Ayah, Amy, and Ms. Harquin

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“Please don’t hurt me!” Ayah whimpered.  “I’m the littlest orphan!”  Ms. Harquin smiled wickedly.

“Are you saying an older orphan would be better suited to this punishment?” she asked with a simpery smile.  Ayah had learned not to disagree with her orphanage matron, but she nervously nodded her head.

“Oh?” Ms. Harquin replied, dangerously calm.  “But you’re the one who earned it, sweetheart!”

“I’m too little to do that kind of work!” protested Ayah.

“Not anymore!” said Ms. Harquin, cheerfully.  “Those candies you stole from me have made you big and strong!” Ayah looked at Ms. Harquin blankly.

“I eat them all the time,” Ms. Harquin continued, chuckling.  “Why do you think I’m much bigger and stronger than all of you?”

“Because you’re older than us!” shouted Amy, coming in from doing her chores.

“Don’t listen to anything she says, Ayah!” Amy continued.   “Those candies didn’t make you big and strong!”  Ayah looked at her friend and pouted disappointedly.  “At least not big and strong enough to do this chore,” Amy quickly added.

“That’s the hardest, scariest chore in the orphanage, Ayah!” she protested when the disappointment didn’t go away.

“Alright, Amy, enough!” shouted Ms. Harquin.  “This is between me and Ayah!  It is none of your business!”

“Yes it is!” insisted Amy.  “Ayah’s too young for that kind of work, and I won’t let her do it!”

“Too young?!  Too young?!  Of course she’s too young!” stormed Ms. Harquin.  “There’s no way she’ll succeed!”

“I know!” cried Amy.  “But she might get hurt!”

“Trust me,” said Ms. Harquin.  “I’ll get her out of there before her life is in danger.  I’m not about to get in trouble for killing one of you orphans!”  Amy was about to cry.

“Don’t give me that!” sneered Ms. Harquin.  “I am teaching the child a lesson!  She’s going to try this task, and believe me, she’ll know not to steal candy from me when she’s failed enough times!”  Amy tried to run away, but Ms. Harquin called after her.

“Don’t even think of trying to help her!” she shouted.  “You’ll suffer a much worse punishment if you do!”  With that, she slammed the door as soon as Amy was out of the room.

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