Child’s Play

Wendy caught Jesse in the garden, snail in his mouth. Its shell splintered like soiled wrapping paper, gleaming wetness sliding forth when she pried his lips apart.

“It’s got to stop,” she told his mother. Last week it was a worm; on Monday a pile of tight-balled slaters. “We thought he’d choke.”

His mother nodded, eyes amused. “I’ll talk to him.”

Next Monday, Jesse stayed away from the garden. His red-nailed fingers dug scars into quieter children, his attack-jumps frightened even Wendy. His mother smiled tightly, leaned in close. “When he’s not a sparrow, he’s a raptor,” she said

Young white boy laughing with mouth wide open and head tilted back. Wearing checked shirt and cap.
Image by Ben White at Unsplash.
Header image by Ellie Storms at Unsplash.

This 100-word story was first published in February at The Drabble.

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