They Grow Up So Fast

Wicker

She found the baby in a wicker basket on the porch, no sign of who had rung the bell, no note to give a name. She raised it as her own, named it for her grandfather and kept its horns filed flat to its head. She gave it a strict bed time, read to it every night and hand sewed trousers to allow for its forked tail. She bought it mints for its brimstone breath and sent it to piano lessons on Sunday mornings. She gave it an alibi when the church burned down. She asked no questions when the deaths began, when the cloud of flies engulfed the house, when the sun failed to rise for the third consecutive day, simply reminded it that school would be open regardless. She never raised a hand to it, but then it never uttered a profanity. She wept for days when it announced it would be leaving. She packed it a week’s worth of its favourite sandwiches and waved it off from the porch. She closed the door and thought back to that fateful night before the screams, before the rivers ran red, before the mutilated animals. She thanked God the basket had been placed on her doorstep. She thought, Imagine if it had been next door, Mrs. Frampton’s boys are right tearaways.

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