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“Glad you could make it on such short notice. Babysitters are hard to
get on a Friday night, particularly those with references as good as

“Don’t worry about me. I love children. In fact, I brought a treat
for—Benjamin, right? A cookie now, and—if you behave—another cookie
later. How does that sound?” The girl produced a jar and offered it to
the child, who shook his head and hid behind his father. The
babysitter laughed and set the jar down on a small desk. “Isn’t he
such a dear?”

“Ooh, is that chocolate? Benj, if you don’t want any…”

“Now, now, John, no snacks before dinner. Kathy, just two cookies,
okay? Please make sure he eats dinner. I’ve left something in the ref.
Before I forget, here’s the advance you asked for. Good night,
Benjamin, Kathy! See you at 10.”

Then they were gone.

His stomach rumbled. He put down the truck and waddled over to the
dining room. No dinner in sight. He could ask the babysitter, but
that’d probably mean having to eat boring vegetables.

He caught a whiff coming from near the front door. Cookies! Cookies
would be perfect for dinner. He peeked behind him. She was still on
the sofa, staring at those gross shows with lots of face-sucking.
Removing his squeaky shoes, he tiptoed through the living room and
climbed onto a chair, carefully wrapping his small fingers around the
jar. Easing the flip-top lid open, he reached in, grabbed his prize,
and crammed it into his mouth.

It wasn’t quite chocolate. He didn’t know what it was. But it
tasted… nice. He wanted another one. And another. And –

“You like the cookies?” The baby sitter smiled at him.

Cookie-laden hands froze half-way to a crumby mouth.

“I love cookies. You can help me make some. Your kitchen has an oven,
right? Let’s go. Bring the jar with you.”

He found himself taking a step, and another, and another. He couldn’t
take his eyes off her, staring, horribly fascinated as she dipped a
hand into the jar and snared a cookie.

“I do so love children,” she sighed, and bit into it.

A note greeted his parents when they came home.

“Benjamin was absolutely wonderful. Thanks.”

(in response to flashxer prompt “Splintered”)

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