I like the outside. The wind. The trees. The colors. I like it all. I spend my day outside playing. I run up the hill then roll down. Even if grass gets stuck in my hair and my dress has green spots, I still roll. Even when mom gets mad at me for it, I roll.
After that, I run to the trees. Then, I use my fingers to whistle. That is our signal. The birds always come first. They flutter in and sit on my shoulder. Then come the insects. They climb the branches beside me. Lastly, the furred animals. All of them have different spots near me. The stray dogs usually cuddle beside me. The stray cats climb in my lap. The foxes and bunnies sit behind me. There are more, but those are the ones that have been with me the longest. Since the beginning.
The beginning starts after the yelling, when I ran to the hills. There, I met all of them. We can't talk to each other, but we understand. They help me forget the loud words from home. I love them. I nap all day with them.
Soon, the sun sets and I say goodbye to everyone. I go back home. I creak the door open and walk near the walls where creaks are least likely. I sneak into my room and snuggle into my sheet. I pretend to be asleep until I can hear silence. Then, I get up and start my night.
I tackle my room first. The corners are always filled with cobwebs when I come home. I get my staff and tie an off-white cloth to the end and reach toward a corner. I swirl the staff until it gathers all of the cobwebs. I then dump all of the webs in the center of my room.
Rinse and repeat.
Then I sweep and bury all the stuff outside. Maybe it works as fertilizer?
Next, I wash my sheet and dress and leave it out to dry in the violent night winds.
I admire my room. It still looks sad.
I move on to the other rooms.
The living room.
The dining room.
Mom's room is off limits. She is sleeping.
After that, I retrieve my laundry and snuggle back into my single cover. The sun rises.
I pretend to sleep until I hear my mom knocking on my door.
"Hanako. I am hungry." Her voice is tired and demanding.
"Yes mommy. I'll make breakfast." I comply.
I fold my sheet and place it in a corner and put my dress back on. Then I walked into the kitchen. I make breakfast for two. Eggs and muffins with a side of bitter coffee for mom. Milk for me. I set the table and and wait for her to start eating. Once she does, I do.
After I clean up, I ask to go play outside. She says yes. She always says yes. If only to get me away from the man. I think he is my father. We have the same hair and skin.
I walk out the back door. I hear a door being opened. I hear yelling.
I run for the hills.