She opened the envelope and screamed.
It wasn't a scream of happiness. It wasn't a scream of surprise. It wasn't the hoped for money that grandma had promised. It wasn't the test results; they wouldn't come for another week.
It was a finger. In the bottom of the envelope. Dry of blood. Shrivelled and pale and a stub, a nub.
She dropped the envelope and scuttled back into a corner, her fist jammed into her jaw. Her eyes wide, she stared at the finger, as it lolled out of the envelope.
She could smell smoke. It had to be a pinky finger. It couldn't be anything but. She was cold all of a sudden. She could see her breath. It was the middle of summer, how was this possible?
When she was four, she watched her older brother chop off his pinky finger. He was cutting wood for the stove. They lived in the woods, and it was winter and their parents had been gone for days. He was taking care of her, like he always did, when the parents disappeared.
That finger was like a reminder, to what they had to deal with. Who would have sent this? Why would they want to remind her?
It wasn't fair. It was wrong.
And he was in the middle of getting the house warm, and he was mad, because they were gone again.