sick for a while. It was about the size of a bear, and was probably mostly a bear, though its head was big and it had a tail. They brought it to my bed like I should be excited, but I wasn't. It's not cool to have the newest pet if you don't go outside to show it off. It was just creepy. It didn't even play fetch or shake or roll over. It just sat by my bed. Its hinges and wires glittered and it made weird creaking and knocking noises when it walked around. It wandered around my room like a huge, tired dog.
"Do you like it, sweetheart?" My mom asked, and I knew I should be nice and say yes, but I didn't feel like being nice. I shook my head. She frowned at me and I felt bad so I let the thing stay in my room. At night the floorboards creaked, but when I looked it was always in the same place, black against the nightlight, just watching me.
"Are you going to wire my skeleton together when I'm dead?" I asked. I wanted to make my parents hurt this time. I wasn't sure why.