The nightmare always began the same way.
Outside, the monotonous drone of cicadas would drift through the sultry midnight air. There would be faint light from the single bare yellow bulb that hung outside, over the front door, and cast a small pale spot of illumination within. Cheap handmade curtains, pulled back tightly to one side to permit the maximum amount of still air, hung on windows screened against mosquitoes and all those other things that flew about at night.
She lay upon her cot, her light brown hair tousled around her child's face, curled in sleep that had been long coming. She'd been willful that...