Chapter One

Mia was six years old when she met Jimmy, and thus met Anna. Jimmy was holding her by her hair, face to the ground, and he was saying something, but the sound of blood rushing past her eardrums was making it fuzzy. She thought she was supposed to say something, but whatever she couldn’t make out what it was. Her mouth was full of dirt, so repeating it would have been difficult. She’d never find out what it was.

Jimmy collapsed over top of Mia, and she was sure he was going to sit on her, or something more awful, when he rolled away to dodge a second savage kick. A tiny woman who, at six years old herself, had never truly been a child, was relentlessly driving her delicate foot into sensitive zones of Jimmy’s anatomy. Mia, stunned, watched for several seconds, before the taste of mud and blood brought her back to her senses.

“Stop, stop!” she yelled, spitting detritus, trying to make herself heard.

“Why?” asked Anna.

Mia, her mouth agape, just stared.


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