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Copyediting by Amy Richards
Cover designed by Melanie Hooyenga at Ink Slinger Designs|
eBook designed by the eBook Artisans

Ebook original published in 2012978-0-9853206-1-4

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

1

ONE EARLY AFTERNOON, IN all other ways like any other afternoon, her mother takes her out in her stroller, soothing her with a laughing mom’s voice. She tells her about the wind that sings and then softens among the branches and the swallows that compete in skill to skim the pond for a few refreshing drops of water before flying off again in perfect circles into the clouds.

The little girl does not understand every word, but she follows her mother’s fingers as they imitate birds gliding through the air down to her face.

Then they will go home for snack followed by a nap.

It is a reassuring life, where nothing unexpected happens.

They stop at the edge of the woods, in the shade of the trees. The little girl plays with the light, squinting to change the intensity of the rays.

Before the screaming starts, before her mother’s distant terror terrorizes her in turn, before the panicked shrill pierces her ears, and the little girl takes refuge in sleep to bury an anxiety far too great for her to bear, her mother gives her a generous and warm hug, leaving her with the sight of the entire sky, and says, “I’ll be right back.” A final broken promise. Sitting as she is, the child cannot see the body, or what is left of it, sprawled on the ground, beaten to a pulp. Yet that moment of abandonment remains forever engraved in her adult memory.

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