Part 2 of 5. Part 1 The Past.
The next morning she had awoken to the sound of breaking glass and the police had found her huddled underneath her bed. They had carried her off to a hospital and had been very nice to her, asking her lots of questions about herself; her name, age, favorite color, her rabbit’s name. They had given her markers and paper and asked her to draw pictures.
They ooh’d and ahh’d over them like the ladies had at the house but then they’d take the pictures away and she could see the lines etched deep into their foreheads.
She asked what happened to her daddy, the ladies in fancy dresses, and daddy’s friends.
They said they were still looking.
She was moved to a place “for kids like her” and there she had been for the past seven months.
The police didn’t visit anymore. In the beginning they had asked her the same questions over and over.
They believed her when she said her daddy wasn’t her real daddy.
They believed her stories about the ladies and their cookies and how’d they go with daddy’s friends and sometimes she’d go too.
But they didn’t believe her when she told them what happened that night. About the woman with the man’s voice and the hooded people with bodies draped in their arms and how they disappeared into the blue light. She drew picture after picture of them, hoping if she drew a better one they would believe her but all she could draw where bulky stick figures with the markers.
Specialists paraded through all with the mission to make her better.
She hadn’t realized there was anything wrong with her.
One day, a man in a white coat sat at her table in the day room.
“Hello, Emma. My name is Dr. Gold,” he said in the same soft voice all the doctors and nurses used. “How are you today?”
Emma didn’t look up from her drawing. Her black and red markers had dried up and she was forced to use navy and orange.
“I’m here to talk to you about your friend you met on the last night at your former residence. Is that her?” he pointed at the picture and she put her hand over it. “I’m not here to judge you.”
“Nobody believes me. They said she’s imaginary.”
“I believe you,” he said.
“You’re lying!” she accused him.
He smiled and leaned in so close she thought he was going to kiss her. “I’ve seen her too.”
Her eyes widened as he pulled back and set a folder between them. “Do you want to see my drawing?”
“Now, I’m going to warn you. It’s nowhere near as good as yours.” He opened the folder.
It was her.
Drawn in black and red conte crayon, it wasn’t her exact likeness. Her eyes were lifeless but it was enough to make her believe.
“Do you know her name?” Emma asked.
“I admire your willingness to work with Emma, Dr. Gold, but I’m not sure we will be allowed to send her out of the state to attend your,” the administer glanced down at the brochure. “Institute for Special Youth.”
“She’s been here for seven months and has yet to be placed with a foster family. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to rehabilitate her,” he opened his arms to her in a passionate plea.
“I understand but I do not believe a youth program will be supportive enough. She was raised in a brothel. She’s been exposed to so much.”
“And if you keep treating her like she’s broken, she’ll only break more,” he leaned over her desk. “The Institute is the only program of its kind that works to empower kids like Emma; raise them above their abuse to keep them from reentering the cycle. Our graduates go on to lead normal lives.”
The administer sifted through the brochures he had given her of smiling young adults and titles like “Rising Up From the Ashes” and “Breaking the Cycle of Abuse”.
“I will forward your request, but I cannot make any promises,” she said.
“Fair enough,” he agreed and that genuine smile crossed his face again. Genuinely sharp.
Seven Years Later
Its job was to gather the dead, feed off the essence from the dying, and take the meat back to be given to the guardians.
It did not gather trash.
But in that back alleyway, with a body flung over its shoulder, something caught the gatherer’s eye and the body was quickly discarded. It snatched the wet newspaper clinging to the fire escape ladder and carefully smoothed out the wrinkles.
The closeness of the red and black in the picture had caught its eye. Reminded it of someone.
It stuffed the newspaper into its cloak and dragged the body into the blue.
The newspaper was dry by the time it reach Overlord Eight and he took it from the gatherer, grimacing as the ink came off on his fingers. The green spirals of his goggles narrowed in on the picture. It wasn’t one of his guardians.
But the resemblance to one in particular was too close.
“Bring S.M. to me,” he told the gatherer. “She will have to answer for this.”
A/N: Is it bad form to share the same initials as your main character? ^^;
Edit 5/11/18: Part 3 — When the Past Haunts