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 Getting Food [britton/linh]

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PostSubject: Getting Food [britton/linh]   Fri Sep 30, 2016 1:17 pm

The door to the old house opened. It was midnight, on the dot, the grandfather clock within the darkness of the house donging. Fingers gripped at the side of the doorway, pushing a body forward, a body which moved like it was sleepwalking. Breathe in. Breathe out. Each breath the body took was hazy like fog, hoarse like a cancer patient. In the crescendo of a muddy inhale, the body spat. Red mixed with spit sludged down the wooden stairs. So did the body.

The body was a man. It wasn't immediately apparent from the long, unkempt blonde hair that fell in his face. His eyes. He might as well not have had no eyes. His bangs split past his eyebrows, tipped with sweat and grease, long drops inching down his chin. His mouth quivered like a plucked guitar string, fast, twitchy, unsure, like he was ready to cry. He shuffled past his yard. The street was empty. Cicadas buzzed in the trees, angry at the end of the season, the death that awaited them.

"Shtttsh..." the man whispered, barely above his breath, voice distant. He bit his lip hard, blood dribbling from the wound he began to create, in which he immediately slurped up. "Shtttuuuuhtt uppppp...."

Food. Wherewasfoodwherewasfoodwherewasfood.

He was so thirsty. His face dripped with sweat, his eyes with tears, snot running down his nose to his lip.

Light buzzed bright at the end of the street. The general store was a beacon, the brightest star in North Dakota. Peoplepeoplepeople. Britton gripped a fence, a parking lot away, watching, waiting for someone to pass. In his hand was a syringe, which he flipped frequently.  He swallowed, swallowed, swallowed, his throat dry and thick with slime.

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PostSubject: Re: Getting Food [britton/linh]   Tue Nov 01, 2016 12:10 pm

”Tại sao em ở ngoài bây giờ?” The silent voice protested, translucent black arms and a sketchy figure floating at her side trying to pull her back to no avail. Its weak strength was nothing to quell an unusually adventurous spirit so late at night. ”Trễ quá rồi.”

A gentle smile was plastered on the small girl’s lips as she happily skipped along, only laughing as her friend kept trying to tell her to turn back, that it was so unsafe at night because it was so dark and that nobody would know what happened to her if she suddenly disappeared. While she was sure that her friend was making a lot of sense, and that her mother would tell her the same, she didn’t feel like listening in the slightest. One of the daycare volunteers had entrusted her with an important task, and she was determined to see it through until the end, no matter what. It made her feel significant enough, that she was chosen out of all of the other children. Maybe some grumbled about the fact that the ‘foreigner’ of all people had been chosen, others irritated that only she could go outside when the warmth of the sun had vanished, and even more picking at her for her blindness. But none of that mattered. The daycare chose her and only her, so she had to do the best she could no matter what.

Before her friend could get an edge on the conversation again, after the slight silence that appeared as they waited for her to answer, she finally responded with an upbeat sort of energy to her voice. ”Linh no tire~” Her English was probably still really awful and way off, but it was definitely going to get better. Everyone was complimenting her on how much she had improved from what she could understand, with a lot of people saying ‘good job!’ or something similar. Just because she was new to the country didn’t mean she had the excuse of holding other people back. She had to keep working hard.

Clutched within her fingers was a list of what she was told were groceries to get from the general store. She didn’t get why the big school couldn’t just share food and beverages with the little children at all, but the ladies kept telling her that it was because the store needed money for them to keep working; it had made her frown when everything about the situation came down to money. If everyone just shared, money wouldn’t be a problem, right? Back in Việt Nam, everyone in her family made sure to split everything equally and even exchanged things with their neighbors so everyone had what they needed at the time. It wasn’t a lot, but they managed just fine. America wasn’t like that at all. Kids would fight and argue with each other to play with the dollies or action figures, or scream and holler to get a turn on the computer or watch videos. They would even do it to get the attention of the supervisors. That wasn’t very nice at all… But America’s a good place! That’s what everyone said at home, and she trusted them without a doubt. So maybe she was just doing something wrong?

