When Rex and Todd returned, they were even quieter than normal. Niki noticed that they were always touching in some way or another—holding hands or leaning on each other. At the dinner table, they sat straight and still, but below, where Mrs. White couldn’t see, they hooked their ankles together.
Niki tried to apologize to them, tell them how sorry she was, but they just shook their heads. Ada finally told her to stop trying, that it was only upsetting them more for her to bring it up.Read More »
Niki managed to keep herself out of trouble over the next few weeks. After a couple of days, Melissa reappeared at the breakfast table. Nobody said a world about her absence and Mrs. White continued to guide them all through the unvarying routine of their days.
Niki started to think the house wasn’t so bad after all. As long as everyone did what they were supposed to do, nobody had to go to the Pit. Everyone was fed and clothed and slept in warm, comfortable beds. Niki sat in the living room one evening after all the chores and homework were finished. All around the room the other children sat, reading quietly. A fire crackled in the fireplace and Mrs. White hummed to herself as she knit.Read More »
“Don’t be a Kristen.”
Bella’s mother said it often enough that Bella thought a kristen was a really terrible job that didn’t pay well until she was deep into middle school. She imagined it being akin to cleaning outhouses or cutting old people’s toenails. By the time she realized that Kristen was a name, not a career choice, she’d been hearing it for so long she didn’t really question it. She didn’t know who Kristen was or why you’d want to avoid being like her, it just was.Read More »
Bitsy leaned in close, her breath soft on my ear as she shouted to be heard over the thumping base. “Holy shit! Did we really drink that much?”
I started to shrug but the movement set the room spinning. I squinted at the bill again–a white strip of paper stretched into a much longer rectangle than either of us had anticipated. The numbers danced and spun before settling into the final total: $137.65.Read More »
Kenny and I grew up together, close enough that my mother has pictures of us sharing a bubble bath. We were inseparable all through school, right up to our joint graduation gift–a pair of Euro-rail tickets and matching backpacks.Read More »
It’s early–early enough that the animal hospital is technically still an emergency service and we have to ring the bell. Rookie wags hesitantly as we wait for someone to open the big, iron door.
“Can I help you?” the woman asks.Read More »
Allen ate apples any time he could acquire them. Applesauce, apple pie–he had absolutely no aversion to apples in any form. He admired the assiduous agriculture and anticipated the ambrosial assortment annually. His attachment to assembling an astronomical album of asymmetrical specimen, particularly alabaster, arcane, and arctic variations, left authorities in the most active auction houses and advertising agencies awed.Read More »