The Melting Pot

Chapter 1

School Days


"Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. Amen."

Emily snuggled down under the patchwork quilt her mother, Sarah Conn, had made many years earlier.

"Do I really have to go?" she asked, looking up hopefully at her mother, a short, pale woman with dark brown curly hair. Sarah was tucking in Emily and her sisters, Laura and Amanda.

"Em, you know you have to," Sarah whispered. "Be quiet now, or you'll wake Mandy up."

Amanda, who was two and a half, was already sleeping peacefully between Laura and Emily, her short blonde curls plastered to the edges of her face. She had her plump little thumb in her mouth and her arm around her little brown teddy bear.

Laura, on the other side of the bed, turned over to face Emily. Her long blonde hair fell across her face, and she pulled it back with her hand. "Em, it ain't so bad. You know it ain't. You went two weeks last year 'fore they kicked you out 'cause you wasn't six yet."

"I know, but I'm scared," Emily whined. Light complected like her mother and sisters, Emily had thin, wavy, light brown hair and big blue eyes that were a trademark of the Conn girls.