This hurt too much to think about. Everything was too confusing for her, and trying to keep up with all of the rambles in English and not in her native tongue were already overloading her head. Linh simply decided that it would be best to wait for the future and that she’d understand it when she got older. How old, she didn’t know, but that didn’t matter because she’d find out eventually. With a defeated sigh, Linh listened to discover the way towards the general store, the number of people a surprising amount for the time of day it was. Were people often up this late around here? Isn’t that not good? Father always said that she had to sleep a lot if she wanted to get tall and be strong. Americans must be really cool if they could be like that without getting enough rest…!

She took a deep breath, pausing outside the general store in the middle of nowhere in particular. Her mind ran over some of the words the daycare ladies had said that she had to get, and carefully sounded them out to the best of her capabilities. ”Mee-lk, ahp-pu, ber-ed, let-us.” Linh turned her head over to her friend, tilting it to the side slightly. ”Con có nói đúng không?”

Her friend didn’t answer, though. They were preoccupied with looking at a peculiar figure hunkering away in the dark, something about that person screaming ‘danger’ with neon led lights. ”Em ơi…”

”Dạ?”

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PostSubject: Re: Getting Food [britton/linh]   Tue Nov 01, 2016 1:44 pm

The man stumbled over the cracks in the sidewalk, towards a small figure. Child, c-child. He knew they were the riskiest of victims, but their blood was the sweetest. He licked his lips. He shoved the syringe up his sleeve. He had to get close. Really, really, really, really close, like a breathe, the wind, the really close a wind got when it brushed the face, pierced the skin, really close. "H-h-herllo..." He waved and brought the hand down with his other. "Y-you came from the convene, store, store, you came from it, y-y-you got change?" He kept moving closer. His mouth was dry. He was so thirsty he could barely contain himself. The man licked his chapped lips. "I need drink, something, thiiirsty, I'm thirsty, but I have got no money."

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PostSubject: Re: Getting Food [britton/linh]   Wed Nov 02, 2016 10:37 am

”Ôi sau em,” her friend hissed, putting up a defensive stature, as though the event would actually affect them in any sense. Even though it didn’t do much for her - everything was always so dark and pitch-black, without a single light in sight -, Linh spun on her heel to face the looming figure above her. It had become almost like a sixth sense, being able to judge how tall someone was just from their proximity around. The new person seemed to be very big, lumbering like a tower over her abysmally petite figure, and her fingers gripped tightly around her backpack straps. They were panting heavily, and if she was certain of it, it was most definitely not raining so the liquid that may have just splattered on her skin had to be saliva. She kept her smile nonetheless, even as the stranger got into much closer proximity, as though their body may have brushed against hers at one point or another.

Linh only blinked as her friend whispered a description of the man into her ears as she listened into what he was asking as well. Practically a skyscraper - just as she predicted -, looked a lot like the poor back in Vietnam, dry and chapped lips, drool, and a wet mop for hair. It was hard to visualize all of that in her head now, but her friend kept insisting that this was dangerous and that she should kick him in the groin and leave. Three problems with that… She didn’t know where that was, it was most definitely not something mommy and daddy would want her to do, and if he was like someone from home, that meant she should help. Besides, the request wasn’t anything super difficult. Except… what did he say?

His speech was so different, all the words melded together, and he repeated a lot of them too. He didn’t sound anything like the other people she had met from around the campus so far. She bit her lip, refraining from an awkward ‘uhm’ to try and keep herself thinking about what to say. Something about a store, change, and thirsty. Those were words she could recognize from hearing them so often. But there were a few different meanings to the word ‘change’. Which one did this man mean? Linh’s brows furrowed in frustration at her lack of understanding; why couldn’t she comprehend everything as easily as everyone else around? It wasn’t like she could carry around a Viet-English dictionary and read it in her spare time, so learning was so difficult. What to do, what to do, what to do…?

Inhaling through her nostrils and exhaling slowly, she decided it would be too rude to not say anything at this point, so she responded, shaking her head, ”Go to store now.” She spoke carefully, making sure to try and enunciate each and every sound properly, to make it as clear as possible. Her fingers reached into her pocket, jingling the coins bundled within the wads of bills entrusted to her by the daycare. Her friend had let out an exasperated sigh, mumbling under their breath, ”Going, em. Không phải ‘go’ đó.”

