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Posts Tagged ‘emma

Splinters 30 – I wanna be where the people are

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“Isn’t it nice?”

A tall man with a dog was standing in front of the diner’s door, so Elsa had to ask him to move, as she carried a basket with takeout lunch for Elena and Henry. It was him who spoke – a little dreamily, looking up at the clocktower.

“What is?” she asked out of courtesy, getting a better grip on the handle.

“The clock. Apparently Marco finally managed to fix it. It’s working, first time in years, you see.”

“Well” she shrugged. “He’d better set it to the correct hour, when he’s at it. It’s half past one, and the clock still showing quarter to nine.”

He smiled and patted the dog.

“At least it’s progress. A week ago… or maybe it was two weeks… he said nothing could be done as the great spring was stuck in such a way that he was scared to move it.”

She walked to the street, shaking her head.

“It’s progress, but I wouldn’t set my watch by that thing.”

He pushed up his glasses and hurried down the path after her.

“I’m guessing you must be E…” he suddenly stuttered.

“Elsa. Elsa Swan” she said helpfully. “No worries, I guess we are kind of a novelty in the town. And you’d be?”

“Ah! Archie. Archie Hopper. I’m the local psychologist. Well, psychiatrist, really, but I advise at school and at the hospital in my less medical hat. I actually wanted to talk to you – one of you – about Henry. You are his…?”

“Aunt. So whatever you need to discuss, should probably be with Emma, his mother.”

He grimaced.

“Well, of course. However, if you could give me a few minutes of your time… You’re not signing Henry into the school, I understood – could you tell me why? I’m wondering if I should be prepared for something specific once he starts attending.”

Elsa put the basket on a small stump next to the fence.

“Henry is being homeschooled, because we don’t know how long we’ll be staying and we don’t want to make him adjust to class life for a month just to take him out of it again. If he continues to improve – his health had been poor – we’ll enrol him in the fall. Is there anything else you’d like to ask?”

He shook himself just a bit, looking at her in surprise.

“That’s… I see. No, no, thank you, that is probably all I needed. Yes.”

“I’m quite sure Henry will not require your help once he is in school. He is a very stable and very bright boy, and he’s being brought up with all the care he may need.”

“I understand that the three of you love the child very much, but you can’t be that sure about your own methods… after all, if I understood correctly, you’ve not been raised in an actual family.”

Elsa picked up her basket and straightened up, her spine stiff.

“Where we were brought up and who took care of us has no influence on the methods we’re using with Henry. I assure you, we know what we’re doing. I understand you’re professionally trained in the area of psychology, but do not assume you’re not the only one with education on the subject.”


“What do you mean, study?”

“I mean, take a course. Come on. I know it sounds weird, but I want to prepare for this properly.”

“And you think there is a course on how to be a proper parent? Specially for people, well, like us? Missocialised outcasts raised in the system?”

“It actually exists and it’s for everyone. There’s a lot of people out there who don’t know how to be a parent – they came from a situation where they had no chance to learn anything about kids, or even about running a household.”

“We at least had good home education lessons – they were rather useful and reasonable, even if not with actual real parents.”

“There is even a separate course line for people from public care who had not been correctly prepared before being kicked out of the group homes. Including renting a place, signing contracts, getting insured, dealing with health system, making sure you know what are your rights at the hospital or at a clinic…” Emma sighed and moved to a better position. “I’m going for the parenting one. Five hours a week and it leaves me a free Thursday afternoon for the birthing classes. I’m not saying you have to come, but it may be easier for us if we all join. Funny thing is, if you take the advanced course, it actually gives us a paper that allows you to work as a kindergarten assistant. Not as an actual teacher, but hey, it’s still a skill we could use at some point.”

Elena nodded and swallowed her sandwich.

“I’ll do it, why not. I want to be properly prepared for when the kid comes. We have our house set up, we know how to manage the finances and we know how to live day to day, but I’d rather have someone give us a good set of notes regarding the visit to the hospital so that we don’t end up in debt due to the fact that you’re having a baby.”

“Or end up having problems being admitted as your family, if someone decides to make fuss about lack of a man.”

Emma snorted.

“As if they never had sisters accompanying each other. But yes, it’s better to be prepared.”


Doctor Hopper was making his way back home, glancing towards Elsa from time to time uneasily. She, on the other hand, calmly walked down the few buildings and joined Henry and Elena on the porch of the inn, where Elena was trying to work and Henry was trying to interrupt her.

