Young Family (Chapter 3, page 2 of 5)

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Chapter 3

Today she didn't find much comfort in visiting the animals. The horses tossed their heads when she tried to pet them, as if they didn't recognize her. The cows similarly shied away from her. Sarah, the first calf she had delivered, lowed at her but wouldn't come close. "What's wrong, girl? It's me. It's Samantha."

Sarah only lowed at her again. She glanced down at her feet. Then she knew why the animals shied from her: they didn't recognize her anymore. She had changed so much they thought she was a stranger. "It's not fair," she muttered.

When she had first come to the island she had been an outcast. Her bronze skin had marked her as different from everyone else. Since Reverend Crane and Pryde had died, she had thought she was making progress. That had been an illusion. Now that she was more different than ever from them, they laughed at her all over again.

She watched one of Sarah's calves nuzzle her and had to bite down on her lip to keep from crying. She imagined herself as the calf, nuzzling against her mother once they were reunited. If only she could leave this place, then they could be together again. As she often did, she tried to imagine what her parents looked like. She always pictured her mother as tall and strong, with bronze skin and glossy black hair like her. Her father she always thought of as a little shorter and heavier, his dark hair receding. Sometimes she imagined brothers and sisters, a whole gaggle of them, some older and some younger.

Samantha caught her reflection in a bucket of water and frowned. Would they even recognize her? Not only from the changes in her body, but when she had washed up on Eternity she had been about ten years old. By all rights she should be fifteen or perhaps sixteen by now. How would she explain being only twelve? Maybe she wouldn't have to; maybe they would be so happy to see her it wouldn't matter.

"Would not!" she heard Wendell shout.

"Would too," David growled. "I have a better chance than you, Wendy."

"Don't call me that!"

"What are you going to do about it? You going to tell her like a little baby?"

"I'm not scared of you."

When Samantha heard them grunting and growling like a pair of dogs fighting over a bone, she hurried out of the barn. As expected, she found David and Wendell wrestling on the ground. "What is going on here?" she shouted. "David, I told you earlier to stop this."

"He started it." David stood up, kicking dust at Wendell.

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