Carol’s husband left her for a hairdresser just before her daughter went to camp.
“I’m okay,” Carol told May. “I’m fine. Go have fun.”
But when May looked out the bus window, her mother was shaking.
The camp’s rec room has a box of stubby old crayons. May draws animals she sees and sends them home, touched by tears and kisses. These, Carol posts on the fridge.
Every night, the animals scamper down, and for two weeks, they do dishes, bring Carol breakfast, nestle with her on the couch.
They keep all of May’s spots warm until she’s home again.
Author bio: Graham Robert Scott has published science-fiction in Nature, horror in Barrelhouse, and tiny stories in 50-Word Stories and on his Twitter feed (@graythebruce). His personal website, hemicyon.wordpress.com, takes its name from the prehistoric bear-dog, a toothy hunter that couldn’t make up its mind what it was. As a college professor by day and creative writer by night, Graham identifies.
Understudies is part of 101 Fiction issue 23.
From: 101 Fiction