Chapter 2: Maddie
Maddie sits in the corner with her back to the wall. She can think herself small as a kitten, small as a mouse. Just hold very still, so no one will see her. So no one will speak to her. That’s the worst, the speaking. They come at her with words she can’t answer, and her silence makes them spill out more words, filling the space around her so that she can hardly breathe. Sometime the words are as soft as pillows, placed at her feet like promises. Other times the words fly at her like darts, stinging her with their angry impatience. But it makes no difference. She can’t answer any of them. Don’t let the words find her. Just stay small. Just stay still.