Summer’s Child 2

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This story takes place forty some odd years after the events on Summerisle, and is not endorsed by the heirs of Lord Summerisle.

© 2018 Robin D. Ashe

“Is she gone?” came the whisper from the top of the stairs. It carried through the stuffy, still house, where children no longer visited, where there never was a Christmas tree in the parlor window anymore, where dust turned gray the knob of the wooden radio with its tall arched top, like a cathedral.

“Yes,” I said, soft as I would touch the ancient cat upstairs that had to step on a hatbox to get down from its wing chair. The house smelled of eggs—always disastrous—and burnt bacon. I supposed that Miss Mary had eaten up the porridge. I was going to save the chicken for tomorrow night and make my family’s chicken and dumplings, but there was the matter of tonight’s supper.

Miss Mary came down two stairs. She was still in her hand-knitted dressing gown. Her hair was a tangle of red and white. I squared my shoulders. I would have to give this nurse her notice.

“I thought you might want something to eat right away,” I said gaily, as if there was not a withered old woman with a girlish face and wide blue eyes looking down at me from the second floor.

“Oh, lovely,” she said, clasping her fingers that were just bones in thin gloves of fragile white skin.

I unbuttoned my cuffs and turned them back, then went to the bottom of the stairs. The faded floral rug was so thin and rent that it had become dangerous. “Can you come down, now?” I asked. I had to keep a firm tone, as I did at work. I was a police dispatcher. I worked rotating twelve-hour shifts and spent my one weekend off a month with Miss Mary.

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