Is it her imagination or is he really shrinking and putting on weight at the same time? She watches him playing in the narrow lane outside their terraced house. Her house really, because she lives there all by herself now. No, not entirely by herself. There is the dog still, their dog. Getting on in years now, grey patches fighting for territory on the furry long nose.
She measures the boy against the remembered height of her Sean, and he is shorter by about a head and a half. There are no children left in this area except for this one boy, Sandra’s little son who must be the same age now or a bit older even than Sean was when he was taken.
One of the stories her mother had read to her when she was little was about a boy who was captured by a witch. The witch fed the boy goose liver so that he’d be nice and meaty by the day of the annual witches’ convention. She shivers and wonders where and how Sandra is able to resource such special food for her boy. Might be worth holding off for another week or two, if he is really shrinking. Less cutting up needed then to fit the roast into the oven.
“I can’t seem to wake her up, mum!”
Sandra follows him to the dead end of the laneway where the homeless woman lies.
(C) Ash N. Finn, 2012