|The Art of Resurrection
Author: Agent Daffodil PM
The athlete years ahead of her fellow students. The art student who paints reality. The Goth who's hiding something troubling. The quiet girl with the healing touch. They make a great team. This is a spin-off from The Institute but is mostly independent.Rated: Fiction M - English - Sci-Fi - Chapters: 17 - Words: 67,315 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 2 - Published: 05-14-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3022541
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
While I originally intended to make this story about something, for some reason I saw fit to try and make it about everything; as a consequence, it ended up being about nothing.
"Do you suppose there could be others?" said Rolf.
Dr. Applethorpe looked up from the notepad on which he had been writing. "What do you mean?"
"We were all supposed to be drawn together by the presence of PCC," said Rolf, spinning a pencil in his hands absentmindedly. "But what if not all of us made it? What if there are still others out there with—something special about them, something—"
He was interrupted by the shrill cry of a baby. "It seems Ashley requires your assistance," said Dr. Applethorpe.
"But, listen," said Rolf, seemingly oblivious to the doctor's observation. "You figure, Duane was the youngest out of all of us, right? And he was two. That means he—Naomba—didn't stop making us until two years ago, if not sooner. He needed to give us that time to develop. But what if there are others who didn't—or couldn't—come? They could still be out there."
"An interesting hypothesis," said Dr. Applethorpe over the frantic cries of "Rolf!" coming from the next room. "And it's one worth thinking over—at a more convenient time."
As if suddenly hearing his infant daughter's cries, Rolf cocked his head for a moment and then bolted from the room.
"This is bad."
"Calm down, Courtney," said Caleb. "He was probably overreacting."
"I don't know, he sounded pretty scared on the phone."
"Well, it wouldn't be the first time he's had problems with his foster parents," said Caleb. He didn't sound particularly worried, but Courtney noticed that he began to accelerate the car more quickly.
"This is what, the fourth home he's been in?" said Courtney as they pulled up to the house.
"Fifth, actually," said Caleb. "CYS has been called in at least a dozen times in this one. We might have to move him again."
"I hope not. This kid's had it rough."
As they were both exiting the vehicle, Courtney's ears pricked up at an explosion of sound coming from behind the door of the house they were in front of.
"Did you hear that?" said Caleb.
"Hurry," said Courtney, throwing herself up the stairs.
"CYS, open up!" said Caleb, pounding on the door.
The only reply was a terrified wail.
"I'm breaking down the door," said Caleb, backing up a few paces.
A few moments later, the door was off its hinges and the two were peering into the living room.
"Zachary!" called out Caleb. "Where are you?"
"You little bitch!" yelled an irate voice from the next room over.
At that moment, the child entered: running at top speed, his face streaming tears, blood seeping from a long gash on his cheek.
"Jesus," said Courtney, taking him in her arms. "Are you okay? What happened?"
His proportionately tiny hands clenched at her shirt and he let out a small whimper.
"Come back here!" screeched the same voice as before.
And then she came into the room, a wild fire in her eyes, a long kitchen knife clenched in her upraised fist, the edge wet with a crimson shine. She advanced a few steps into the room but then stopped, seeming not to register there was anyone else in the room until a few seconds after she had entered.
The knife fell to the floor with a clatter, sending small globules of blood jumping to the floor.
"I didn't hear you come in," said Zachary's foster mother, wiping her hands down her front.
"Obviously not," said Caleb. The boy still clinging to Courtney let out another small, terrified whine.
"I suppose you're going to take him now," said the woman, wiping her hands on her pants, leaving smears of red down her thighs.
"Yes, I think we will now," said Courtney.
"Fine. Get him away from me. I never want to see him again. But!" Her voiced turned into a hiss. "Warn his next parents what they're getting into."
"It's not my fault," came a strangulated sob from Zachary. "I'm sorry."
"Of course it's not your fault, honey," whispered Courtney.
"You're going to be late for school!"
"No I'm not!" retorted Vincetta, pulling on her socks, stuffing her notebooks into her backpack, gulping down the rest of her breakfast, and artfully avoiding her mother's attempts to hug her, all at once.
"Who cares if she's late?" came a lackadaisical voice from the next room. "It's not like she really even needs to go."
"Doesn't need to go!" said Vincetta's mother, exasperated. "Of course she needs to—Honey! Don't forget your lunch!"
"Got it!" said Vincetta, waving a brown sack around like a trophy.
"And don't forget to be polite to your teachers, and make lots of friends—" her mother rattled off, flattening her hair.
She ducked away, her backpack flying out behind her, and sprinted out the door. "Got it, Mom!"
A child lay curled in his bed, nestled deeply under the blankets as if they were a protective cover, dozing but not quite asleep. A nightlight, plugged into an outlet near the ground, cast a soft yellow arc of light about the room, its hazy halo just barely falling onto the covers and bathing them in the glow.
With a snapping sound, the nightlight went out.
The child's eyes were suddenly wide open. Like two huge saucers in the darkness, they landed on the lightless light. Darkness fell onto the room like a suffocating curtain.
"Mom," he called. But no one answered.
His closet, halfway open, draped in shadow, emanating blackness, commanded his full attention for a moment.
"Mom," he called again, slightly louder.
"The power went out." He heard his unseen parents whisper to each other across the hall.
"Can you go check on him?"
There was a rustling sound and the creaking of floorboards.
His gaze returned again to his closet, and in his mind the creaking of the floorboards become the growl of some terrible monster, the coat spilling out onto the was the tentacle of a beast crawling its way towards him, and the pinpoints of light reflecting on his wall from the neighbors' streetlights suddenly came from the glowing eyes of a phantasmal demon.
His father was in the room.
"Dad," said the child, not moving from his fortified position under the covers, "there's a monster in my closet."
His father sleepily put a flashlight on his bed and rubbed the child's back. "It's okay, it's only your imagination."
The child's doubt that filled the silence following this statement was lost on the father, who yawned.
The two yellow points of light coming from the closet slowly disappeared and then reappeared, like the sardonic blinking of an imagined creature.