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Estimated reading time — 3 minutes


“Childer” by Aislinn Clarke


An introverted mother’s worst fears are amplified when she is seemingly stalked by the feral children living in the woods surrounding her home.

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Where do Childer come from?
Children come from the cabbage patch at the bottom of the garden.
Get away from here.
You don’t own the forest Mrs.
Go home!
We are home.
Can I go outside to play?
But I have to collect millipedes for school tomorrow, you said I can have them in the house.
Okay, but stay beside the house and don’t go near those children.
There’s strange children in the forest. Don’t go near them. They’re dirty.
Wee delivery here for you.
And if you could sign for it please.
It’s a good one this month.
You know, we’ve a little book group that meets in the library.
Third Tuesday each month. And we discuss that month’s book.
We’ve wine, biscuits.
I don’t drink wine.
Or coffee, if you prefer.
We call it “Bodies in the Library.”
Caffeine gives me migraines.
Thank you. I have to go.
Alright chief!
Mrs. Gray says there’s a baby in her tummy.
So we’re gonna have to get a new teacher.
Don’t make a mess.
But how did a baby get into her tummy?
Be careful. That’s messy!
Does the mommy, eat them?
Don’t be silly.
It was Ira that told me one time “ew, it would be all blood and guts in there.”
I told you to be careful.
That’s disgusting. Don’t be disgusting.
I’m sorry mommy. I’m sorry.
It’s not your fault. I’m sorry.
Get away!
Stay away from us.
Stay away.
Look, I lost a tooth.
I’m afraid young Mark has been to wars with that tennis ball.
But he’s okay now, aren’t you son?
There’s blood all over the floor.
Mr. Cooper, our teacher is having a baby.
So you can be our teacher. It’s better than being a postman, because you can do painting every day.
I’m sorry. I just –
Your letters are on the table.
Bye now son.
Bye now.
It’s nearly Novemeber. Why aren’t they dead yet?
I’m sick of picking up leaves.
Can I dress up for Halloween?
Halloween is dangerous.
But all the other childer… children are.
What children?
At school. We’re having a dress up day.
I can make a ghost.
We’ve lot of white sheets.
But I don’t want to be a ghost.
I want to be a fireman or a superhero, or a knight or soldier, or at least a dinosaur.
Ghosts are for girls.
Ghosts are not for girls. Ghosts are for everyone.
Fine. I’ll be a ghost.
If you kiss him, he’ll be a prince.
Our sister kissed a frog once, but she’s dead now.
Get away from here, this instant.
What is that?
It’s my turn to mind the school frog. I have to keep him for the Halloween holidays.
No. Get him out of here.
But we have to take care of him, he’ll die.
No, I’m not having it in the house.
Outside. You can keep him outside in the yard, not in the house.
I don’t like it.
Don’t be rude.
I went through a lot of trouble to make that for you.
I don’t want to be lovely, I want to be scary.
It is scary. Very scary.
It’s basically a dress.
I wanted to be a spaceman.
I thought you said you wanted to be scary?
Did you clean out that frog’s tank?
No you didn’t.
Yes I did.
You said you would take care of it.
I am!
Okay, you can go and play.
Don’t get dirty.
Come up stairs this instant and get washed. You are filthy.
Did I not tell you to play with those children?
Didn’t I tell you?
Didn’t I tell you to not play with those children?
Mommy. Mommy.
I told you to not play with those children.

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