In her chagrin, Linh hastily corrected herself. ”Linh mean going, no go.” English was too hard. Every word had more than one syllable and there were too many forms of them as well. The grammar and structure of everything didn’t make any sense either. Vietnamese was a lot simpler and easier on the ears. She wasn’t sure whether or not she would ever get used to hearing English all the time, and she had already been living in the country for a few months. Shouldn’t that duration be long enough for her to figure some things out? It wasn’t as bad as not knowing any at all, though.

”Change like buttah-fly, yes?” Was that what he meant? Changing his thirst meant he needed something to drink and because he was like the people back home, he probably didn't have money, so…

Carefully, she took out a few coins of varying sizes and texture - mostly quarters, dimes, and maybe one or two dollar coins - and held them out on her tiny palms in the direction that she thought the man was in. Though she may have been completely off on where he was. ”Here.” There should be enough for the daycare to still be able to get everything they needed, so it would be fine sharing, shouldn’t it?

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PostSubject: Re: Getting Food [britton/linh]   Wed Nov 02, 2016 10:59 am

When she held out her hand, the wide eyed man was too busy looking at her face. She stared forward, like there was someone behind him; he rapidly spun, the gravel etching a sharp sound, fearing a police officer, but it was no one. The street was quiet. He looked back. He knelt down in front of her.

Glassy eyes, eyes glassy like glass, window glass, covered in clouds like a curtain, window curtain over window glass, he waved his hand in front of her eyes expectantly. He hovered over her. As she stood, small palm out, his examination stretched with all the time in the world. She was blind, it meant she couldn't see. Blind girl, little girl, sweet. He withdrew the syringe from up his sleeve. He pressed it into her upturned wrist, sucking out scarlet blood from the vein, grabbing her hand and taking the change aggressively and sloppily. "T-t-t-t-thank you," he stuttered excitedly, shoving the money in his pocket and examining the vial of warm blood. "You have d-d-done me a great favor, blind girl, b-blin--I hope you can see again, see more, see again."

Cautiously, he placed the syringe point to his tongue and began to suck on it. With the slightest press on the release of the needle, blood poured in drops into his mouth. "T-they can do that, right, they can, are they can?" if they could heal the blind, maybe they could heal the death, the dead of death, maybe She would be back and he could do it again and She would be back again and no one would get hurt and everyone would be happy. Medicine was amazing.

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PostSubject: Re: Getting Food [britton/linh]   Wed Nov 02, 2016 11:40 am

When he didn’t quite take the money right away, her the corners of her lips had flipped downward, though not by much. Had she done something wrong or maybe that wasn’t what he wanted? But how could anyone stop being thirsty if they didn’t drink anything? And since he didn’t have any of his own coins, that meant he couldn’t buy anything unless he wanted to find a stream or lake. She didn’t think Americans knew how to drink dirty water safely. They had the luxury of always having a nice, fresh supply for the most part, and there didn’t seem to be many - if any at all - slums around. The world was very big though, and she hadn’t been everywhere yet. If there were people like her friends and neighbors from before her emigration around the land of freedom, then she’ll try her best to share with them too.

Linh shifted the coins again, rubbing them against each other. They were still there, and she wasn’t imagining it. All of a sudden, a stabbing sensation erupted at her wrist, on the arm she had been holding the coins in, and she found herself tensing and wincing. Before she could give any signs of a verbal reaction, the feeling had become nothing more than a hard pinch, like the one her brother had always done to wake her up whenever she was having a bad dream or getting too wrapped around the fingers of her imagination or with the friends she always talked to that nobody else could see. So she bit her lip and held her breath, as though it would help lessen the pain a little. Her friend had told her that it was a needle, and once that had been ejected, she could feel the sticky, warm substance blooming from the area.

She couldn’t let it ruin the coat she was wearing. Mommy saved up a lot of money to buy this for her, so she had to keep it as clean as much as she could. Her fingers pulled out a light hazel handkerchief, plain and modest without any lattices to embellish it, from her other pocket and held her wrist in it from the best she had on where the syringe had been poked into her body. It was almost like a guessing game - that game of hot and cold that she heard kids play sometimes -, and for the fun of it, her friend had switched to English.

