That day, twelve Flynn cousins hung from the rope swing, whooping and hollering until our parents came out to ask us “just what do you all think you are doing?!” I didn’t know the word for it then, but today I do. We were bonding.
I change into my nightshirt and breeches, and lay on my threadbare rug, letting the cold, December air fill my room. The ashes at the end of the cig burn my fingers, so I toss it outside. Watch as it melts a hole in the snow.
“Santa is sorry, pet. He had an off day.” Lilith poked Madlyn’s nose. “Your Christmas will have everything you’ve ever asked for. Promise.”