Not Any More

“What use is a childhood?”

Sam’s neck swivels from a screen to Pepper’s face. “What?”

“Young and innocent turns into not-young and less-than-innocent, and the not-young years are spent mourning the loss of the youth and the innocence. What is the point?”

Concern congregates between Sam’s eyebrows, and the chair rolls closer. “Pepper, you okay?”

“Not any more. Not for a long time.”