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Archive for September 2016

Splinters 4 – Rewrite history

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Rewrite history

Annabella Hanners kept tracking the police news for few more months, but after the twelfth child was found nearly dead, but able to speak, and gave details on how her adoptive parents had handed her over to a scary man with big hands and a knife, a state-wide advisory on screening the prospective parents was issued and suddenly the cases of fake adoptions ceased.
She had some qualms about keeping the girls still listed as triplets, but they seemed to be the happiest children in the whole world, just on their own. She couldn’t just take the extra sister away without harming the other two… So she kept watching them, as they grew more and more attuned to each other.
Clothing them in a similar manner was not a problem. Whole group home was functioning on low funds, so everyone wore the same model of shirts, jeans, skirts or shorts. Making the three look next to identical required only some adjustment of their hair styling and nobody could tell them apart.
If sometimes Elsa was a tiny bit faster, nobody really noticed.
If Elena was a bit taller, at this age it didn’t make that much of a difference.
If Emma seemed a bit more thoughtful and closed, well, it wasn’t often enough to be visible.
After all, they were sisters. And they were so sweet. Nobody would have had heart to give them away separated.
Of course, there were suggestions from various prospective adoptive parents that maybe splitting them would do the children good – after all, they wanted only one girl, and this one (pointing out a random sister, almost never the one that they wanted a minute before) was just perfect. Annabella calmly and very politely told all of them to get lost.
The only risk to the whole setup was August. Whereas all of the employees who knew could be trusted to keep quiet – after all they did see how the girls were with each other – the boy also knew and could make trouble, simply by not guarding his tongue.
He was sitting there, in front of her desk, painfully erect, his face an innocent picture of eagerness.
“I need…” she trailed off as he smiled, his smile slightly uneven – she always thought about the probable beatings he must have received for his face to be that asymmetric “I need you to do something for me, August.”
He nodded, eyes wide and focused on her.
“I need you to remember to always say – if someone asks – that the girls were in the same basket.”
He finally blinked.
“Ma’am?”
She bit her lower lip for a moment.
“We have entered them into the computer as triplets. Now, you know and I know, and Pauline knows it’s not true. We also know that the little ones are better off like this, all together, right?”
He nodded slowly, blinking.
“So, even thought they are not sisters, they are sisters?” he asked, uncertainly.
“We know they are not triplets, yes. And this will stay between me and you. We both will remember. You are a good, smart boy, August, and you know that it’s better for them like this. If we wrote that they were not found together, someone would find out and then they would make me give the single one away.”
“And they would all be sad” he concluded. “And she would be alone.”
“And the two we’d keep wouldn’t be able to get her back, ever. So…” she leaned forward, looking at him intently. “You must help me, August. You must make sure you always say that they were found in one place and looked exactly the same. The computer already thinks they were found as one-day-olds. Now you must remember that too. In case anything happens, someone comes and asks about them or… Or anything! You must keep this in mind. They were found together and they are sisters. All three.”
He nodded, but still seemed worried.
“And if someone wants to adopt all three?”
“We’ll be happy for them and we will hope for a good home.”
He bit his lip.
“Would I be able to visit them then?”
She could only shake her head.

