Leafsong crouched behind the counter in the GHE: SW branch, her tongue sticking out in concentration as she wielded the tiny brush in her hand. Mirae, her small feet drumming on the floor, gazed up at her mother with slight trepidation. Leafsong shot her eyebrows up, questioningly.

“Why’re you giving me dirty looks, baby?”

Mirae’s small, fine-featured face contorted into an expression of mild alarm, her round eyes swiveling towards the implement in Leafsong’s hand. Leafsong glanced at it, then shrugged a bony shoulder.

“It’s a brush, not a spiked mace. I ain’t gonna hurt you. Come ‘ere-”

Mirae attempted to make her escape, but her mother was too fast for her and shot out a hand, grabbing a pudgy foot and dragging the baby towards her, sliding over the well-worn wooden boards. Mirae looked petulant, spreading her arms like a starfish and twisting her head around, making plaintive noises of objection. Leafsong pulled the baby up onto her rounded belly with a grunt, and gently turned the small chin in her direction.

“Now, stay still. You’re a year old now. You’re old enough, so stop fussing!”

She dipped the tip of the brush in the rounded glass pot which sat beside her crossed legs, pulling up a blob of silvery liquid. Mirae, eyes wide, sat as still as a rock as Leafsong carefully began to daub the brush over her cheeks.

“Look, you can be like your min’da-!” Leafsong whispered quietly, careful not to touch the baby’s long eyelashes. She held her breath as she painted a delicate whorl on Mirae’s right cheek, then moved her brush over to repeat the pattern.

Mirae gazed up at her mother, solemnly, her lips slightly parted. A moment later, she let out an almighty —


Leafsong stared down at her ruined handiwork in dismay. Mirae looked faintly bemused, then let out a giggle at the other’s distraught expression. A long silver streak dashed horizontally beneath her nose, turning what had been two symmetrical traditional markings into a fancy attempt to mimic facial hair, complete with sideburns and moustache. Leafsong pursed her lips tightly for a moment, her twitching foot sending the pot rolling beneath the counter.

“…Right. Well, I ain’t doing that crap over.”


2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Aphel said,

    I was like “AWWWW”, then I was like “LOL”

  2. 2

    Sharaan said,

    ❤ Leafie.

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