“Small town” Elsa snorted, setting the basket on the kitchen table. “Everyone is poking their noses into everyone else’s business.”

“Who accosted you?” Elena reached for the container with homemade lasagna, still hot from Granny’s oven.

“Doctor Hopper, or something like his. Local shrink. Tried to suggest Henry will need counselling due to living with incompetent victims of social system upbringing. Really, people.”

Henry sat next to Elena, bringing his plate.

“Who said that?” he asked, frowning.

“A doctor from the town, darling.”

“And what does coun-cell-ing mean?”

Sisters exchanged glances.

“That he thinks you will need help when you go to school in the fall.”

Henry’s frown deepened.

“Why would I need help? I was doing OK in my previous school…” he seemed a bit worried, but soothed the feeling with a healthy bite of the lasagna.

“He thinks that because we lived in an orphanage, we don’t know how to raise a kid and so we probably broke you” Elena hugged him. “Don’t worry. He doesn’t know us yet, so he’s probably a bit suspicious.”

“That’s silly” Henry chewed for a moment in silence. “Why would it make any difference where you came from?”

“It makes no difference, Henry” Elsa patted his shoulder. “Some people just can’t understand it, that’s all.”


Regina came with Emma to the playground, actually. Early spring afternoon was sunny and warm enough for both Roland and Henry to get out of their light jackets and run around the area, shrieking with happiness. Henry thoughtfully let himself be caught a few times, following Emma’s delicate suggestion before they met.

“How old is Henry?” Regina asked absently, tracking the movements of the smaller boy.

“He’ll be six in the fall” Emma watched Henry more discreetly, trying to let him, for the time being, play without over parental oversight. “I hope we can stay here that long. He could go to school and start with everyone.”

“Why shouldn’t you? Storybrooke is a nice town. I hope” Regina grinned. “If there is anything here that could displease you, I’d very much like to hear about it.”

Emma shook her head, smiling.

“It’s mostly about Henry, actually. He became so sick in Boston we had to take him out of school in early spring. The pollution in our area was very bad and the doctor suggested we take him as far from the big city as we could manage. So, when one of our friends suggested Maine as a place with some woodland, we decided to give it a try. Our jobs give us a lot of flexibility, and my sisters are rather devoted to Henry, so we decided to, well. Just find the place that felt right.”

“And then there was a storm, and you found Roland.”

Emma nodded.

“And it seemed a good idea to check where the fate has brought us. So, we’re here, and we’ll see what happens. Kind of a demo version of actual living here.”

Regina watched Roland attentively for a moment, as he braved the short kiddie climbing wall, and relaxed only when he was back on the ground.

“I hope you can stay” she said, not looking at Emma. “It is nice here, but a bit boring, so you’ll be a breath of fresh air for the people here. Henry will certainly be a welcome addition to our school, and if he has any kind of big city stories, he’ll be an instant micro-celebrity. Nobody here travels much, so kids mostly see big world in TV.”

Emma made an understanding face and a non-committal grunt.

Henry managed to sneak behind Roland and tickle him, making the younger boy howl with laughter and kick up a huge amount of sand. Regina started to get up, but suddenly glanced at Emma and sat back down.

“I suppose I may be a bit too cautious” she said suddenly. “But that’s because I care. I care about him. I just can’t… I try to make sure he has everything he needs – including some structure – but also… sometimes I may be too careful, but I think it doesn’t make me a toxic mother. I hope so, at least. I try to stop myself from hovering. But sometimes I still think he feels smothered by all the attention.”

Emma blinked.

“It makes you a nervous mother, that’s for sure. Have you tried letting him out of your sight from time to time? You know, controlled situation, and you go and have an hour to yourself?”

Regina snorted.

“Sure. And it works out so well. Two days ago? I though he was napping after a whole day of running around the house. So I went downstairs, put on my headphones and listened to some music. He must have sneaked out then. It’s not only that I’m watching him for what every kid does – I suppose you’ve had your dose of this with Henry – but also stop him from going into the woods. He’s obsessed with finding his father, and unless I manage to convince him to stop, he will get hurt one day.”

“But you can’t just tell the kid that his father is dead, can you?”

Regina nodded slowly.

