Anne looked at them. Frozen. Flailing. Fragile. Her heart raced with the same adrenaline she got the infinitesimal moment before she died and when she was reborn. Her brain latched on that moment as if it knew something was amiss and tried to protect her psyche. More than one super had suggested that that bit of consciousness; that moment of understanding; was what made Anne who she was. They bandied about words like insane, and crazy, but they couldn’t possibly understand that singular moment in time. It was as if she could understand the nature of life itself.
Bree wasn’t letting any of the bystanders go anywhere. Their eyes were wide and they could only stand and watch the horror show. They were the testament to Bree’s power.
Anne escaped the paralyzed circle and stood in the middle of it surveying the scene.
A little boy had his hand wrapped around one of Bree’s carefully braided ponytails seemingly trying to yank it down. Bree insisted that Anne painstakingly style her hair before they left Globe’s compound. Anne wanted to be away from Globe as soon as she could, but Bree insisted. The boy’s left foot was set firmly in the gravel, and his right leg was bent at the knee just at the moment as he was running past Bree with his innocent childish prank in mind.
Anne knelt at a safe distance as the respect of the little girl slammed her bravado to nothing yet again as it always did when Bree was angry, or Bree was upset, or Bree didn’t like something. Anne cursed at herself for dismissing any of Bree’s wishes. She spoke softly but knew that in a moment she would have to listen and obey. If only she could appeal to the child’s humanity before it was too late.
“Bree, honey, what happened?”
“He tried to take kitty from me. No one treats Puss like that.”
Bree’s eyes darted to somewhere behind Anne. Anne turned to see the stuffed kitten lying on its side, dirtier than it had ever been. It was a pitiful sight ready to upset any child. But Bree was no ordinary child. Anne shivered as she remembered the flock of birds writhing on the ground at the cabin in the woods – their eyes burned away; beaks open in a wordless chorus.
“I’m sure he didn’t mean to hurt Puss, Bree. How about you let him go, and we can take care of kitty together.”
Bree shook her head in defiance. She reached with her thin arm and peeled the boy’s fingers from her hair freeing her disheveled ponytail. The boy’s fingers bent like they were made from clay. His face was heavily distorted. His existence was being questioned by Bree’s power: his past, present and future visible in painful grimaces. They were colliding to grind his bones to dust. Anne hadn’t witnessed anything like this before, but then again she wasn’t really familiar with the girl’s power to begin with. She tread carefully when dealing directly with Princess Bree. This seemed like a whole new level, or maybe it was just an outraged little girl.