Al­pha­bet Soup

The Coast - - THE CITY - —Han­nah As­cough

The lit­tle girl hates this new soup. She hates her mother, too, for tak­ing her to this new house—with its dis­eased wind snarling down slanted hall­ways, rats that slink un­der­neath her feet. The lit­tle girl steps on cracks and hopes the blink­ing paint­ings will fall and shat­ter.

But mostly she hates this soup—rusty car­rots and torn onions swim­ming in bloated al­pha­bet pasta. It makes her an­gry.

Good girls don’t cry about soup, her mother had said. Good girls help mommy in the new house in­stead.

The lit­tle girl hates her. She told daddy not to come.

She can hear rain against the win­dow. She swirls the soup with her spoon and won­ders if the trees will reach their fin­gers through the soot-stained gate. She stops stir­ring the pasta let­ters. They keep mov­ing. And the lit­tle girl watches as the let­ters push their way to the top of her bowl, drown­ing the torn onions and rusty car­rots. She can hear her mother clink­ing pots in the kitchen. The let­ters have stopped mov­ing. Don’t look

be­hind you, they say. Don’t look. She hears her mother scream in the kitchen. It’s loud and high and the lit­tle girl hopes it won’t scare the rats.

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