”Too cold. Warmer. Cold again. Hot and super close… Right there!” Linh eyed her friend, trying to follow the directions as best as she could, but she was rather disappointed that they seemed to be much better at English than she was. She couldn’t even pronounce the ‘r’s correctly for some reason, even when she didn’t have a lot of trouble with it in Vietnamese.

Her attention snapped back to the strange man, and her face brightened up in a jovial way, and it only grew more intense when she realized he had also taken the ‘change’ as well. It wasn’t what she had been expecting when he had asked for her help, but he was saying thank you. And she figured out what he had been saying properly. Win-win situation, right? Besides, it was rude to question her elders on their intentions. ”Welcome!” But what he said afterward immediately made her heart sink. He was being confusing again with a sort of jargon that made her head throb.

Like before, there were a few words that she could easily catch onto, and ones that she had grown used to hearing because it was what everyone called her at the daycare. Blind. It meant that there were no lights in her eyes because it was always night time for her; the moon was covered by clouds and the stars were hiding from the big bad trying to make them fall from the sky. ”Linh no see but that oh-kei,” she said softly. There was a different world that she could perceive, that no one else would ever know, and most of all… ”’cuz Linh is diff…. Diff… uhm…” That word was too big. How was she supposed to say it again?

”Diff - err - unt.” Her friend repeated that a few times to her, and she gave tiny nods with a small mumble of ‘uhn’ every once in awhile before trying again.

”Dif-fuh-ant?” She couldn’t really think about the possibility of being able to see, the idea seemed very strange to her, but everyone always talked about how blue the sky was or how pretty the flowers were. But what was blue and what did it mean to be pretty? Her inquisitive side wanted to know, but being able to see almost seemed terrifying… It’d be a completely new and unique world to her, and there was already enough change from the small bubble she had to leave already.

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PostSubject: Re: Getting Food [britton/linh]   Wed Nov 02, 2016 1:53 pm

"You are." Britton slurped on the syringe, looking down at the girl peculiarly. Why was he even still there? Perhaps it was because he had blood, he wanted more. He pursed his lips, his eyes wild and hollow. Just one more, just two more. She could be his bank. He laughed breathfully. Yes, he'd take all he could, then let her regenerate, then do the same again. She would be his own convenience store. "You talk like you're not from here," The man continued, scratching his neck, feeling his pulse, gulping down the last pump of the syringe. His voice was clearer than it ever had been, but there was more of a frantic murmur to it. His eyes darted down the street, to a lady walking up her driveway, but she disappeared without noticing them. Britton whispered. "Were you sent here for me?"

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PostSubject: Re: Getting Food [britton/linh]   Wed Nov 02, 2016 5:28 pm

Linh tilted her head to the side, the word baffled practically writing itself across her forehead. Did she say something funny or was he just laughing because he wanted to? His breath mingled with hers, one with an almost strange and foul smell to it - though it was not necessarily that unpleasant -, and she could tell that he had most likely gotten down on his knees or lowered himself in some way to get down to her height. Still, she giggled a little bit herself, whether it be the strange queasiness sending chills down her spine or the fact that laughing in itself was a rather pleasant action and there would be no harm in doing so at that very moment. "Em, mình cần đi bây giờ," her friend gently reminded, pointing on long, slightly transparent appendage in the vicinity of where a lot of noise was still bustling about.

But at the same time, the stranger had said something to her too, and it would be rude to just tell him that she needed to go, especially so soon into the conversation. She remembered being told that she had to wait for an opportune moment before she could leave, and considering the current discussion, that wouldn't be for awhile. That was alright though. With his distinct manner of speaking, maybe she could learn more English from him just by listening; even though he spoke weirdly, it was still much better than what she could manage thus far. Her misty blue-gray eyes blinked as she pondered, taking care to properly translate each of his words into her native tongue in hopes of understanding it better. He seemed to be a bit nervous for some reason, but he was speaking much more clarity than before, and that made it all the easier for her to make sure she was getting everything right.

