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Child of the Heart (YYSLSC)

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posted on Dec, 18 2008 @ 11:14 PM

Child of the Heart

As she turned into the driveway, Marty spotted the big white dog waiting for her and couldn’t suppress a grin. This routine never got old, the dog waiting for her and running ahead of the truck all the way up the driveway. Angel and Buddy were waiting at the corner, and that too made her smile as she rolled down the window to call a greeting. Intellectually, she knew perfectly well that the horses were anticipating their evening feed more than her return home, but she chose to ignore it. As she backed into her parking spot, the geese began their usual ruckus, and she could hear the inside dogs barking at the kitchen door and the usual flock of birds fighting noisily over spots at the feeder. It was good to be home.
Marty could never explain, even to herself, where her love of animals and country living had come from. As a child she’d moved all over the country with her military Dad, but they always lived in a town or city. She entered the house, let the inside dogs out, changed clothes, and cheerfully began her evening routine of “chores” - feeding, watering, and cleaning up.
The early sunset was only a minor inconvenience; as the sun sank behind the trees and the light faded she switched on her headlamp and continued to work. A few moments later she switched it off again as the light behind her brightened again. She paid little attention until she realized that the light was too bright to be the sun, and the wrong color. She turned abruptly to find the source.
A cigar-shaped craft bobbled awkwardly through the air and made a loud crunch as it plopped onto the gravel driveway. For a moment it crossed her mind that the clumsy landing seemed odd for superior technology, then she was torn between fear and amazement and fought the urge to run. The manure fork dropped out of her trembling fingers as a hatch opened, revealing the interior of the small vehicle.
Two of the occupants sat in padded seats in a semi-reclining position. The third was much smaller and was being held in the arms of what looked more or less like a human woman. The woman beckoned to Marty, a “come here” gesture that was unmistakable in any language.
Marty took a deep breath and headed for the gate. How often had she dreamed of having such an encounter? If she ran away from it now she wouldn’t be able to live with herself afterwards. Having remembered to close the gate behind her in spite of her overwhelming emotions and fear, Marty approached the still beckoning woman.
The stranger held the child out to Marty and said three words: “ Hide. Protect. Promise.”
Marty recoiled. What was going on here? Why would a stranger - possibly an alien stranger - want to give her a child?
“Please.” said the woman. “We die. Fall. Hide. Protect.”
“Fall?” repeated Marty questioningly. It was the only word that didn’t seem to make sense.
“Fall. Broken. Ship broken, fall. Hide baby.”
Marty tried to think. The craft is broken and they’re going to crash? But .. why? Why didn’t they just get out of it now?
“Crash.” said Marty aloud. “Don’t crash, get out.”
“Crash! Yes. Broken, must crash, we die. Hide baby. Promise please.”
Marty tried desperately to make sense of the broken English. The ship is broken so they have to crash it and will die .. but she doesn’t want the baby to die? Marty shook her head and made a helpless gesture with her hands. What did she know about taking care of a toddler - much less an alien toddler!
The woman extended her arms until the boy was clear of the ship and then suddenly let him go. He would have fallen to the gravel road had not Marty grabbed and caught him, but her reflexes and instinct worked faster than her mind, and she did catch him.
“Protect Calvin!” said the woman as the hatch closed abruptly. It would have hit Marty and the boy had not Marty stumbled backwards out of the way in time, but reflexes saved them again. The ship wobbled into the air and flew jerkily off over the trees as Marty stood and stared, still holding the boy. When it was out of sight, the boy turned to look at Marty, and she met his beautiful lavender eyes for the first time.
After a moment, the boy wiggled in a manner that even Marty translated to mean that he wanted down. She bent over and set him on his feet, still staring after the ship. “Calvin?” she said absently. “Is that your name?”
“Calvin,” the boy agreed, sounding sad. Then Khan trotted up and licked him square in the face, and he began to giggle as he tried unsuccessfully to push the large dog away.

