Sheila glanced at the clock, her brow furrowed with worry. She sent Martha out more than an hour ago to get something to eat. It shouldn’t have taken this long. Sheila had painstakingly taught the girl about the best and worst places to go.
In spite of her misgivings, it had been right to send Martha out. The girl was wasting away. She slept constantly. Sheila would come home to find the girl languidly sprawled in bed or on the couch while scrolling through Facebook or Instagram and checking out Snapchat. It was infuriating. Sheila wondered if the girl had lost the use of her legs.
Martha was little more than a child and innocent in the ways of the world. She could have been influenced or hurt by someone. Worst case scenarios scrolled through her mind, horrible images that made her blood race. Sheila paced through the kitchen, her ears attuned for sounds at the door while her mind considered what to do next.
Just the other day, Martha claimed that she was going to become a vegetarian. Sheila almost lost her mind.
“Why in the world would you become a vegetarian?”
“I don’t think it’s right to harm another creature so I can live.”
“Those creatures are there for us to consume. That’s the way it has always been and the way it will always be.”
She should go try and find Martha. The girl was her responsibility. Even more, she cared about her. Although, the thought of caring about someone was foreign. Her life had been built upon independence, fighting for everything she wanted and challenging anyone who dared take anything away. She was fierce, not caring.
And yet, her senses drowned in the tic toc of the clock.
Their arguments often ended with Martha stomping out of the room and slamming the door of her room while Sheila restrained herself. She was ready to tear that door off the hinges and give Martha a thrashing. There were times when, she was ready to let the girl wither away and die. Martha was so frail and weak that it wouldn’t take much. The girl’s eyes were colorless and dry from lack of nutrition.
As she calmed down, Sheila realized that she couldn’t let Martha die. Instead, she lied to her. Sheila knocked on her door.
“What do you want?”
“Your friend Tracy is here to see you”.
Martha was so excited, she barely dressed herself before running out the door. Sheila slammed it shut on Martha’s bewildered expression. Martha cried, begged and pleaded, but Sheila was firm.
“You must go eat. I won’t let you back in until you do.”
After a few muffled sobs and faint pounds on the door, Sheila looked outside to see that the girl had gone.
When Martha finally walked in the door two hours later, there was strength in her step. Her skin looked radiant and fresh and her eyes had changed. They were a healthy red once again.
Sheila hugged Martha and said,
“You’ve completed your first kill. I’m so proud of you. Want to help me get something?”