‘Eight girls died? What happened to the babies?’ Anna hooked a finger into her mouth and began to run it over her teeth. ‘And what do you mean by fairies? You don’t believe in them, do you?’
Her parents turned to look at each other but didn’t say anything, on that subject. They held her hands, so tight that Anna felt the panic rising inside. If they didn’t let go she would be sick all over the table, right onto their warm hands.
‘I’ll make us some tea,’ her father stood up and patted her wrist, shaping his lips into a smile.
‘So what are you saying, that I’ll have to have an operation to stop me getting pregnant?’
Again the looks and no words of explanation.
‘I thought you had a long story to tell me. What else do I have to look forward to?’
‘There won’t be an operation, Anna – if they touch you, you’ll die.’ Her father had turned from where he was sorting the mugs. ‘Actually, they don’t know what to do with you – you’re a conundrum…and they don’t want to admit that you exist.’
‘What do you mean? Am I human?’
‘Honey, of course you’re human; you’re just different.’ Her mother stroked Anna’s hair, tucking it behind an ear.
‘Am I yours?’ Anna asked. ‘Or am I something you found in the woods?’
She watched her parent’s faces as she asked these questions. All the stories she had read about changelings and babies in woods, babies in baskets floating on rivers to a new life. What would her life be?