Emeline is exposed.
She’s not like other babies. Other babies have homes. Emeline has a rosebush and a hill.
She is supposed to die.
She doesn’t die.
Emeline eats the thorns of the rosebush. She drinks Bambi’s mother’s blood. She survives.
She grows crooked and strong.
Soon the babies in the village begin to vanish. They will be laying in their cribs. Suddenly there is music. That music. The music from Jaws.
Ca-who! chortles the baby happily. Babies love sharks.
But it’s not a shark.
First Carol’s baby vanishes.
Everybody tells Carol she’s crazy, with her stories of Emeline and whatnot. Some people blame her.
Then Maude’s baby vanishes.
People begin to mutter.
Finally Susan and John’s baby, who would have been the star of a whole different fairy tale had things gone differently, disappears.
There’s a black thorn left behind in the crib, and the smell of burp, and lingering music in the air.
Seven men set out from the village with knives and torches. They hunt down Emeline. She doesn’t fight them very hard. All she wants is a home.
They catch her.
They tie her up in satin swaddling.
They talk about whether to kill her, but there’s nobody really up for the job.
So they throw her in an oubliette and somebody watches her day and night.
She lives there in the dark.
Sometimes Maude comes and brings her a present. A flower. A stuffed toy. A blanket.
“Hey,” says Maude.
She drops it down.
“Brought you something,” says Maude.
It hurts her, but it’s worth it.
Emeline looks up. Emeline smiles. It’s like the sun.