• Round: Books: Page 1 Challenge

  • Genre:
    Fiction: Literary
  • Submitted: January 14, 2011


  • Status: Rating complete
  • Want it elevated: 37%
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Page 1 Challenge


Working off Shakespeare’s tragedy, Hamlet, ROOSTER swings from the story of a girl whose brother commits suicide, to the story of a man willing to scandalize his family to help her.  Tragedy creates an unlikely friendship between the girl “Hamlet” and the thirty-seven-year-old ne'er-do-well.

Page 1





-- Denmark, Mississippi 1976--


There was a girl in Denmark -- So like the red witch in the old tales his people told that Victor Hugo’s father and the other adults from Guatemala called her Ajitz Co'xol, the Red Witch of the Hill.  They said that deep in the past, when people could turn themselves into animals, they had tried to kill her with teeth and claws, but could not. 

Indeed, their naming seemed to fit the girl, sitting on the mill, lazily kicking her legs.  She looked almost white except her skin was tan and flecked with red as if someone had dipped his fingers in paint and flicked some over her. 

Victor shrunk from the girl but was also drawn to her, as a magnet sometimes fascinates another, pulling and repelling.  He feared being so close but was eager to see her face because, as young as he was, he had known tragedy, and the whole story of this girl was a tragedy. 

They said she’d murdered her brother.   

He looked into her eyes, staring from shadows cast from the shed, and sensed some giant, slow-footed god sat behind them, a thing that had passed through many calendars.

He believed in evil spirits, and here was one, the shadow of a person.  He could tell from her eyes.  The circles inside the whites were pure black.  At the margins of this blackness, embers flicked like sheeted ghosts.  Ghost-to-ghost, light floated in narrow spaces.  Light and darkness met.  The girl smiled, and each ghost, unfettered, slipped up from its grave.

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