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It sneaked up like a snake in the grass, that peaceful silence that can only mean no good when there’s a toddler in the house.

Molly had just sat down to pay some bills, and the next thing she knew, her eyelids were growing heavy. Then reality hit her like a wet diaper across the face — what was Trevor up to?

She sprang to her feet.

“Trevor, where are you?” She stomped into the dining room, where she had left her three-year-old playing with blocks. He wasn’t there.

Panicked, Molly fairly screamed. “Trevor, Trevor! Answer me!!”

She was already halfway down the hall before she heard the boy’s singsong voice gibbering about puppies and flowers and toys.

Relief gave way to mild crossness as she prepared to scold her son for not telling her where he was going.

“Trevor, didn’t I tell you to stay in the –“

Molly stopped short in the doorway to the boy’s bedroom, inhaling in sharp surprise.

Little jars of finger paints were strewn all over the carpet, and Trevor was smearing his colorful digits over the back wall.

“Hi, Mommy,” Trevor said, as he turned his head to look at Molly. His eyes grew wide, and worry crunched his sweet face. “What’s wrong, Mommy?”

“I can’t believe you did that, Trevor!” Molly barged into the room, but every step gobbled up the remnants of the boy’s bright mood.

Molly halted in front of her son, gritted her teeth, and cast her eyes to the messy mural.

“I can’t believe you could paint such a beautiful flower,” Molly said, voice softer now.

Trevor smiled timidly.

“You really like it, Mommy?”

“It’s amazing, Trevor!”

The grin spread out to cover his face. “I think I’ll be an artist!”

“I think you already are, honey.”

Published inFlash Fiction

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