Calvin’s presence had caused many problems, and although Marty had solved most of them, she didn’t know what to do or say now.
“He killed the dog!” her husband Josh shouted again angrily. “Your little pet monster killed Merlin.”
Marty had returned from feeding the animals to a scene of chaos. Merlin lay on the couch, Ringo was hiding under the coffee table, Calvin was squeezed into a corner crying, and Josh was pacing the living room like a maddened tiger. She walked over to Merlin, touched his head, and looked into his eyes. Still warm, he was undeniably dead but there wasn’t a mark on him.
“HOW did he kill Merlin?” Marty finally asked as Josh stopped pacing and glared at her. “I don’t see any marks. Did he choke him?”
“How the hell should I know HOW he did it!” Josh shouted. “He was petting the dog and then he said 'Dog hurt' and backed off. When I checked on Merlin, he was dead.”
“Well, maybe Merlin just died while Calvin was petting him,” Marty responded in a calm voice. “Why do you think Calvin killed him if you didn’t see him hurt Merlin?”
“Bullcrap. Merlin didn’t just die. That little monster killed him somehow. Merlin was fine a few minutes ago.”
Marty tried to glance at Calvin without moving her head, but Josh caught the movement and was outraged all over again. “Oh, that’s great. You care more about that alien THING than about me or the dog who’s protected us for 14 years.” Josh turned and stomped out of the room and then out of the house, letting the storm door slam violently behind him.
Marty turned to look at Calvin, who met her eyes with that lavender gaze and said sadly “Josh hate Calvin.”
“No, sweetie, he doesn’t hate you. He’s just angry right now. What happened to Merlin?”
Calvin stood up into the light, and Marty saw the tears in his eyes. “Dog hurt,” said Calvin. “Calvin fix. Dog not hurt now.”
Marty froze, and for an instant rage rose in her and nearly choked her. “You DID kill Merlin!” she burst out, and turned away from the boy to look at the dog.
Merlin looked asleep, and peaceful. There was something different about his face, she noticed. Somehow it was smoother. Her mind raced through thoughts of all the discussions they’d had about Merlin and how much pain he’d been in. Marty had more than once suggested they take him to the vet to be euthanized, but Josh wouldn’t hear of it. He loved the old dog and couldn’t face the idea of losing him, so he rationalized that Merlin wasn’t really that bad. He still went outside, still ate, was still continent. It wasn’t time yet. Had Calvin felt the dog’s pain and somehow euthanized him? Perhaps this was an act of mercy, not violence. She turned back to look at Calvin and found him still standing in the same spot, tears rolling silently down his face.
“Good dog Merlin, “ he said. “Good dog.”
“Yes, Merlin was a good dog, “ Marty replied, glancing again at the still black form on the couch. “Did you help Merlin stop hurting?”
Calvin understood better than he talked, and nodded his head in agreement as Marty got it right. “Dog not hurt now,” he repeated.

posted on Dec, 18 2008 @ 11:19 PM
Long after Calvin had been tucked into bed and Merlin moved to the porch pending burial, Josh returned to the house.
“I’m sorry, but that’s it,” he told Marty. “It’s me or him now. You get rid of that thing or I’m leaving.”
“Josh ... It’s not a thing, it’s a child.” Marty retorted. This was an old argument with a new twist, but this would be the last time they would have it. “I can’t just throw him out. His mother asked me to protect him.”
“He isn’t your responsibility. He’s not even your species. I’m done with this discussion. Either he goes or I go, and that’s it.”
Josh crossed his arms and waited for Marty to give in, but she didn’t. “I’m sorry you feel that way,” was all she said, and she walked out of the room with tears in her eyes.
Josh couldn’t believe it. He’d been sure that Merlin’s murder, and this ultimatum, would finally make Marty see what she had to do, but it hadn’t. Now he’d have to stick to his word and leave.

