I offer the following: A Hair for a Hair
Patience slipped out of her bed once she heard Bertha’s soft, wheezing snore, indicative of her deep slumber. She wrapped her dressing gown about her to fend off the chill as her feet located her house-shoes by feel. For a long moment, she pondered the consequences. Could she risk her mother’s ineffectual pleas to let her daughter be, that sibling rivalry was healthy and natural as her father reached for the switch? She sucked in an icy blast of air to steady her nerves and reached for the hammer and nails she had concealed behind the nightstand.
She crept across the small space, afraid to make a sound. While Bertha had always slept like the dead, her youngest sister Charity woke at the subtlest of disturbances. She froze at each squeaky floorboard, holding her breath. Once sure the danger was passed, she moved into position, hovering over Bertha’s head. Her long plait of molasses brown hair draped conveniently over her pillow, begging to be nailed to the headboard. A hair for a hair, she thought righteously. Gently, she pushed a nail through the braid and positioned it against the headboard, wondering how to muffle the sound of the hammer.
Charity’s sleepy whisper made her jump, “Patience, don’t.”
Her need for vengeance still boiling within her blood, she hissed, “She deserves it after that stunt in school.”
Charity sat up, “She’s jealous you know. You have the perfect flaxen hair, and spiral curls keep without fuss. She feels plain next to you.”
“She dipped my hair in the inkwell,” she answered, not ready to let her anger go.
“And she got the switch for it after the dunce cap in class. Surely that’s humiliating enough,” she pleaded.
Her hand, poised to strike, trembled from the weight of the hammer.