Patiently waiting until she was sure he had stopped speaking, her mind went over the phrases over and over again, repeating them without end in silence. "Home is in Việt Nam." It disheartened her, thinking about how far away she really was from her family. They had made her get onto a machine that everyone said shot straight into the air and crossed the oceans, the one that roared above in the skies with a power and brilliance that nothing else managed to match thus far. And after that, there was the one that rumbled and dominated the ground, running on wheels as it followed its designated tracks, a toot-toot! ringing into the air every once in awhile. All of it took place so quickly without any warning, and she couldn't understand why. Her cousin had been taking care of her, but then people from America had stormed into their place and took her away. She only listened because her parents wanted her to leave too, but... it was making her feel homesick. She wasn't alone, though. She didn't hate her family for it either. She had her friend, who always stuck by her no matter what ever since they met, and mommy and daddy promised that they would follow her as soon as they could.

"Here is home too." That was what she had to get used to saying, but that didn't seem like too much of a problem. America was always renowned as a great and wonderful place by everyone in the neighborhood, the chance that not every family could get at the moment but the one they all strived to obtain within their grasp. A far away dream, and she had taken the boat and flown into the stars to come here. There was no way she could disappoint everyone back there by being so picky about the littlest of things.

Her hand crushed the cloth tighter around her wrist, the blood having easily clogged up and stopped flowing within moments. The pain had subsided. It was just one shot, like the ones doctors give, so it shouldn't be that bad. The needle wasn't stuck inside either. A sudden wave of exhaustion ran over and hit like a truck, and it was well past her bed-time. She wanted to fall asleep. Stifling a yawn, Linh shook her head again. "School bring Linh here." Was that how the man wanted her to answer? What was the question again...?

"Ôi trời ơi, em." Her friend said, furiously pointing towards the general store once again. "Em cần đi ngủ." Linh frowned. But...

"Mình. Cần. Đi."

For the first time in their history together, Linh chose to ignore their advice and tiredly smiled at the stranger.

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PostSubject: Re: Getting Food [britton/linh]   Thu Nov 03, 2016 5:27 pm

"You're cute." Britton ruffled her hair with one hand, using the other hand to jab her in the neck with the needle, stealing more blood. Whether she knew what he was doing, he didn't care. She didn't seem to do anything, so he didn't care. It was like when he drank Her. He didn't care at all until it was over and she was no more.

"Where are you from, child?" His voice calmed with brief satiation, his tired eyes bearing into her own sightless gaze. He sucked on the syringe, sweet sweet syringe. She was his favorite. Glassy eyed wonder, he'd truly keep her around. "You look Asian. Sound Asian. I know what Asians look and sound like. I once said hi to one. She was a bit aggressive but the paramedics that took her seemed too concerned about her wound to worry about what I had to say on the matter."

The word 'I' fluttered out in a million different whispers, denominations of himself. Me, I, Me, Me, He, Me, I. Every now and again a stray insult interlaced his murmurs. Cunt, bitch, slut. He rubbed his palm with the fingers of his same hand, the skin gliding with a dusty sheek sound.

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PostSubject: Re: Getting Food [britton/linh]   Fri Nov 04, 2016 10:22 am

Her face contorted into a pout, lips quivering as he patted her head, her cheeks puffed up in slight protest. Strands of hair loosened themselves from her clip upon contact, floating loosely in a disheveled manner. Daddy always liked to mess up her hair, commenting on how small and cute she was at the time, and all she could do was tell him that it wasn't true, to which he would laugh. It made her feel much more like a child than she already was; it wasn't like she was that young - her age was almost at double-digits. She'd be ten soon enough. That was something, wasn't it? It had to mean something special since two digits was definitely more than one, and pretty much every adult was double-digits. The only one with three placements tended to be the wise elderly who passed down stories and traditions of the olden days. But she knew that she had a long way's to go before she'd stop being a kid.

Linh winced when something poked into her neck, her fingers coming up to cover a yawn. What time was it again...? She couldn't tell at all, and her friend had decided to give her the silent treatment in return to what she was doing to them. Though she couldn't just stand around and ask the stranger, especially when they were still speaking. Too many long and complicated words that she didn't understand. It was getting too hard to stay awake and try and decipher each and every single little phrase possible. He kind of talked a lot, didn't he? Or maybe it was just then and not before. The way he spoke wasn't as peculiar and intriguing anymore, but it had the same air to it. Was air the right way to describe the feeling to it or was there a different word? She didn't really know at this point.