“I considered it, actually” she said slowly. “But I can’t. He worships his father. His father is the best. He lives in the forest, he knows how to build a house, how to make a bow, how to fletch arrows, how to shoot the bow, how to make a campfire, how to…”

“Basically, he’s a superman of the forest, so he can’t be dead because that would be against the laws of nature themselves” Emma pursed her lips. “Also, if you convince him that his father is dead, and then the father is found, it will completely mess the kid up.”

“I haven’t even thought that far ahead” Regina admitted. “I’m worried every day that someone will come and take him and place him in some ugly orphanage and he will have nobody to make sure he doesn’t drown in some pond in the forest. Mostly, I want us all to survive until the fall semester, he will be going to school then. And I will maybe manage to get some work done without having to fetch Graham and a babysitter to make sure Roland doesn’t go exploring the moment I close the door.”

“At least now he looks like he’s having fun” Emma pointed to both boys looking closely at something – quite certainly disgusting – they dug up from the sand.

Regina nodded slowly.

“Maybe because Henry doesn’t have a father, either” she said with a sigh. “He mostly gets this need for searching when he sees other children with their fathers, I think.”

“Well, glad to be of service, madam Mayor. Maybe when he is around us a bit more, he’ll get used to the idea of non-standard families.”

“You four are definitely not standard, by any definition” Regina smiled cautiously. “May I ask…”

Emma rolled her eyes.

“I was an idiot, he was a conman, he split before I ever knew I was pregnant. And he tried to frame me for theft.”

“Ouch.”

“I got over it, don’t worry. In hindsight, I could have done without the court case during the first vacation after getting our master’s degrees, but I’m certain I wouldn’t change the fact that I was pregnant during it. It was a bother and I managed to throw up way more than I ate, but I got Henry and I don’t have to share him with that lowlife.”

“Just with your sisters.”

“Well, they are his parents, too” Emma shrugged. “And way better ones than he would ever be. Myths of male role model are just myths. Better no father than a lousy one.”


The afternoon paper ran an article, very general in the way it was worded, about the dangers of strangers coming into closed societies and what kind of imbalances such can cause. It also alluded to said strangers’ murky past, unknown upbringing, possible involvement in high-profile court cases and child endangerment. Emma additionally found a weird echo of what she told Regina, as there was a small paragraph regarding children reared in partial families.

She snorted, drank the rest of her coffee and hopped off the stool.

“Ah, Miss Swan” the headmistress smiled from her booth “Or may I call you Emma? I’m just about finished and I thought we could walk together. I could show you the town – as much as there is of it – and I can give you some materials for Henry to work on for the rest of the school year, so that he isn’t behind when he joins in September.”

“Sure. And yes, you can call me Emma” she smiled as the dark haired woman drank the rest of her coffee and gathered the abundance of paper she had spread on the table. “Writing assignments?”

Mary Margaret stuffed them into her bag.

“Actually, yes, but rather my own. I’m trying to…” she blushed “to write a novel. Not that I’m any good at writing interesting action scenes, but I hope I can get the social part of the text interesting enough. Now, let’s go left and I’ll tell you where everything is…”


As Emma noted where a laundromat was, where the car mechanic resided and which bakery saved better pastries (which was not the one with the best bread, and still not the same that sold better apple pies), she allowed herself to be led through the park, into more residential area.

“This one is all empty” her guide said. “They are supposed to tear it down, it has some structural problems, so it’s dangerous even to go there. This one is a lot of tiny flats, mostly single people live here – ones with not much need to store stuff. And this is the one that was remade from some weird factory and nobody knew exactly how to divide them correctly, to allow everyone access to facilities and windows, so some flats are really complicated. Mine is just up here, on second and third floor. I’d invite you in, but I made a complete mess of my kitchen today – I was trying to mix some pancake batter and my mixer went crazy. I’m kind of avoiding going back there, because it would force me to face my kitchen” she made a disgusted face. “Let’s go see the park here, what do you say? I’ll show you the area. I’d really love to have someone friendly live here…” she trailed off and stared into the sky over the trees. “Almost nobody moved in for the last year or so, and there’s just one flat taken in the building, except for mine, so I feel a bit lonely, sometimes. I’m sorry” she smiled weakly. “I don’t want you to feel pressured, but I kind of jumped at the occasion to get someone to rent that huge flat next to mine, so I can hear that there actual living people around me.”

Emma could only smile weakly at her earnestness.

