The power in the barley

Sixteen, now, and Katie was raging. The fire in her cheeks enhanced the natural highlights in her hair, which threatened to burst free from the barley-motif hair grip. Annual trips to The Centre had only served to subdue the pain temporarily. Every year, they’d go back and every year her parents told her it was normal, that it was because she was special and that, in her eighteenth year, the pain would stop for good.

She had accepted that for five years. Now, suddenly, she wondered why her parents were so sure of this. She wondered why none of her girlfriends had the same slight bump that she had (except for Cynthia, but her bump was no longer slight: she’d be giving birth before the summer was out).

That morning, she’d caught sight of her mother’s back-lit profile and seen it.

Her mother had a little bump just like hers.

So here she lay, on Charlotte’s bed, rage pouring through her system, needing to know what they had done to her and certain that her parents were not the right people to ask.

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