I found the first of the cavemen in the loose ground behind Momma's flowers. All around me, the roses bloomed in hues of red, white, yellow, and pink. Between the blooms, between the thorns, I saw his hand sticking out of the dirt. I only got scratched a little as I crawled on my hands and knees to make the discovery. A line of ants crossed his skin. A few bit me on my knees and ankles before I swatted them away. I touched the grey skin of the hand and it felt cold and hard. That's how I knew it must be a frozen caveman.
I went inside to get my shovel. Momma was upset.
"What's that dirt on your new dress?"
"I'm digging up a caveman, Momma."
She made her eyes look big and said, "Really? A caveman?"
She smiled at me and patted my head. "In that case, you go on up to the bedroom and change into some play clothes, okay? You don't need to be getting your school clothes all dirty."
I nodded my head and ran up to my room where I changed into my pink shorts and a cranberry juice stained i-Carly t-shirt. I grabbed the small plastic shovel Daddy had bought me last summer at the beach and rushed back downstairs.
"Be careful of black widows!" my mother yelled to me as the screen door pulled shut behind me with a hiss.
Digging in the dirt, I was able to reveal an arm. Parts of the skin moved a little, and when I touched those parts they felt gooey. I worked my way up the arm and revealed his body. The caveman wore a t-shirt with a black Metallica logo. Then I dusted off the dirt from his face, and open eye sockets looked back at me. There were no eyeballs. Curious, I poked an empty socket with a stick, and little white bugs were on the stick when I pulled it back out of the hole. Despite his lack of eyeballs, he looked kind of like one of the older guys in my school. Like one of the kids who had moved on to the middle school last year. I think his name was Trent.
I looked at the throat and it looked funny. There was a black line across it, and more of the little white bugs were inside that line. They seemed to have found a home there. I started feeling sick. But I was excited about my discovery and ran inside to tell Mommy.
She did not react the way I expected her to. She came out smiling, letting me lead her by the hand. "I have revealed the caveman!" I yelled while moving my arms around with a dramatic flourish like that magician at school did during his show that one time. Then I stood back and noticed her face.
It turned white, really pale, almost green, and then she fell to her knees and began throwing up all over her flowers.
"Don't dirty your dress, Momma," I told her.
She waved me away. She wiped the spit trails falling off her nose and mouth and pointed to the house. "Get inside, baby! And don't look back out here."
She stood up and grabbed the upper part of my arm. I tried to wiggle away, but she grabbed me tighter. "C'mon! Get inside!"
"Don't you like my caveman, Momma?" I asked her. I looked up to her face. She didn't look back at me. Her eyes were wet with tears and focused on my caveman.
"I've got to make a phone call. Now! C'mon!"
She jerked me so hard tears formed in my eyes. I had a bruise from that yank for a few days afterwards.
She sent me up to my room. I heard her make a phone call. A few minutes later there were sirens. I looked outside and watched policemen talk to Mommy. I saw some men in orange suits take my caveman. They put him in a black plastic bag which they loaded into an ambulance. Mommy signed a piece of paper, and some people in white suits began digging at other places in the flower bed. More cavemen were revealed. All of them looked like boys I knew from school.
When Daddy pulled into the driveway, he started shouting. A policeman grabbed him, leaned him over his Buick, put a bracelet on his wrists, and took him away. I asked Momma that night where they took my caveman and where they took Daddy.
She never answered me. Anytime I brought it up, all she could do was cry.