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Her baby daughter has that look on her face again; something about it twists in her, a knife in her stomach.

The softened edges of the previous week have vanished as she sits near the tree, flickering candlelight reflected in her shining eyes, gazing adoringly at her brother, just as she always has done.

A son is a son no matter what; and this son is only an angry young man, in the wrong place and at the wrong time - handsome, scowling, nursing a grievance which was never his to hold. Christmas opulence turns brass. She can only pray.




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