1966

Karen was a rather stocky and clumsy nine year old, who couldn't help but feel envious of her seemingly perfect and angelic brother Edwin.

Her resentment for the twelve year old grew each time he was praised for simply being his goody two shoes self and the feeling gradually built, until one day she found herself unable to put up with it any longer.

Instead of whining to her just as virtuous parents, she decided to take matters into her own hands and spent an entire afternoon scouring the neighborhood for all the creepy critters she could find.

She began by letting a couple of spiders loose in Edwin's bed and the scream in the middle of the night only fueled her sense of satisfaction.

Over the next fortnight, such incidents as her father finding a cockroach in his coffee and slugs getting into the cookie jar proved enough to make her parents fear for their own wellbeing.

Somehow, nobody ever thought to suspect that she was responsible and life quickly returned to normal once the strange occurrences stopped.


1971

At the age of fourteen and in the midst of a painful growth spurt, Karen was enrolled at Sacred Hearts highschool for her freshman year. Through a combination of luck and her imposing height, she managed to avoid the worst of the annual hazing rituals, with a drink being poured on her one lunchtime being the most unfortunate thing to happen to her.

She forced herself to put on an facade of emotional detachment, despite feeling pity for what the other girls were subjected to, though she eventually found some relief during physical education.

The privilege of being armed with a heavy wooden stick and an excuse to plough through classmates left and right made her feel more excited than it should have, but she let the pleasant sensation overpower her anyway.

A newfound love of sports grew soon after the game ended and to make matters more surprising, the gym teacher offered her a position on the school's team.


1978

She successfully finished her degree in health and fitness, before setting out to walk the streets each day in search of a job with decent pay.

Evenings were typically spent going through job advertisements in the newspaper and listening to the radio while preparing dinner, though the occasional encounter with her shy flatmate proved to be somewhat distracting.

It took a while to figure out a potential reason for his strange behaviour and she decided to test her theory by wearing skimpier clothing and observing his subsequent body language.

Sure enough, his eyes seemed to linger on her longer each time she moved and her suspicions grew stronger when he began to display a subtle defensiveness around her male friends.

The idea of someone lusting after her but being afraid to make a move, turned her on despite all common sense and she ended up wondering why a young man like him was so withdrawn in the first place.

Any illusions of power eventually faded however, when she woke up one night from a dream in which he held her close and kissed her softly on the lips.

She shifted in the darkness while trying to come to terms with it all and a moistness down below only made her feel more ashamed.

The fact that his demeanor took a turn for the apathetic over the following week deepened her confusion and she resigned herself to the hope that he would eventually come out of his shell and become more relaxed in her presence.


1987

"Who's a chubby little girl? You are!"

Karen couldn't help but smile at the sight of her husband cuddling their new baby and gushing affectionately while the child cooed in response. She swore that the man hadn't been this excited since the night he'd accidentally gotten himself drunk and incoherently belted out some rock song like he was the last person left in the world.

Her joy turned out to be short lived when a nagging dilemma once again sprung up in her mind and she spoke up to get his attention.

"Steve, it's been almost a month and we still haven't chosen a name for her."

"Oh, that..." He said sheepishly while his expression grew serious. "Well, I did have a few choices in mind, but I'm not sure you'll like them."

"Come on, you know I want to hear it."

"Fine. I was thinking of something like Nancy, or Deborah..."

Karen paused to figure out his inspiration, before a light turned on in her head.

"Rock stars? Really?"

"Yes, but they're both strong ladies who stand up for themselves..."

"I know, I just think those names are kind of old fashioned. They'll be out of style in a few years..."

"Okay. How about Anne, or Annette?"

"Too plain..."

"Joan?"

"I don't think that'll fit her..."

Steve fell silent and looked down at his daughter's features while she tried to grab at his face. Karen jogged her memory for prettier sounding names, until she suddenly remembered a recent magazine article and the right choice became clear.

"I've got it." She and her husband called out in unison to each other's surprise. They both stared for a few seconds and Karen let him go first.

"Linda..."

"Michelle."

"Why that? Isn't it a bit high class?"

"Yes, but wouldn't it be great to have a girl like that? Who says living in this house will make her less of a lady?"

"Good point, but I think Linda sounds more down to earth..."

"Come on, don't you think a fellow woman would know better?"

"What?"

"I'll leave it all up to you, if we ever have a boy..."

"Goddamnit..." Steve relented with a sigh of exasperation. "Michelle it is, then..."


1996

"You heard me. No video games until you've both done your homework."

"But Mom..." The boy and girl, aged eight and nine respectively, protested to little avail as she unplugged the Nintendo console and carried it away despite their upset faces.

"Oh, and I'm going to check every single question this time. So don't even try to lie."

"Actually, Mom..." The girl began to reply in an overly sweet tone that brought a look of disgust to her brother's face. "You can't really check an art project for mistakes..."

"Yes, but you did get only sixty percent on your last Math test. That's hardly something to be proud of..."

"Suck..." The boy said in glee at his sister's humiliation, before breaking into a taunting smirk. She frowned and clenched her fist in anger.

"Michelle, what did I say about hitting your brother?" Karen muttered as she climbed upstairs and disappeared from view.

The young girl opened her palm once again and swallowed nervously as she glanced to the side. The fact that her mother didn't even need to turn her head to be aware of what was going on, brought a chill down her spine and left her wondering if the woman possessed psychic powers to some degree.