One of my more sadistic stories.
Miss Mandy pushed open the frail screen door and let it bang against the side of the house, chipping paint and, as intended, catching Dewey's strayed attention. He had been watching a mealworm beetle, small and black, meander its way across his thumb onto a tiny blade of grass, and not listening--and even yet, he barely lifted his head in acknowledgement of her appearance.
She heaved her large dark frame over the doorstep and clip-clopped her way down the three short steps with all the grace and delicacy of a lame elephant, and pulled Dewey up by the scruff of his scrawny neck, as was her habit. "Come inside," Miss Mandy dragged him to his feet, leaving the beetle flailing on its back in the dirt. "Your Mama's a-callin'."
"Aw, but..." Dewey let himself be placed, rather haphazardly, on the edge of the bottem stair, and gave up as he felt his small stomach growling with anticipation. "Aw-right, but you don't gotta make me. I kin go."
Miss Mandy brushed him off with the front of her long white apron and jostled him dissaprovingly with her elbow. "Dirty boy," she sniffed, shoving him ahead of her into the house. "Wash yer hands. Ain't gonna be on my shoulders if that baby gits as filthy as you is."
Dewey remembered his Mama's promise as Mandy had hustled him into the yard that morning, and he stood up a little straighter. "Oh!" he cried, "Oh Miss Mandy, is it a baby, really? A brother? For me, like Mama said?"
She shoved the washcloth at him. "Sister," she muttered shortly, "An' as pink and round as a melon. Ain't never seen one like it, in all my years. You was paler, but this one don't holler half as much as you did. Almost eerie, how silent she is, for a new littlun."
Dewey paid no attention to his nurse's ramblings as he scrubbed his face and hurried into the bedroom where Mama lay, tucked under a large brown quilt. She was holding a little bundle in her arms, and upon closer inspection, Dewey saw that it was indeed the promised baby, with fingers like little carrot seeds, and a yellow cornsilk fuzz sprouting over her smooth head. Mama's hair, dark and thick, was plastered across her pale face, and she looked tired, but also, Dewey thought, almost proud--and he struggled to climb into her lap, failed because it was already taken by the baby and so many pillows, and finally settled for having his back rubbed and letting his Mama's soft voice waft across him like a blanket.
"Your sister, Dewey," she murmured sleepily, holding out the bundle. "Look how beautiful--come see. We'll call her Angel, won't we? And won't you try to guard her like a big brother?"
Smiling to herself, Miss Mandy tiptoed to the bedroom door, shut it gently, and slipped away.