“I have to check what my sisters decide. But I have to admit, it does sound nice. If that Mr Gold…” she blinked. “That was him, yesterday, I just connected it.”

Mary Margaret frowned.

“Where? You met Gold already? That was quick.”

“He was… I suppose he was collecting rent. Yesterday, at the B&B. He seemed a little weird, I must say.”

Mary Margaret just shrugged.

“We all have our little quirks. Maybe he has more than others, but nobody is free of their own, personal weirdness. I can’t abide being alone – that’s why I mostly work in the diner, just to see people around me. Ruby detests colours other than black and red. Archie talks to his dog and just to himself, out in the open – and he is the shrink of the town. Nobody here is exactly normal.”

Emma coughed.

“Well, maybe you three. But you’re triplets, which makes you automatically ‘non-standard’, according to general public. You don’t even need to show you’re different, you just are.”

“Regina?”

Mary Margaret stiffened.

“Madam Mayor is in a category of her own” she said carefully. “She is a single working mom in a power position. You can guess what the streets were saying when she adopted that little boy. She didn’t get any less strict, for all their gossipping and muttering, and I’ve never seen her go any easier on herself. I may not be a fan of hers, but I have to admit she takes good care of Roland…” she straightened her shoulders. “There are some parents I won’t mention who could benefit from following her example. I see enough neglect at school to make my heart hurt.”

Emma raised her hand hesitantly, but decided not to pat Mary Margaret’s shoulder after all. She had no idea how the woman would react to sudden physical contact.

“Well, let’s walk a minute more and you’ll see the greener part of our tiny corner. Here is the playground – much cleaner than the one in the city centre – and there is a bit of a park, including one big lane for biking and skating – and here’s the fountain, and the benches. The angel on the fountain is supposed to be by some very fameous sculptor, who came to Storybrooke looong ago and decided to make our town a but weirder by sending one of his works for us to adorn our “sweet little town”. I think it’s a bit gloomy for a fountain just next to the playground, but…” she shrugged. “Kids ask sometimes why she’s crying.”


Henry was fast asleep as the three grownups gathered quietly in the corner of the room.

“The townies are suspicious of us” Elsa provided in a whisper, her copy of the newspaper flat on the table in front of them.

“And rightly so, we’re probably the first new thing they’ve seen since this place was created. From what Regina said, we’re the news of this decade” Emma shrugged. “I think it’s like an immune system. They’ve never seen anything like us, so they are reacting with slight aggression. May even be the effect of the curse itself.”

Elsa bit her lip.

“I’m a bit worried about something else, actually” she said slowly. “Have you noticed the difference between Henry and the local kids?”

Emma frowned, glancing towards her son.

“What do you mean? I only saw him playing with Roland, and there’s a two years difference between them, so obviously…”

“He is…” Elsa pursed her lips. “He seems older than kids his age. And if you think about it, it was always like this, even in Boston. But there were other bright kids there at the school, and here the population is smaller, so he stands out more. He’s almost six, but he talks like a kid three years older. When I was at the park with him, in the evening, I saw other six-year-olds. They are way less outspoken and have much more limited vocabulary.”

They sat in silence for a moment.

“Do you think it may be the same thing that let him see August’s leg?”

“You mean he has some special magic that lets him see stuff in a different way from others?”

Emma pondered it quietly.

“I think… I know when someone is lying – I hear the thing they say and I have a feeling whether they are lying or not. Sometimes I can feel the general falsehood about someone – even before they say something specific. What Henry does is seeing true things. We never saw the wooden leg, but I know August isn’t lying about it, due to my magic. It’s just probably hidden by some illusion, like Storybrooke itself. And Henry is the only person who sees the actual thing. He may actually be seeing stuff we never guessed is there and he treats it like something natural, because we’ve never told him otherwise.”

“And how does this change the fact that he behaves like a little grownup?”

“He is very grown up in his understanding of the world” Elena sighed. “I think he’s less childlike, due to being treated like a partner by all of us and if at the same time his brain is wired to see the reality in more real way, it makes him talk like a kid half again his age.”

“So, in fact, we might have messed him up a bit?” Emma rubbed her face with both hands.

“But in a good way, Emmy. He’s more responsible and communicates with us way better than kids at six do ‘normally’. He comes to us with every question and they are good, sensible questions. When he comments on something, it may be naive, but it’s not stupid. Like today, he said that what the shrink said was ‘silly’ – well, I thought the shrink was an idiot to tell me that we’re unfit to be parents, but I’d never say this in Henry’s presence. He made a correct assessment of the situation and summed it up in a way that made sense for him – fortunately we didn’t teach him any stronger vocabulary.”

