“Edmund,” said Mr. Dickens, “you are to go with my uncle and live with him until your dear, sweet mother and I”—he paused and kissed Mrs. Dickens on the part of her face that was the least yellow and the least crinkly at the edges (a small section just behind her left ear)—“are well again. You must never wear anything green in his presence, you must always drink at least five glasses of lukewarm water a day, and you must always do as he says. Is that clear?”
“Yes, Father,” said Eddie
“And, Jonathan,” added his mother, for Jonathan was the pet name she called Eddie when she couldn’t remember his real one.
“Do be careful to make sure that you’re not mistaken for a runaway orphan and taken to the orphanage, where you will then suffer cruelty, hardship, and misery.”
“Don’t worry, Mother. That’ll never happen,” said Eddie Dickens, dismissing the idea as ridiculous.
If only he’d listened.
—from A House Called Awful End