"Việt Nam is home," she repeated, more softly than before. Anything passed after that made little sense to her, especially something about a pear and medic that she couldn't make sense of. He said a lot of other words too, words that she never heard before, and so, in her bout of exhaustion, her curiosity piqued up, face brightening at the prospect of learning something new. Her mouth opened, as though ready to speak, but she shut it quickly.

Those were phrases he seemed to be whispering in a low tone, so maybe she didn't need to hear it? Should she ask about it? In a moment or so of deliberation, she decided to forget about proper etiquette and satisfy her hunger to learn more. "Ex-kyu Linh, but what is beach?" It was the one word that had latched onto her mind as she listened into his ebb and flow of sentences. Her friend seemed interested too, as though they didn't know much about what he was saying either. Linh moved her handkerchief up to her neck, dabbing the area and collecting the stray red droplets.

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PostSubject: Re: Getting Food [britton/linh]   Sun Nov 06, 2016 7:34 pm

"Beach...sand." Britton looked up like a deer in headlights. From the store walked a man, a sleepily dressed man, a robe over all else he wore, but he was alerted at the sight of a man talking to a little girl, holding something to his mouth. Britton shoved the syringe in his pocket. The man eyed him suspiciously.

"You're my daughter," he mumbled. "Adopted, daughter, adopted, repeat that, daughter adopted daughter adopted daughter..." Each time he said it it became a little bit of a hiss, until the man began to walk over, his footsteps further hushing Britton until the repetition was lost, hidden in a gurgle that fell into his throat. The robed man said nothing at first. He stopped and looked.

"Is this little girl yours," he asked.

"Yeah." the tired vampire's eyes were heavy with the prospect of sleep, the sudden onslaught of fatigue, or rather the sudden noticing of it. His shirt was dirty and sweaty, his moist face glistening with the spit that ran down from his bottom lip. The vampire's fingers twitched but interlaced themselves in the fingers of the girl. "My daughter, she really wanted to go to the convenience store and get some milk, wouldn't sleep without it, she's blind, it's hard, really hard, to sleep like that. Sometimes they don't even know they're awake, right girl, right honey?" He squeezed her hand until it turned white. The robed man turned his attention to the little girl.

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PostSubject: Re: Getting Food [britton/linh]   Sat Nov 12, 2016 5:44 pm

Sand...? That wasn't what she had...

"Oh...!" It was a mispronunciation. That wasn't what she had meant at all. Normally, her friend would sit around and correct her before the other person had a chance to speak, but said friend was giving her the silent treatment, shunning her. Linh only frowned, ducking down sheepishly and nestling into her coat to hide the warmth rising to her ears. What an embarrassing mistake to make; natives wouldn't butcher the words that terribly and even other foreigners would have a clear enough distinction for which word was what, especially that they wouldn't blur the lines between two different terms. Quietly, under her breath, she kept trying to mutter it to herself to see where she had gone wrong, only to have difficulty. What did it sound like again? Hearing it once wasn't enough. Could she ask the stranger to tell her or would that be too rude?

Before she got the chance to decide however, he had spoken to her. Daughter? That was the sort of word people in America used to call their family right? There was a boy who hung out around the daycare a lot, and every time she heard him, he was definitely older than the rest. He was a volunteer, but it was mostly because of his child, someone that he called his son. It was kind of confusing at first, having to figure out the difference between two words that sounded the same. Vietnamese didn't have that - even if they came off as similar, the intonation was always the deciding factor. But sun and son were exactly the same. How would anyone be able to figure out the difference while they were learning? She didn't get it. And Vietnamese certainly had it easier too. Son? Daughter? They sounded too different...

Why American words had to have more than one syllable, she didn't understand. Caught up in her own thoughts, she didn't catch onto what the conversation was saying until the very last few sentences. Someone else had approached too, their footsteps were very loud in the dead of the night. The grasp around her fingers was very tight, stretching her flesh even. Ow... Linh blinked, her head nudging to one side as she bit her lip, suppressing a yawn. This stranger was lying about this, wasn't he?

"Mommy say lying bad," she muttered, her free hand clutching onto her backpack's strap. "Need to buy fo daycare."

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