Emma snorted.

“I hope the good doctor tries this again with Henry present. He’ll be in for a surprise from his supposed patient.”

“I’d rather he didn’t, actually. No need to make Henry look like a shrink client in front of his future schoolmates” Elena sipped her tea. “He’ll have enough challenges, if we actually stay here. Especially if we do break the curse.”

Elsa started giggling uncontrollably.

“Do you know what Henry is? I just suddenly understood…!”

They both looked at her suspiciously.

“Well, if Emma is the heir to the throne, or however it is called, then Henry, as her son, is second in line!”

“Wow” Emma grinned. “Imagine Neal’s face if he ever learnt about this.”

Elsa shivered.

“I hope he never does. Sorry to say, Emmy, but he was a useless loser, and he tried to frame you for the watch job – so if he ever knew that you’re an actual princess, he’d never leave you and never stop trying to empty your pockets.”

Emma shrugged.

“We’re not yet sure I actually am a princess, so let’s keep any kind of conjectures to ourselves until we have confirmation. But I’d much rather never see Neal again, if I may have a choice. Explaining to Henry that Neal is untrustworthy will be a tough task. He may accept it in principle, but Neal has this thing that makes people trust him, even in completely stupid circumstances, so Henry may be unable to resist him, if we ever meet him again.”

Elena caught her hand.

“I hope that before you ever have to, we’ll be able to surround Henry with enough other members of family to compensate for Neal’s so-called charm.”

“And his overall uselessness.”

Emma rolled her eyes.


A graying man in a dapper suit moved carefully around his shop, sorting the trinkets on his counter. His uneven gait made him look slightly unbalanced, but he managed quite well, at least until the moment he leaned his cane against one of the cabinets and managed to accidentally push it to the ground a moment later. By reflex he made two longer steps to catch it and only when he was holding it, he stumbled in surprise.

He sat heavily on the floor, hugging the cane and looking at his lame leg in astonishment.

“Well, that’s new” he finally said into the silence of his shop.

Some hanging glass decoration clinked quietly in response.

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Written by Srebrna

2017/10/22 at 22:43

Posted in Splinters

Tagged with , , , , , , ,

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.

Written by Srebrna

2016/09/20 at 23:14

Posted in Splinters

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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 , , , ,

Splinters 1 – Where dark woods hide secrets

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Summary: A boy, two baskets, three newborns. All in the woods in Maine. Sounds familiar?

He slowly picked himself up from the forest floor.

Ick.

His daddy always told him to keep himself clean. This wasn’t even remotely clean. This was mushy, mouldy and moist. Whole seat of his pants was covered in mud and there was nothing around that he could try to use to clean himself off. Just lots of decaying fall plants in a very leafy forest.

And he had to move.

His task, given by the two most important people in his life, was to find the basket and to get help for all of them.

Fortunately babies made noise, so he found the basket very quickly. Only it wasn’t the basket he wanted.

There was only one baby in it and it seemed there had never been a second one there.

Which meant now he had one baby and still had to find two more.


In a short time he was burdened with two baskets, for the total count of three tiny, squealing girls.

He dragged one basket twenty steps, left it there, went back for the other one, dragged it a bit ahead, went back…

He had to find some people before darkness or the babies would become ill. Or even die.

His hands were shaking and he felt a stitch in his side when he finally managed to drag them near some man-made surface. There was nothing natural about the even, black cover that smelled funny, so he had high hopes of finding someone at last.

As he stood there, shivering and trying to work out what to do next – he could not see any kind of human settlement in any direction – suddenly a noise and lights appeared as if out of nowhere and passed him with a smell of hot metal. He threw himself backwards into the bushes, trying to cover the baskets with his body, and curled there, in the mouldy leaves, hoping the monster had not noticed him.

The noise died abruptly and he heard some clicking and clunking from the direction of the road.

“Are you sure, Jim? I never saw nothing.”

“You never see nothing, Bart. There was a kid, all alone here, in the woods. He can’t stay here alone tonight, it’s going to be below freezing.”

“Jim, you’re seeing stuff. There was no kid…”

He saw a very strong beam of light go directly into the bush he was huddling under and suddenly there was a man leaning over him, watching him intently.

