The Tale End
He lies on his tummy near her feet, glancing at her occasionally with those big eyes that reminded her of a deer's. He sees her through the mop of unbrushed blond curls that hang around his face.
He is only little, 'knee-high-to-a-grasshopper', some would say. He still fits comfortably on her lap - when she lets him.
Sometimes he likes being little; he can be invisible when it suits him. But other times he wishes he was bigger, then maybe she would notice him more.
She sits on the threadbare couch, storing at the television.
A cigarette burns between her fingers, long ash tilting to one side - away from the ashtray that balances on her knee. She is not tidy. Her dress has buttons undone, revealing the straps underneath. Her face is colourless. Her hair hangs limp, her eyes do not see.
She is unhappy, he thinks, since the Other One went away.
He can't remember the Other One going, but he has not come back, and that makes her sad.
The ash falls from her cigarette, breaks up and floats in a little scattering down to the floor. Her fingers will burn soon.
He wonders why she is sad at the Other One leaving. He never liked the Other One - the one that never saw him, the one that had yelled at her and hurt her. He tried to stop that once, but he was yelled at and kicked, so after that he hid.
Yes, he is glad the Other One has not come back. She would never hit him. She loves him.
She stabs the cigarette into the ashtray and stands up. The heavy glass bowl falls toward him, scattering its foul contents across the thin, stained carpet. He dodges and jumps to his feet.
She stomps into the bedroom, dress floating out behind her. He follows, and stands in the doorway, wondering at her deliberacy.
She crosses to the wardrobe, its door open, exposing the hanging and fallen garments within. She reaches up into the top shelf and brings out a small box. She does not see him as she sits on the bed, propping pillows behind her back and kicking the tangled sheets further down with her bare feet.
He watches her open the box. He sees the thing she takes out; the thing the Other One had used.
The Other One would hold it in his hand and point it at a cat. It would make a sound like thunder, and the cat's head would disappear. He was scared of the thing. The Other One had pointed it at him one day. He had run away, and heard laughter behind him.
She pulls the thing apart, looks inside, then clicks it back together. She takes a deep, shuddering breath. He thinks she is sadder than she has ever been.
She points the thing at her head.
He whimpers in the doorway. He does not want to see her head disappear.
She looks at him, the thing stiff pointed at her skull. He scampers across the broken lino and pulls himself onto the bed.
He sits and looks at her. He touches her arm and her eyes start dripping water. She reaches out for him, and he throws himself at her, tasting the salt water on her cheeks, shaggy, blond tail wagging with relief.
~ (name removed)