Nelly’s mother was hunting her…
The child escaped through the back door, having twisted away from her mother’s iron grip. She hopped down the steps and onto the lawn, racing down the steep slope behind their house and into the night. Her feet ripped through a layer of fallen leaves, stirring up their moldy autumn smell.
Her mother’s voice was shrill with forced playfulness; it took Nelly’s breath away, like she’d been splashed with ice-cold water. She ran faster, and the wind picked up, scattering pieces of her Halloween costume: the wig and stuffed raven on her shoulder. This year, she was Edgar Allen Poe.
“Where are you going?” Gillian called sweetly. “Mommy just wants to talk!”
As she neared the bottom of the hill, Nelly yelled back over her shoulder: “You’re not my mommy!”