Marty was at her wit’s end. Josh’s salary had exceeded his cost, and without him they were in trouble. She’d already sold off everything she could and still didn’t have enough to pay the overdue electric bill. As she tried to rearrange figures to get a different result, Calvin walked up to her holding a piece of paper.
“Win,” he said, and shoved the paper under her nose. It contained a row of six figures, meaningless so far as Marty could see. “Win.” said Calvin again, and dropped the paper on the desk. Six figures. Six numbers. Pick six. “The lottery?” she said aloud, and looked at Calvin.
He nodded and touched the paper. “Win.” he said firmly again, and then walked away.
They could ill afford to spare the dollar, but Marty got a dollar’s worth less gas and bought the ticket. Calvin never complained and seldom asked for anything. He’d know if she didn’t even try, and she owed him that much. One dollar.
One dollar that turned into seventeen thousand when the winning numbers were announced, and Marty was able to relax for the first time in months. It wouldn’t last forever, but it would last a while, and for now all the bills were paid and there was money in the bank. Asking Calvin to do it again was tempting, but Marty won that argument with herself. Calvin had written down the numbers on his own and given them to her. Taking them was all right, but exploiting whatever ability he had would not be all right. They’d make it somehow without resorting to that, and she wouldn’t have to give in and call Josh, either.

Marty and Calvin were on the hill following a wandering tarantula that fascinated the boy when the ship showed up. She grabbed Calvin and ran for the house while the ship settled to the ground behind them. When the strangers got to the door, Calvin was nowhere to be seen and Marty faced them with a shotgun and Ringo growling by her side.
“That is not necessary,” said the tall man with Calvin’s eyes in passably good English. “We come not to hurt him or you.”
“You’ll have to kill me to get him,” replied Marty. “She asked me to protect him, and that’s what I’ll do.”
“Not from us,” he answered. “I am the father of his father. We come to take him home.” He glanced at Ringo, who stopped growling, and Marty felt Calvin standing behind her.
“I told you to HIDE,” she hissed at Calvin without taking her eyes - or the shotgun - off of the man.
“Egsel oday nuk hal too leckin,” said Calvin, and the man answered him with a similar, but much longer, string of gibberish.
“Okay,” said Calvin, and put his hand on Marty’s arm and patted it. “Okay. Family.”
Marty slowly lowered the shotgun and turned to look at Calvin. “Okay? Are you sure?”
Calvin nodded, and smiled through the tears forming in the corners of his eyes. “I love you Marty,” he said as he often had. “They love too.”
“Okay, Calvin. Okay. I love you too, and I trust you. You’re never wrong.” She put the shotgun down and turned back to her visitors. “Come in. I guess you are taking him away, but I guess that’s what he wants.”
“You come too. Honored guest for life, you care for our child,” the man replied, and a smile reached his eyes. “You care for Calvin, we care for you. Come too.”
Marty looked down at Ringo, and then out the window at Angel, alone since the sale of Buddy. They were what she’d wanted all of her life, and they were her responsibility just as Calvin had been. How could she leave them?
“Call bigger ship,” said Calvin’s grandfather with a chuckle. “Take them too, we learn about them. You teach children about Earth and animals.”
Angel loaded like an angel, Khan and Ringo followed Calvin eagerly, and there were plenty of willing volunteers to help round up the geese and chickens. Marty was the last to step aboard. She looked back at her home one last time expecting to fight back tears, but realized that everything that had made it home was either gone or already on the ship. The empty house did not tug at her heart after all. She stepped forward, following what did call to her heart, and let the hatch close behind her with no regrets.

They reached Josh at work a week later, and asked him if he knew where Marty was. She hadn’t shown up for work and they couldn’t reach her. Her boss had even driven to the house and found no one home.
Josh’s heart sank as he rolled up the driveway. The only animals he saw were a couple of squirrels, and that was very wrong. He opened the unlocked side door and went in, knowing already what the house would tell him as he stepped inside. They were gone. He didn’t know how or where, but they were gone. He’d waited these many months for the call from Marty that would tell him she’d come to her senses and the alien child was gone, Josh could come home. Now, at last, he knew that call would never come.
Josh sat in his favorite chair in the cold, empty house which had once been his much loved home. As the sun turned beautiful shades of orange and red and sank behind the tall oak trees, he sat motionless and stared out the window, watching through steady tears the empty bird feeder swinging forlornly in the breeze.

posted on Dec, 19 2008 @ 05:21 PM
heike this is a very lovely story.
i like it!

you got a talent to paint a picture for my mind!

posted on Jan, 17 2009 @ 03:31 PM
The first well deserved Flag and Star for you my friend, a beautiful and winning story. My heart is content.

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