Nilla hummed contentedly to herself while she scrubbed at the pots in a large sink and watched her young daughter play in the tiny garden at the back of their one storey house. She could hear Aggie chattering to herself but couldn’t see what she was doing, not that she had anything to worry about anymore; four years had passed since her husband had been taken and the stigma around her had finally settled. She smiled at Aggie, who looked so much like the father she would never know; the curly, jet black hair and bright green eyes could only have come from Charlie. Nilla pushed her own pale brown strands behind her ear and continued scrubbing.
Aggie sat facing away from her house pushing damp, clay rich soil into piles in front of her, “This will make things better,” she said to herself. She patted the first mound into a horizontally oval shape and grinned as she added several small spheres of soil to the oval’s base. Aggie glanced over her shoulder towards the kitchen window and grinned at her mother who watched her from the sink. “Mama will like it,” she concluded as she patted another, larger sphere of damp soil onto the oval one.
She could hear her mother humming, she loved hearing her mother sing; her voice was cool and calming and always managed to send Aggie to sleep, no matter how bad her dreams were. She added more water to the soil and started rolling two pieces into lengths, which she then flattened and began to shape, these were eventually added vertically to the sphere on top of the oval. Aggie sat back and stared at her creation frowning, it didn’t look quite right; then she giggled to herself and picked up a final clump of clay rich soil, moulding it into a small ball between her hands and added it to one end of the oval piece. Then she poked at the large sphere producing two dents in the surface, she smiled feeling satisfied and wished her little rabbit could be real. She took a deep breath and let out a happy sigh; thin tendrils of pale yellow mist began to swirl in the air.
“Finished mama!” she shouted over her shoulder to her mother who smiled at her and left the window.
Nilla emerged from the door, an apron over her loose beige shirt and wide legged trousers, “What is it?” she asked drying her hands on the apron.
Her daughter got clumsily to her feet, “I made you something,” Aggie said running towards her mother. “Look.” Nilla followed her daughter’s dark, outstretched hand and gasped, throwing her hands over her mouth. A small, deformed brown-red rabbit was hopping clumsily around their small garden. Aggie squealed in excitement and began chasing the small creature while the colour drained from Nilla’s face as she felt a cold dread sweep over her.
“Aggie, where did you get that?” she asked quietly, crouching by her daughter as she petted the crudely made rabbit.
“I made it for you,” she said grinning, Nilla started to check over her daughter, much to Aggie’s annoyance and finally found the grubby graze on her right knee. She collapsed to the ground and Aggie looked confused.
“What’s wrong mama?” she asked climbing onto her mother’s lap, the rabbit now forgotten.
“Aggie you have to promise me something, this is very important,” Nilla said as her daughter stared up at her with wide eyes. “You must never do this again.” She spoke softly, trying hard not to sound angry or scare her daughter, trying desperately not to let the fear she felt leak out and infect her daughter.
“Did I do something wrong?” Aggie asked, her lower lip trembling.
“Of course not,” Nilla said hugging her daughter tightly. “But there are some people who won’t like what you can do and they might try to take you away from me,” she heard Aggie begin to cry and she tried hard to hold back her own tears. “Please Aggie, promise me you’ll try not to make anything ever again.” Her daughter nodded a tear stained face and Nilla got to her feet, her daughter still in her arms. She took Aggie inside, then returned to the garden to dispose of the rabbit.