Susan M Shuman

Choking back the tears, Celeste was afraid to meet her mother’s hateful gaze. Coloring inside the lines was hard for a five-year-old, but Celeste persisted.

“Can’t you do anything right?” Gretchen slurred. 

Clutching a yellow crayon in a shaking hand, the little girl tried again. Carefully, she shaded in Rapunzel‘s blonde hair. Cheeks red and brow furrowed, Celeste’s awkward fingers were unequal to the tendrils’ intricate outline.

“Cripes,” Gretchen laughed and poured another scotch. “Even Charlie colors better.”

Charlie was the family dog.

Celeste stopped coloring and calmly looked her mother. With a grin, she jabbed her crayon deep into Gretchen’s left eye.

Coloring books and Mommy soon became a distant memory.

Celeste and Charlie lived happily ever after.

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