Author : Grady Hendrix

When new Aunt Sally arrived, David had just one question burning in his brain. He managed to make it all the way through her visit before it came out.

“What happened to old Aunt Sally?” he asked.

“She’s gone on to a wonderful place where it’s always summer vacation,” his mother said. “She’s much happier there.”

Being a normal eight-year-old boy, David knew that this meant that she was dead.

New Aunt Sally was exactly the same as old Aunt Sally. She brought the same presents, she said the same things, she embarrassed him the same way. The only difference was that she didn’t seem to upset his father as much. He and old Aunt Sally were always shouting at each other, but new Aunt Sally and his dad got along just fine. It was like she was the same, only better. Better for his dad, at least.

“Why did new Aunt Sally come?” he asked his mother.

“Because we asked her to,” said his mother.

“But why? What was wrong with old Aunt Sally?”

“Nothing was wrong with her, but new Aunt Sally is so good, don’t you think? Now go do your homework and stop asking so many silly questions. It’s nothing you need to worry about.”

But he did worry about it. He worried about it all the time. Old Aunt Sally had just been plain Aunt Sally, but suddenly one day she became old Aunt Sally and new Aunt Sally took her place. What if one day he was suddenly old David Lighter? Come to think of it, he was already old David Lighter, just nobody had called him that yet.

He lay in bed all night, staring at the ceiling and promising God that from now on he would be very, very good. He would be very, very, very good. He dug his nails into his sweaty palms until they bled and he bit his lip until it tore and he swore that he would be so good that his parents would always want the old him. Always.

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