Little Sister

by Aeryn Rudel

Daddy made Little Sister for my seventh birthday. He made her from part of me that got hurt in the accident. He took little pieces of what I lost—he said it was tiny, tiny things called DNA—and put them into her. He said when Little Sister came out of his lab, she’d be like me, only with legs. She could push my wheelchair, read to me, and help me take a bath. 

Little Sister didn’t come out like Daddy said. She didn’t look like me. She didn’t even look like a person. 

Daddy said Little Sister wasn’t what he promised. He was sad because he wanted her to help me. He said he would put her to sleep and try again. I knew that going to sleep meant she would die, like our dog Buster did when he got old. I told Daddy I wanted to see Little Sister. He said no, but I cried and fell out of my wheelchair. It hurt and he was sorry, so he showed me. 

When Daddy pushed my wheelchair into the lab, I could feel Little Sister in my head, like a thought that wasn’t mine. She was in a clear plastic cage on one of Daddy’s tables with a lid and a lock on top. Lots of people would think Little Sister is gross or scary, but I loved her because she was broken, like me. She looked like a fat worm with skin the same color as mine. Her head had no eyes or ears, just a mouth with sharp teeth inside, but I knew she could hear and see me. 

That first time I saw her, she lifted her head and made a sound. It was like when a kitty meows, but softer and almost like it was my voice. That surprised Daddy, and then he said lots of things about his work that I didn’t understand. He said Little Sister was like a larva—that’s a baby bug—that will never grow up and be what it is supposed to be. He said he wanted to put her to sleep so she wouldn’t hurt anymore. 

I yelled at Daddy that it was bad to kill Little Sister because she was hurt and not perfect. I said that he should kill me, too, then, because I’m not perfect, and I hurt all the time. That made Daddy cry like he cried when Mommy died. I was sad, but I didn’t want him to hurt Little Sister. I said I would take care of her, and he could show me how. He didn’t want to, but he said yes. 

Daddy lets me take care of Little Sister. It’s sometimes hard. Her skin is very soft, and I have to put Vaseline on it so it doesn’t dry out. Daddy said if her skin gets too dry it would hurt her. I have to feed her, too. She eats mice and hamsters, and I used to hate watching her eat because the mice and hamsters cried when she bit them, and she made a mess when she chews them up. 

I can always hear Little Sister thinking in my head, and that means I’m never alone, even when Daddy is working. Her thoughts are only colors or sometimes pictures, but I can feel when she’s hungry or even hear and see what she does. I don’t tell Daddy I can hear Little Sister thinking. I’m scared if he knew, he would take her away. He sometimes says she is too much responsibility and that she would be better off with the people at his work. They could learn things from her, he says. I tell him no, and he listens for now. 

I think Little Sister scares Daddy. She scares me sometimes, too. She figured out how to open her cage and get out. She does bad things at night when I’m sleeping. Last week, she ate my kitty, and I felt her do it in my dreams. I heard and saw my kitty crying when Little Sister bit him. I even tasted him when she swallowed him whole. 

I tell Little Sister she can’t do bad things, but she doesn’t understand. I worry she might get out of our house. I lock my bedroom door at night, and Little Sister can’t open it. She’s not big enough. Daddy says she won’t get bigger, but I’m not sure anymore. There are little nubs on Little Sister’s body now that weren’t there before. They look like little feet or hands. Daddy hasn’t seen them, but I think they’re growing. I think Little Sister is growing too. 

Little Sister had an awful thought today. A thought that scared me so much I don’t know what to do. She saw Mrs. Keller through my bedroom window with her new baby, and I saw in my head Little Sister wanted to eat the baby. 

I got so scared I almost told Daddy. I didn’t because after Little Sister ate my kitty, I have been eating bad things, too. I started with one of Little Sister’s mice. It was furry and its little claws hurt my mouth, but I liked the way it squished and crunched, just the way Little Sister likes it. I asked Daddy for a new kitty, and he bought me one. I named her Tinkerbell, and Little Sister and I shared her. She tasted so good. 

I can’t tell Daddy what Little Sister thought about the baby, not just because I ate a mouse and a kitty. Not just because he might take her away. I can’t tell him because I had the same thought, and I was so hungry.

Aeryn Rudel is a freelance writer from Seattle, Washington. His second novel, Aftershock, was recently published by Privateer Press, and he occasionally offers dubious advice on the subjects of writing and rejection (mostly rejection) on his blog at www.rejectomancy.com.
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