If he wasn’t eating, Milo was crying. Diseased chromosomes insisted to the toddler that he was starving. Every single minute of every single day.
Lizzy tried to be a good mother. She worked two jobs so she could afford to quiet Milo’s tears. She ignored the sloppy, open-mouthed way he consumed every morsel and the greedy gleam in his too-moist eyes when she surrendered her own supper to his insatiable hunger.
One morning, she woke to find the kitchen in shambles. Overturned chairs lay scattered across the floor. Padlocked cupboards—doors ripped from their hinges—gaped open and empty as Milo bawled in the corner, still wearing yesterday’s spaghetti-stained pajamas.
Lizzy bent, plucking a chair cushion from the chaos, and approached her son.
Even through the fabric and thick foam, she could hear Milo chewing. She pressed harder, but his tiny teeth shredded the polyester, masticating the padding inside and devouring the pillow instead of smothering beneath it.
When it was gone, Milo continued to cry.
He’d consumed everything in a single night, and it would be days before she could afford more. Staring at the empty cupboards, Lizzy pressed a knife to her thigh.
She hoped she would last that long.