Don't you see me? I'm the last to get off the rusty bus, that boy in the back of the crowd. Deathly pale and skinny, big ears like Father - but then we all look like him. Fifteen children, give or take a few. You've seen us before, coming into town for our supplies.
Them. That commune or what-have-you.
My sisters who have graduated to be my mothers walk in front, but still behind Him. Father, and his women. Giggling amongst each other, only ten, twelve years old, after all.
They don't seem unhappy. You avert your eyes, or in one of your bolder moods, you look, for just a moment. We're interesting, aren't we?
We pick up our pre-ordered food at the town grocer. The hardware, for fixing things around the property. Propane, for His trailer - not ours, not the children's, especially not the boys'. Don't you see me, trailing along? I'm trying to catch your eye.
One of your children, a girl my age, waves to me as we - that cult, different strokes for different folks - wait outside the hardware store while He's inside picking up the order. "Hi, I'm Amy," she says to me. I would tell her who I am, but they didn't give me a name. We boys all take His, at birth.
Don't you see me? The only boy among all these girls - don't you wonder?
A few years from now, you will hear about us. A runaway boy will come stumbling into your small clinic, bleeding - not me, but one of my brothers. I will be long gone. The police will dig up His property, search the trailers: the girls', to which only He has the key, the boys', moldy mattresses and broken windows. No indoor plumbing!
By then, you can't pretend you didn't see the boy, the cuts and the scars. Malnourishment, neglect, stunted growth - you will listen to the news in horror. They will find the bones, the massive graveyard on the acres He owns. You will hear about me, my dozens of brothers, watch my sisters-now-mothers bow their heads in disgrace on your television, watch Him stand tall, like He does right now in your town's hardware store.
There will be cameras all over His property, bright yellow police tape keeping you out, so you can't see what you've already imagined. Trial coverage, inside reports on my brother, The Saved Boy, interviews with the clinic staff: How we rescued him, twelve years-old, but looked like he was five, so malnourished. You will name him, for he is now one of you.
There will be interviews with my sisters, now just sisters again, groomed for television, tearful, with buttoned sweaters and tiny hearts from silver necklaces, recovering and going to school. There will be a guilty verdict for Him and of course, the death penalty. You know evil when you see it.
Amy waves, as you pull her hand and cross the street. Leave him be.
'Them' originally appeared in the print anthology Versal Four (2006).