by Amanda C. Davis
Amanda C. Davis writes short stories and poetry in the genres of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Shock Totem, Crossed Genres, IGMS, Cemetery Dance, and others. She works in the combustion industry by day and spends her nights baking, live-Tweeting horror movies, and embarking on the occasional harebrained scheme (with varying results, but at least her failures make entertaining blog posts). Learn more at her website: http://www.amandacdavis.com.
Amber was hunched on the playground swing, watching Michael chalk meticulous, artless nonsense on the blacktop, when a woman came up to watch. Amber eyed her warily. Her brother couldn’t tell bad strangers from good ones, so it was up to her.
“Those are really something,” said the woman. She looked like a mom in a movie, so fancy she didn’t seem real.
“Thanks,” said Amber. It was easier than coaching Michael to say it.
“Just think how smart he’d be if he were normal.”
She wasn’t the first to say that, and Amber hated it every time. What if “normal” Michael was less kind or less thoughtful? What if “normal” Michael was less meticulous, or loved his family less?
“Yeah,” said Amber. It was easier than correcting an adult.
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