art by Tim Stewart
by Katie H Camp
"I'm afraid there's something wrong with your daughter, Your Lordship," the physician said.
The lord's chair squeaked as he shifted. He cleared his throat and ground his teeth together. He didn't ask the obvious. He didn't say anything at all.
"We were afraid of this," the lady said, her voice soft and breathless in the echoing hall. "She's too fast. She goes places we can't. She eludes us when she wants to. She laughs at things we can't understand. She knows things we don't. She is..." the woman's voice faltered. "Special."
"She is different," the physician agreed. He was examining the child's throat with probing, careful fingers.
"I'm worried about her," the lady said. Her velvet slipper made a faint tapping against the floor as she spoke. "She isn't like other children. She doesn't play well with them. She takes their toys without them realizing. She mocks them and laughs when they try to get them back. She is quick and sly. I worry, sir. I worry about her when she grows up. Will she develop a reputation? Will she discourage marriageable partners with her behavior? She's our only child. She will inherit our fortune. She will continue our family line."
"Will it worsen, do you think?" The lord asked. It was the first time he'd spoken since the physician had begun his examination.