Betty sat on her hand-woven rug in the middle of her enormous room, surrounded by her collection of toys strewn on the ground. Her space was occupied with a metal canopy bed, a wooden wardrobe, a wide toy box, and a freestanding mirror so that she may view herself in her countless outfits. At the age of seven, Betty is considered the wealthiest child on the block. The other children look at her with disdain, yet she doesn’t care as long as she got what she desired. She was playing with her doll when its head flopped off. Betty’s lips trembled; she wailed loud enough for her mother to come charging into her room.
“Betty, what is the matter?” Mrs. Fillmore said, her long skirt swooshing behind her. She was in the middle of pinning her long brown hair into a bun.
“My doll’s head came off!” Betty said.
“Oh, for heavens sakes! I thought something had happened.” Mrs. Fillmore said.
“But mother, you need to fix it!” Betty wailed, tears streamed down her cheeks.
“Stop crying! It’s nothing to cry about. We’ll buy you another.” Mrs. Fillmore said as she headed back out.
“Mother!” Betty said as she threw the body of the doll against the wall.
There were footsteps again, and Betty peered at the door expecting her mother. Instead, it was the nanny who appeared. She wore her white pressed uniform, her hands clasped in front of her. The hat made her dark skin stand out in contrast.
“Oh, what do you want?” Betty said, crossing her arms.
“I came to see if you needed anything, Miss Betty.”
“Can you fix my doll?” Betty said as she pointed to where it lay crumbled.
“I will do my best, Miss Betty.” The nanny said as she bent down to pick up the doll. “You know, Miss Betty, it is not good to cry all the time.”
“Because your eyes will fall out of your pretty face.”
“That is ridiculous! That has never happened.” Betty said, and she stood up, brushing the dust off her knee-length dress.
“It has. Do you remember Timothy from down the street?” The nanny said.
“Timmy moved away.”
“Why do you think he did?”
“It can’t be because of his eyes falling out,” Betty said, peering at the nanny.
“Don’t you remember there was an ambulance in front of the house not too long before they moved?” The nanny said as she stood at the doorway.
Betty’s eyes widen, and she clutched at her dress. The nanny sauntered out with the doll in her hand.
“I don’t believe it. She’s just trying to make me scared.” Betty hissed under her breathe and stomped her feet.
Around midday, Mrs. Fillmore and Betty were sharing lunch on the outdoor patio of finger sandwiches and tea. Betty snatched a few at a time and munched on them. Her chin was smeared with cream.
“Betty! That is not how a lady eats! Wipe that off!” Mrs. Fillmore said; she adjusted her wide brim hat to view Betty.
Betty wiped her face forcefully and dropped the napkin down. The butler came and scooped it off the ground.
“Your father and I are going to have to discuss sending you to boarding school to improve your behavior.” Mrs. Fillmore said.
“No, mother! You can’t be serious!” Betty said.
“When your father returns from the office, I will bring it up. It’s time that you get brought up as a graceful lady.”
“This is exactly what I am talking about.”
“No, No! I’m not going!”
“If you don’t stop crying, you will be sent to your room.” Mrs. Fillmore said as she dropped the teacup onto the saucer causing it to spill.
There was movement nearby, and Betty peered through her tears at the nanny. She stared at her, with her hands clasped. Betty hiccupped; she glared at her and sobbed loudly. The nanny approached the table.
“Perhaps, Miss Betty would like to take a walk.” The nanny suggested.
“You’re such a dear, Eugenia, but I would prefer if Betty went to her room.” Mrs. Fillmore’s smile left as she addressed Betty. “Now.”
Betty shoved her seat back and scampered back up the stairwell. She glanced around; her mother had her head down, reading the newspaper. The nanny stood there rigid, staring up at Betty, a smirk on her face.
After a while, Mrs. Fillmore thrust the newspaper onto the patio table while the butler took away Betty’s plate and utensils.
“That child makes my blood boil sometimes. Am I a bad mother, Eugenia?” Mrs. Fillmore said.
“Oh, no, Mrs. Fillmore. Betty is a high-strung child, and she likes to make trouble for you.” Eugenia said.
“Yes, you are right. Sometimes I wish I hadn’t gotten pregnant. I miss the old days when John and I would go out to the pleasure gardens and dance away the nights. Those were grand times. Now, they’re filled with crying and disturbances, and most of the time, John is not here to deal with them.” Mrs. Fillmore said as she brought a handkerchief to her nose.
“Now, now, Mrs. Fillmore. It will be alright.” Eugenia said as she placed a hand on her shoulder and another in her pocket.
Eugenia poured some more tea for Mrs. Fillmore and left her to continue reading the paper.
Betty stalked into the room and slammed the door shut. She continued to wail and sob, throwing and kicking her toys around. Rolling on the ground, she pulled at her dress. She stopped. Betty’s eyes felt strange as if they were growing, growing out of her face. She cupped her eyes with her hands and wailed even louder; her sight was gone. She removed her hands and gripped something round in each. Betty screamed and dropped them. On her hands and knees, she searched for them. Finding one, she tried to shove it back into her eye socket, but it didn’t work.
Betty’s bedroom door closed gently as Eugenia placed her wand into her pocket. She sauntered down the stairwell, humming; as she heard another scream.