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Nicholas and Sophia Hemsworth have once again been sent a child to `save` but like the others before he it seems like the Taint will take her over before Nick can even try and heal her...
I'm not sure if I'll carry on with this one, it was more of a little exercise to get the creative juices flowing after not writing for so long.
“Her name’s Ava, I believe. It’s what the tag around her ankle says.” Nicholas cast his gaze down to the blonde top of his wife’s head. Sophia stared resolutely through the window into the little room where ‘Ava’ lay sleeping on a white, pillow-less bed. All of the children who came from the Hub had names beginning with ‘A’. It wouldn’t matter what her name was when Nicholas began his work anyway, according to the tag or otherwise. Afterwards they’d be able to call her whatever they wanted to. If there was an afterwards “We’ll need to start the testing soon, Sophie.” He tenderly ran a hand through her blonde curls. They were standing in a small side-room, attached to the bedroom through the glass in much the same fashion as a similar space would be attached to a police interrogation room. The walls were painted a dull grey and the only light came from a little wooden desk to their right.
Sophia’s hands curled into fists at her side, their pink tips turning white from the tension in her body. “She’s the youngest they’ve sent in some while, Nick.” She whispered, her voice hoarse. “I thought they weren’t sending anymore young ones.”
Nick made an uncomfortable sound in the back of his throat, his hand stilling in Sophia’s hair, twining a blonde strand around one long finger. “What she did...it was quite severe, Sophia. I don’t believe they think they have any choice in the matter. If they try and strip her of the taint then I’m sure they think she will go insane. Michael said she is quite unstable at the best of times.” He wanted to spare his wife the details. The image of five dead bodies flashed before his eyes, their scarlet blood staining the cream carpet, eyes frozen wide in eternal shock; and the two children... A grimace marred his handsome face; he had seen the pictures.
Sophia eyes were mournful as she stared at the tiny girl; her mouth set in a sad line, already anticipating the loss she knew was coming. “So death is a better alternative,” she sighed. “I find their logic confusing.”
Nicholas shook his head. “No, Sophie, we don’t know that she will be like the others. I’m led to believe she’s quite a rare case.”
“There have been nine ‘rare cases’, Nick and yet not one of them is lying sleeping upstairs, not one of them is breathing upstairs. Instead, all nine have been shipped back to the Hub for a discreet burial.” Sophia placed one small white hand against her throat. “God, if they had parents-“
Nick reached for her hand, gripped it tightly, feeling her wedding band digging slightly into his fingers as they wrapped around hers. “They don’t have parents, Sophia. It’s why they’re sent here. I will try this time; I will really try to save her. I can’t make you a promise, she is the smallest of them all and she must be very strong to withstand it...”
Sophia made a noise and stepped forward, closer to the window, pulling her hand from Nick’s. She studied the girl. Her face was peaceful and unlined in sleep, creamy cheeks spotted with a natural pink blush. Chestnut coloured hair tumbled in curls over her shoulders and down across her chest as she shifted in sleep and curled up on her side, making herself into a ball. She really was very tiny, much too small for a normal eight year old, but then she was seriously malnourished, Sophia supposed, and perhaps tortured by guilt. After all, Sophia could not imagine how someone so small could not feel remorse for doing what she had done. If all the reports were right then it had been an accident and the blame couldn’t be placed solely upon the child’s shoulders, not with the taint affecting her like it was.
Sophia nodded her head as though her business in the room was finished and turned from her husband towards the door. He’d pulled her out of bed as soon as the girl had arrived and the clock on the wall said it was half past four in the morning. As she placed her hand on the handle she turned back and stared at Nick with perfectly blue eyes. She took him in, his mussed brown hair and matching eyes staring at her through thin-rimmed spectacles, mouth drawn tight with a strange sort of despair. He looked more like his life’s vocation should be one full of grading history tests, not delivering certain death at the behest of his employers.
“Nicholas,” his wife said, her voice clear, “If you kill this one, I’m not sure I will have it in me to forgive you.” And then she left through the door, leaving him standing with a deep sense of dread settling upon his broad shoulders.
Sophia had returned to bed hoping that, despite the morning’s events, she would be able to sleep. Instead she lay beneath the thick covers, her gaze fixed intently on the swirls decorating the plaster of her bedroom ceiling. Two hours had passed since she had left Nick and the house was still about her; no sign nor sound indicated what was taking place in her basement. Not even a scream.
The clock on her bedside table gave a shrill ring to indicate it was seven o’ clock and she reached across to switch it off, but made no move to get out of bed. It was a Saturday. Her own children would not stir for another three or four hours and even though she knew that there were things about the house that needed to be done, she also knew that once downstairs there would only be inches of carpet and floor separating her from the poor little girl that only hours previously had been safe and sound in sleep.
Her bedroom door swung open, banging against the cream wall and making her jump. Nick stood in the doorway, his eyes wide, and a haunted look hidden in their chocolate depths. They were red-rimmed; he’d been crying. Sophia placed a hand against her chest and felt a familiar ache there as her own tears gathered in her eyes. Each time they hoped for a different outcome, but it was always the same. She wanted to go to him but she couldn’t quite make herself stand. “Oh Nick-“
“Sophie, she’s alive.” Nick interrupted her, his voice full of several different emotions. “She...she’s downstairs and she’s alive. I touched her mind, Sophie and I healed her and she didn’t die. We’ve been talking. She’s not insane and she’s breathing and I...I made her a bowl of cereal.’
She was alive! Joy surged through Sophia as she leapt from the bed and flung her arms around Nick’s neck. He clung to her in an almost desperate sort of way, as if he truly believed that at any moment the little girl downstairs would drop down dead and all of his hope would be cruelly snatched away. As if that same thought had entered Nick’s mind too he murmured against her hair ‘I have to go back, I have to make sure she doesn’t...”
Sophia pushed him away quickly with a smile, “What happens now? Where does she go?”
Nick looked down at her, “Protocol says she stays with us whilst she recuperates and we assess whether the process has been truly successful and then they’ll relocate her, but this has never happened before, I don’t know if...” He trailed off and looked back at his wife as if a sudden thought had occurred to him. “We have to name her. We can’t keep her as Ava. She’s not an Ava, I don’t think.” Affection lit his eyes and a small smile decorated his lips; affection for the little girl downstairs. A small gleeful heat warmed Sophia’s stomach. She had a name prepared. She’d chosen a name for a boy and a name for a girl as soon as the Hub had told them that they’d be sending the children. As each child had failed under Nick’s testing she had feared that they would never be used but now...
“Zera. We’ll call her Zera.” Sophia answered with a wide smile. It was, of course, apt. ‘Z’ was the furthest a letter could be away from the letter ‘A’.
|Lost and Found|