I rushed into the hallway and caught Lydia by the shoulder as she rounded the opposite corner. She was shouting up the stairs at her sister.
“Come back here, you silly snatcher!” She yelled around me.
I had been ready to play the role of Peacemaker and was preparing to start handing out lessons and reprimands, but this accusation set me back. I held the girl at arm’s reach and stared at her. “Wait. What did you say? Did you call her a… Snatcher?”
She wiggled to get free and growled. “She took it from me!” She yelled. “Snatched it right out of my hands!”
She cut me off and shouted up the stairs, “She stole it because she is a FIENDISH VOLE!”
“She is a fiendish vole!”
I loosened my grip on her shoulders. “Lydia, who taught you how to talk?”
“No one,” she fumed, brushing her hands across her red face and through her tangled hair. Her anger was steaming away into a sort of pride. “Well, actually, I taught myself.” She bowed.
“I… I just don’t even know what to say about that. I have no lesson prepared for this.”
She smirked in quiet triumph. “Well, I do come up with some good words sometimes.” She slowly spun and walked like a princess in the opposite direction. She had apparently forgotten all about whatever her fiendish vole of a sister had snatched away from her, or maybe, and I’m purely speculating here, it had all just been a clever excuse to try out a few new words.