“Bart?”

“Yeah?”

“There’s more of them…”


The sheriff looked at wet and miserable boy and two baskets placed in his office by the burly truckers.

“You boys kidding me? Found them in the forest? What the hell do you think I’m going to do with them?”

Jim (who managed to get the boy to eat some of his sandwiches and drink hot tea from a thermos) leaned over the sheriff’s desk.

“You are going to get the social worker here and get her to take the kids into a safe place. We picked them up smack in the middle of the woods, no sign of anyone around. The boy was half-asleep but he says he dragged them in these baskets for hours. He says he doesn’t know where they started and that he has no idea where they came from. How does this sound to you? Because I reckon it sounds like some friggen commune of stoners lost four of their kids today and I’d much rather they were taken to a proper home than be left to die of cold in the woods. What do you think, Bart?”

Bart, who stayed mostly silent for the previous half-hour, nodded and mumbled “Aye” tersely.

Sheriff leaned back on his chair.

“So you picked up some kids in the forest and now you want to dump them in some orphanage?”

“They are not ours, if that’s what you mean. Look, these two are newborns. I was at my youngest birth at the hospital and he looked the same…” Bart finally found his voice. “Someone has to take them to the hospital and check them.”

“And it can’t be us, seeing as the truck is not supposed to carry any passengers. We took them from the woods, that was emergency. Now we’re here, you’re the local authority and you will take care of them. Get the social workers to take them. It’s your job.”


He shivered in the borrowed flannel shirt Bart wrapped around him and listened to the adults arguing. The man, seemingly someone official, was for whatever reason trying not to take the girls into his care. He knew very well what would happen if they were not taken care of. They would die and he would have failed.

He swallowed with effort. He saw many little children die of neglect in his time as a wooden puppet.

“Sir…” he pulled Jim’s sleeve and the big trucker turned to him.

“What do you want, kid?”

“Sir, can we get them somewhere warm? We were in the forest for hours, and they may get sick…” he made his best begging face, eyes big and round, looking even more innocent in the oversized shirt.

“You see, sheriff? Even the kid knows something must be done with them. But, if you say you can’t, you can just write this here, on this paper” Bart pulled a blank sheet from the shelf next to the rickety printer “that you deny care of foundlings, day this and that, and us as witnesses. And we’ll take the wee ones to the hospital.”

Sheriff finally stood up with a huff.

“I’ll go to the hospital with you” he said through clenched teeth.


The social worker came, made all appropriate papers appear, made a lot of noise over the state of boy’s attire, found something more or less his size in the hospital’s storage – “people really leave a lot of stuff here when they leave”, handed the shirt back to Bart, huffed at sheriff’s attempts at explaining and then gathered all four children, arranged for a transport to her office, pushed the boy to say his goodbyes to the truckers – Jim hugged him tight and Bart shook his thin hand – and almost magically relocated them to the nearest social services office.

His head was still spinning when he was sat in a high, hard chair in front of some other lady in wire-rimmed spectacles and asked a lot of questions, half of which he actually could not understand.

“So you took the girls? Where from?”

He blinked.

“From the forest, ma’am” he answered timidly. “They were crying and I thought they must be cold or hungry…”

“And you couldn’t feed them there?”

“Ma’am?”

“Why didn’t you feed them there?”

“I don’t think babies eat leaves” he said honestly. “They must drink milk and I didn’t have any.”

She surveyed him with her piercing eyes.

“So you say you found them in the middle of the woods? Nobody was around?”

“Nobody, ma’am. Only me and the three of them.”

“And how did you found yourself there? Where are you from?”

He sighed.

“I don’t know, ma’am. I know I used to live with my daddy and he was a… A…” he made a face. “A carpenter. He made wooden things. And someone shut me in a… A wardrobe? Or a box? And then I was in the forest and she was crying so I picked up the basket. And then I found the other two and I couldn’t just leave them there…” he suddenly coughed.

“Bloody hell” she murmured and rounded the desk. “You’re burning up, kid. What is your name?”

He squinted his eyes.

“Not sure, ma’am” he admitted, praying his nose would stay the same size despite all the lies he had to tell that day. “Mostly everyone called me ‘boy’ or ‘son’.”

Written by Srebrna

2016/07/07 at 23:22

Posted in Splinters

Tagged with , , ,