Vestigial Girl by Alex Wilson
This story is about a genius toddler who has to fight a monster in her throat. I loved everything about this story. The toddler, Charlene, has adult type reasoning but is only 4 years old; she doesn’t have great mobility and can barely crawl, which upsets her greatly - not to mention the ‘monster’ in her throat that she has to battle in order to speak. Charlene has two dads, and the reason why she has the difficulties she does is because they spliced her dads’ DNA together rather than using an egg donor with only one of their sperm.
Throughout the story you hear the two dads fighting in the other room, and the fight is so normal, it’s the kind of fight any two parents would have about a difficult situation with their child. You get to know each of the dads and can see how much of a struggle it is raising Charlene, and yet how much they love her. The fight, and presumably fights of similar nature before the story begins, makes Charlene even more determined to fight her monster and win. If she does then her dads would be happier and understand her better.
I think the thing I loved most about this story is the fact that Charlene has two dads, Daddy Gary and Daddy Oliver, and the author doesn’t dwell on it. Charlene doesn’t think that it’s anything other than perfectly normal. There’s no in your face message saying TWO DADS IS JUST AS GOOD AS A MOTHER AND A FATHER. Charlene has two dads, she loves them both, and that’s that, now onto the story. That’s my favorite kind of message, subtle, so subtle within the story that it’s only after you finish it that you reflect on what message the author was sending.
I first heard this story on Escape Pod; it was narrated by Nathaniel Lee, who did a fantastic job with it. I highly recommend listen. But if you don’t want to listen to it and just want to read the story, it’s posted in the same place.