"Mildred," an angry older woman demanded of the young woman across from me, "go to your room this instant and fetch me your brother!"

"I already have him, mother," she answers, innocently. "He was in my room with me."

"Why?"

It seems that everything this mother-figure says is a yell, I guess. But then the meaning of her words hit me:

Brother!?!

"We were playing pretend," the woman answers, child-like. Except that she is not longer the young woman that stole my future children from me, but a little girl, maybe nine or ten, in a dirty dress.

"Well then," the mother -- my mother? -- says, the first quiet words to issue from her mouth. The screaming returns, of course, as she says, "Wash up for, then! Supper is getting cold!"

"Yes, mother," the girl replies.

Mother looks at me, and I see an evil glint in her eyes. She is expecting something, something from me.

But what?

It dawns upon me suddenly, and I echo, "Yes, m-mother."

She gives a quick hmph, then stomps out of the doorway, probably off to the kitchen or something.

Confusion washes over me, replacing the pain that is coursing through my aching body. The girl looks at me, young, innocent, but with old eyes. They are cynical, but sensible. Full of surprises.

Her mouth opens slowly, her voice a bare whisper. Three things might have been said.

The End

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