This story is by Mara Eason and was part of our 2018 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
‘Three children. We adopted three children.’ Sharon thought on the drive home from the orphanage. ‘It’s going to be okay. We can do this.’ Two days later…
Sharon and Landon hid in their basement, their clothes were ripped up and their skin was covered in cuts, bites, and burns. Sharon gingerly touched the deep cut on her forearm. She winced in pain and let a few tears slid down her dust covered cheeks. Landon wrapped an arm around his wife while rubbing the bite on his blood stained neck. Landon leaned in and shakily sighed. “We shouldn’t…they could…” Landon said quietly, the sound muffled by his wife’s thick red hair. Sharon rolled her eyes and shrugged her husband off of her. Sharon looked around the dark room suspiciously.
The couple jumped and quickly hid under a ping pong table in the corner of the room as the old basement stairs creaked. The tune of a foreign nursery rhyme could be heard echoing throughout the room. From under the table, the couple could see a small girl with long, tangled brown hair skipping and humming around the room. The girl twirled and hopped across the eerie room without a care in the world. Landon curled up into a small ball, trying to be as invisible as possible, while his six foot tall wife could barely fit under the table. Sharon sat in front of her terrified husband to act as some sort of shield; her sweetheart was not going to get hurt, not on her watch. As the little girl skipped closer to the table, Landon made a small noise and Sharon quickly covered his mouth. The girl whipped around, her hair moving out of her face to reveal bright, violet eyes. “Papa? Mama?” the girl called out. The small child’s eyes glowed slightly in the dark room, she closed her eyes and listened around the room. Sharon and Landon tried not to make a sound, their heartbeats so violent they were sure she could hear them.
The little girl walked to the far side of the room where they couldn’t see her. Sharon tried to crane her neck to see where she was but then hit her head on the table. A ping pong ball rolled off the table and Sharon shot her arm out quickly to grab it. But one of Sharon’s many bracelets fell off her arm and landed on the stone floor with a loud clang. The girl turned towards the table and giggled, “Mama! Papa!” The girl’s laugh echoed loudly throughout the room and the lights suddenly flickered on. The furniture started slowly floating a couple of feet in the air along with the table. Sharon slowly stood up with Landon reluctantly following her. Sharon shoved Landon behind her and put on the nicest face as she could manage. “Wilhelmina…Calm down for mama. Please.” The girl’s violet eyes shone brighter as she ran towards them at full speed. “Wilhelmina!” Sharon stretched her arms out in front of her, knowing very well that it wasn’t going to stop the girl. Wilhelmina’s palms glowed red before they completely burst into flames but the little girl seemed not to notice continued running towards her adoptive parents.
Wilhelmina squealed in joy and wrapped her arms around the couple who screeched in pain. They tried to free themselves from the six year old’s burning iron grip but she only hugged them tighter, which was probably going to leave some nasty marks. Wilhelmina finally let go and sat down on the floor next to them to ask them random nonsense questions. Sharon and Landon sunk to the floor and rubbed their scorched legs. They moaned in pain and glared at Wilhelmina, who only giggled and babbled incomprehensively while skipping around in a circle. Sharon pulled her knees up to her chest as she let a couple of tears slide down her face. ‘How did we get into this?’ she thought.
Sharon then felt her dog’s soft fur against her arm. She smiled and pet the dog softly. She was about to kiss the dog on top of its head until she heard her dog barking upstairs. Her blood ran cold and she looked around frantically for her husband, who seemed to have disappeared.
‘Oh no! Please no! Where could he be?!’ a loud growling sound pulled Sharon out of her thoughts. The creature was crouched down in front of her, ready to attack, its dark brown fur bristling slightly. The creature growled and bared its teeth and Sharon stood firmly and glared at it right in its eyes. The creature stood up on its hind legs and snarled, dark blue jean shorts could barely be seen among the mass of shaggy brown hair. Sharon stood up all the way, rising to her full height of 6’ 2”. Sharon clenched her shaking hands, squared her jaw, and glared at the creature with piercing green eyes. ‘Don’t back down. Don’t back down. Don’t back down.’ Sharon repeated to herself. The creature glared at her with sharp blue eyes but then bowed its head and laid down at her feet. Wilhelmina pointed and laughed, “Oh, brother’s in trouble!” she said before falling down in a fit of laughter.
Sharon kneeled down and lifted the creatures head. Up close, Sharon could make out the features of a young boy, particularly the one she adopted less than two days ago. “Tony, sweetie, stand up for mama.” Sharon said in her softest voice possible. Tony looked up with big, sad blue eyes and his tail tucked between his legs. Sharon sighed and opened her arms. “Come on.” Tony smiled and leaped into his adoptive mother’s open arms. Tony licked her face despite her attempts to push him away. Wilhelmina joined the hug and hugged her mother and brother tightly while giggling, causing them to hover a few inches off of the ground.
Meanwhile, Landon was running for his life from a seven year old girl. Landon jumped over the coffee table while the creature in pursuit of him simply flew over it. Landon wheezed and attempted to flip his sweat-soaked hair out of his face. ‘I’m not designed for running.’ He thought while turning a corner into a dead end hallway. ‘Crap.’ He heard a high pitched screech from close behind him. Landon slowly turned around to be face to face with a pale and angry seven year old. She was flying several feet in the air with the help of her bat-like wings. She glared at her father with a red, tear-stained face. Landon gulped and suddenly wished his trained athlete wife was next to him for some sort of protection. “Lucille, honey, I’m sorry I woke you up from your nap. But you were hanging upside down from the ceiling fan and looked dangero-AHH!!!” Landon was slammed against the wall as Lucille charged at him with her fangs out. Landon closed his eyes and waited for the pain but there was none.
Lucille hugged Landon tightly around his neck and wrapped herself around him when her wings retracted. “Sorry I scared you Papa.” Lucille cuddled closer to him and gently licked the dry blood off of his neck. Landon, bewildered and lightheaded, just hugged her back and walked into the living room. As he and Lucille plopped down on the torn-up couch, Sharon walked in with Wilhelmina on her shoulder and Tony following close behind her. She smiled triumphantly, “I have tamed the children!” she declared. Her husband gave her a half-hearted thumbs up before collapsing into himself from exhaustion. Sharon plopped down next to him and gave him a kiss on the cheek. Lucille and Tony jumped up and started chasing each other playfully while Wilhelmina laughed, making the furniture start hovering again.
The family’s old dog, Larry, crawled out from under the couch covered in bites and cuts. He jumped on the couch and fell asleep between Sharon and Landon. The exhausted couple looked at the playing children tiredly. “So,” Landon began, “do you still want to give them back?” Sharon looked at her husband confused. “Are you kidding me? Do you really want to hand them to the government to get experimented on? They were brought into our lives so they’re our responsibility.” Sharon said with finality. Landon nodded and slouched back. They watched as Lucille turned into a bat and flew around screeching at her barking little brother while Wilhelmina ran around on the ceiling. The couple smiled.
“They’re going to be a lot of work.”
“Of course they are. All children are.”
“Yes, but not all children are monsters.”
“My babies are not monsters! They’re the sweetest things on earth.”
“You know what I meant.”
“So what? We can handle them. We just need a sense of responsibility, the right amount of discipline, and unconditional love.” There was a big crash as Wilhelmina knocked down the chandelier. “Oopsie.”
“And tranquilizer darts. Definitely tranquilizer darts.”