My Name is Minette, Chapter Four: Minette Sets Off

Every time Minette saw the dress, it gained form. It was simple, but it was royal and delicate, and it punched the breath out of Minette with each new dainty detail.

It was gorgeous, fit for one of Sir Edric’s many rescued princesses.

“Mort! Get your clouds out of your head!” Maw squawked, sending Minette careening out of her fantastical distant valleys and back into their cramped little kitchen.

“Yes, Maw,” Minette said, slipping past her mother. Maw was by the sink, scrubbing at some dirty dishes with a vigor that felt somehow murderous, like the dishes had wronged her.

Maw’s behind was large enough that Minette bumped into it as she wormed past, scooting her way over to the kitchen table on the other side of the room. The bread and butter was already set out for her, and a tasty-looking apple.

Minette collected her food, munching and crunching on the tart apple. Maw always had something out for the family to eat, and the kitchen was a natural congregation space where most of Minette’s fondest memories took place.

Speaking of. “Where’s Rhys and Irma?” Minette asked past a mouthful of fruit.

Maw dropped her brush in the sudsy sink slush and turned to face Minette, propping her broad hip against the counter. “Off in town, most like,” she said. “Paw sent them out on errands.”

“Irma too?” Paw was usually so careful with Irma, a fact Minette knew drove Irma absolutely bonkers. Sending her out on the town was a true test of faith for the man.

“Oh, yes,” Maw said. “She’s there to keep Rhys in shape. He’s going on about school again.

School. Rhys’s only dream, and the only thing he’d asked for for his last three birthdays.

It was also the only thing he’d never get.

Well, that, and a gilded carriage or an estate in the woods. The Coppersmiths were in no way rich or well-connected. And in Droz, there was only one school. Paw thought it a waste of a good working boy and Maw thought the few Drunes it required were too large of an expense.

Minette felt for Rhys. He was smarter than a crow. She could imagine him in some far off land, too; as a scholar or an inventor.

“That hair of yours,” Maw added, continuing from some long ramble that Minette had completely missed, “is gonna get you in some trouble with your Paw.”

“Don’t tell him,” Minette pleaded past a mouth full of apple.

“Tell him? Irma’s blind, not your father, dearie.”


Theo Poling is a Creative Writing and Arts double major at the University of Michigan. In their free time, Theo enjoys fostering cats, baking, and going on hikes. Theo is transgender, nonbinary, and bisexual, and is passionate about representing LGBTQ people in positive ways in genre fiction. Theo's series, We Exist! is a weekly serial that publishes short story chapters about empowered queer protagonists in science fiction and fantasy settings, where queer people have previously been excluded. Check out the newest installment of We Exist! every Thursday.

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