Father went to the madhouse two months after Victoria was born, thrust into the cold world without a cry. Mother bought a small house at the north end of fog-trapped Slanted Oak, far from neighbours and unblinking eyes. Mother has always loved Victoria. Whatever Victoria wants Mother will supply.
No matter what she asks for.
Victoria pats her small hand on Mother's drained cheek, smile craning back to her ears, ruby eyes bleeding to a pleasured gold as she darts her tongue over plump lips. "Thank you, Mother," she says sincerely to the languid corpse, dabbing an elongated drop from the sunken flesh with her forefinger. Thoughtfully she sucks the thick liquid from the finger, taking care to not prick herself with jagged teeth.
Politely, Victoria closes the heavy wooden door behind her, solid iron handle steaming under her palm, and then trots to the recessed hedge gate. Madrona-brown pigtails bounce on pink linen shoulders and Victoria has the world to amuse her, now that Mother isn't fun any longer.