Limp

Episode I – Prologue

It was a boxy kitchen with near-new furnishings…microwave, chairs, dishes, pots and pans. A mother was studying her four-year-old son. They were a marked contrast….the boy was thin and unkempt in second-hand clothes, while the mother was expensively dressed in white jeans and a tight sweater that accentuated her sleek figure.

“Your left leg’s definitely shorter than your right,” she said, “That’s why you limp.”

His young brow furrowed. “I limp?”

“Of course you do, baby. You walk like this,” and she walked around the kitchen imitating him.

The boy watched, then stared at his offending feet. “I do, really?”

“Yes, really,” she said with a laugh. “You knew, didn’t you?”

“No,” he said emphatically, then lifted a leg. “Is it this one?”

“No, the other. Uncle Edgar has a short leg too, but it’s ten times worse.”

“He looks scary? Do I look that way?”

“No, honey. Not at all. Momma took some wonder drug before Edgar was born and it messed him up terribly. There’s hardly a part of him that isn’t affected. You’re not the same at all…I don’t think drugs carry from one generation to another.”

“Oh,” the boy said solemnly. “Was he born like that?”

“Yes. The doctors saw it right away.”

“Can it still happen…to me?”

“No, honey,” the mother said, “and except for that leg, you’re fine looking….everybody has issues. It’s just the way life is. Like me. I have a birthmark on my thigh, and when I was a girl, I was embarrassed to wear a bathing suit, but I did anyway, and boys just swarmed around.”

“Was it ugly?”

“Heavens no, but I thought it was….then everybody told me it looked like a butterfly and I liked it…a pretty birth tattoo.”

“I have two tiny dots that look like stars.”

“Those are nothing, sweetheart, like your leg…but you know what? I’m going to the shoemaker tomorrow to have all your left shoes built up. Then you’ll be balanced like everybody else.”

“Then everything’ll be fine. Right, mommy?”

“Sure. You’ll forget all about it. Listen, mommy’s got a date tonight. You don’t mind staying with Stacie, do you? She’s right next door and, before you know it, I’ll sweep you up in my arms and carry you to your own comfy bed.”

“Are you sure you’ll come home tonight?”

“Of course, honey bun.”

“You didn’t last time.”

“Mommy, just had a flat, baby. That happens to everybody.” She gathered him in her arms. “You’re my trooper, right? My big, brave trooper.”

“I guess so, mommy. I really wanna be.”

Next Time: What is the little boy’s future? Who will he turn out to be? And is his mother hiding any dark secrets? Read episode 2