“Mama,” she said, quietly. I almost didn’t hear her; my mind had drifted, far away from the seemingly endless stretch of asphalt and sand, away from the hot vinyl seats that stuck and peeled away from my skin every time I moved. Away from my daughter, sitting quietly in the seat beside me, playing on the tablet she’d received for her last birthday.
“What is it, Ophelia?” I asked, glancing over at her. She was all but stabbing at the smudged screen with one delicate finger, her frustration apparent. I saw the familiar bright colors and dark lines of the dollhouse game she was too old to be playing, but I had given up on trying to convince her to find something more age appropriate. Better something too young for her than too old, I supposed. We passed another sign, warning us that we were almost upon Strangetown, and I sighed.
“My doll won’t stop crying.”