The Special Child
She looked out the window, watching the other children playing in the sunshine. Longing to join them in their games, but knowing she never would. She wasn’t allowed outside. She wasn’t allowed out of her room. She was the Special Child, and that meant never leaving.
She knew she was the Special Child. She’d been told it so many times she’d lost count. They reminded her at every meal. They reminded her how special she was and persuaded her to eat just one more mouthful of whatever horrific concoction they had developed.
Sometimes the food burnt her mouth as she ate it, feeling the burn of acid rather than heat, blistering her tongue and mouth and searing its way into her stomach. Sometimes the food made her sick, made her throw up everything she’d eaten until she felt wrung out inside. Sometimes the food made her so ill she would curl up on the floor, crying with the pain and wishing for everything to stop.
She recovered every time, so far at least, and as soon as she was well the adults would return with something else for her to eat. She didn’t dare refuse. She was young and they were adults. She had to do as she was told. She had to please them.
Not that they were pleased. Even when she ate and became ill they would be unhappy. Sometimes they got angry, shouting at her as if it was all her fault. Maybe it was. She was the Special Child after all. She should be able to do as they asked. Was it so difficult to eat and not fall ill?
She saw the other children eating sometimes. The things they ate were nothing like the food she received. The children tucked into it enthusiastically. They ate it all and asked for more. Sometimes she wondered why the adults didn’t give her the same food as the other children. Then she wouldn’t be ill after eating. Then she could make the adults happy. And maybe then she could go and play with the other children.
But, of course, they didn’t. She was the Special Child, and the Special Child didn’t eat normal food.
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