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Written by Srebrna

2016/09/20 at 23:14

Posted in Splinters

Tagged with , ,

Splinters 3 – Let’s get together

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Let’s get together
As a head of the orphanage, Annabella Hanners did not have much time for socialising, so most of her friendships from the years in secondary school had dissolved due to her missing more than one class meeting. Two of her mates stayed steady and visited her at her office, as both loved children but had none.
Samantha, who just raised a mug of tea in silent toast to her friend, loved watching the children in the group home and helped with the electronic monitoring around the place, therefore she seemed the best person to ask for a very specific favour.
“We have a strict policy of not separating twins. Or, basically, any siblings. Unless there is violence between family members, of course. But we have opinions of specialists, who say it’s better to keep children together and even at a group home than to separate them for adoption.”
“And of course nobody wants triplets.”
She sighed.
“It’s twins. The third girl is just… well, very similar.”
Three giggling blonde girls twirled in the middle of the room.
“So she could be adopted.”
Another sigh.
“Probably, yes, technically. However she’s so close with the sisters I can’t really think about separating her from them.”
Samantha fell silent.
“And we think they were born in a sect” Annabella added, turning and looking at her visitor, as the other woman looked dazedly at the children.
“What, why?!”
She made a disgusted face.
“The twins were found a day after birth. They had poorly secured cords and were not completely washed.”
“Happens to young mothers who give birth at home” the visitor shrugged. “What’s different about these two?”
“For one, they were wrapped in a blanket of pure wool and they had jewellery on them – a bracelet, a pendant, some rings – all of it looks old and kind of pricey. All of it was deposited in the bank, so they can get it when they leave, maybe it will have some value… Anyway, who leaves a pair of day-old children in a wicker basket, wrapped in a woollen blankie and wearing enough gold and silver to drown a horse? Nobody. Except for some communities that don’t have much contact with outside. Some girl probably got pregnant out of wedlock, or in some crazy cult which says twins are devil-sent.”
“And the third one?”
“Ah. She was older – a month the doctor said – and she was actually wrapped in an embroidered blanket all of her own.”
“So weird… So you think she’s also a shame baby?”
“Or someone wanted to make sure she grows up outside of the loony society. Or I have no idea really, but it sounds scary to think someone dropped, in total, three perfectly healthy babies in the woods by the highway. Luckily there was a boy who found them. He seemed to be from some crazytown, too. Scared of airplanes and cars. I’m not saying he was sent by someone from wherever they came from to look after the girls, but we’re keeping him here, safe. Just in case. Anyway, he’s one of the ‘not adoptable’ ones. Sickly and too old to be in the “sick but cute” category.”
“Pity… I’m always a bit worried about kids like this – the little ones are healthy, but he was probably not vaccinated, so he can catch anything…” the visitor shook her head. “Anyway. What do you need me for? I’m quite sure you wouldn’t even dream about guilting me into adopting the girls…”
A snort.
“No way. But, if you could, I’d like to ask you… for a little tiny thing. Considering your computer-fu.”
The visitor grinned and nodded.
“Make them triplets.”
Grin fell and eyes widened.
“People can barely tell them apart anyway. I need you to manipulate the electronic records to say that they were found to be the same age and near each other. It’s enough to say that they’re sisters.”
“But nobody will adopt triplets…” the visitor’s voice trailed away. “You don’t want them adopted?”
“They’ve been together all their lives. They are only four, but I can’t just split them up. And someone will try, you know these stupid… people from the main office. They always think they know what is ‘the best for the littles’. Making these three siblings will block any asinine decisions they may make.”
The visitor scrubbed her face.
“Very well. But it’s on you if one of them turns out to be red-haired after all.”
“I’d rather have them be all colours of the rainbow, as long as nobody can separate them” she turned with grim face to Samantha. “There’s someone out there, picking out little blondes out of the system. Each of them was adopted by a respectable pair of parents who checked out OK and suddenly…” she swallowed. “Police is helpless, nothing connects the victims except for point of origin. All adoption centres were warned, but some idiot on the top decided it doesn’t make sense to stop adoptions, as the risk is small. Small! Ten children dead…” she shook her head. “They don’t want to hear about blocking it until the killer is caught.”
“And the parents?”
“Hah” the laughter was somewhat sour. “It turns out all pairs presented are someone completely different than they pose as. The people whose data is used are unaware of having “adopted” a child and very surprised at being confronted with the adoption workers.”
“So, you want to make these three unadoptable then?”
Annabella nodded.
“In a manner of speaking. The people who do that adoption thing are only picking single girls. If I make the single one a sister… They will be better off here. I’ll make sure they have everything they want and need.”
Samantha shrugged and pulled out her laptop.
“I’d say, better alive and in the system, then dead outside of it.”
She started typing and a black screen filled with letters finally showed.
Annabella looked away, turning her eyes towards the tiny courtyard, where Elsa had just tripped over Elena and Emma was sitting on a huge pile of sand, howling with laughter.

Written by Srebrna

2016/09/17 at 10:23

Posted in Splinters

Tagged with , , , ,