Disclaimer: See Part 1
Olwyn put the vacuum away, and walked into the kitchen. The front door creaked open.
“Olwyn,” Sadie called out.
Olwyn ran with arms out. Hugging Sadie, “Hi, Momma. I major missed you.” I wonder how long I have to do this.
“We did too,” Sadie said. “Go ahead and pack. Today is the day we go home.”
“Yes, Momma.” School doesn't start for another couple weeks. Kallistrate said just go along with it unless it means danger. Olwyn packed up her suitcase and bag, finishing an hour later. At the bedside window, a note hung from the top. She stopped to listen, hearing giggling coming from her parents' room. She closed her bathroom door and pulled the letter toward her. She would check the suitcase and my bag. The only place left… She tore open the envelope taking out the letter, stuffing it in her bra. Now the envelope. Uhm…well…I do have to go. Finishing business, she threw the envelope in the toilet and flushed. She fluttered her lips and slumped her shoulders.
“Oh there you are,” Oliver said.”Ready to go? I got your bags already.”
“Yes, Daddy. I love you.” I thought they would.
“Let's go then.”
Olwyn walked ahead, attempting to focus her sight and hearing around her.
The car ride was quiet, no radio or conversation along the way. Goosebumps formed as the air conditioner blew on Olwyn. She watched the passing scenery, I wonder if Pipperelle left already and who the note was from. I'm nothing but a lab rat. All of this because why? I can't believe they want to do that. They want to…I can't think about it.
The car pulled into their driveway. Olwyn got out of the car and walked up to the front door. It's what I used to do.
“Go ahead and go inside,” Sadie said, throwing her the keys. “See what we have to make dinner with and start cooking.”
Olwyn ran down the steps and caught the keys with both hands. “Yes, Momma.”
Go to my room first or—
“What do we have?”
It's kitchen. Olwyn opned the pantry. “We have tomato soup, minestrone soup, and chicken soup in the pantry.”
“Nothing in the fridge,” Sadie said, closing the refrigerator. “Call for pizza. The number is by the phone. You know what to order. Tell me the amount when you're done.”
Now to call the pizza place. Number number. Oh. . .
“Pizza Palace,” The pizza clerk asked.
“Yes, Hi! I'd like to order one large cheese pizza and garden salad for three.”
“Anything to drink?” The pizza clerk asked.
“Nothing to drink and could you deliver that please?”
“That will be two dollars for delivery.”
“And your address?”
“15 Adumbrate Lane.”
“That will be twenty-three-ninety-eight. It will be thirty to forty minutes.”
Olwyn ran upstairs. The old me would walk in. So here I go. “Mom, it's twenty-three-ninety-eight.”
“What did you order?” Sadie asked. “Your daddy is in the shower.”
“I ordered cheese pizza and salad for three.”
“Get your daddy a beer and we'll have water.”
“Here's the money before you go.”
Olwyn took the twenty-four dollars from her mother. She sat on the sofa, staring at the blank TV screen. Now what, they would expect me to be downstairs waiting. I wonder why daddy would shower now. He hasn't before. She heard feet running down the stairs. Picking up the remote for the televsion, it was turned on.
“Olwyn,” Oliver said. “We changed our mind. Your mother and I are going out tonight.”
“Am I coming too? I could be major good.” Did that make sense?
“You are staying here,” Oliver said. “We'll be back late. Don't wait up”
“Oooh, it sounds like you are going to have a major good time. I am so macro happy for you.”
Oliver ran upstairs and Olwyn turned toward the television to see a Spanish program. On the nth channel change, the doorbell rang.
She put the pizza and salad on the table. Chances are I'm the only one that's going to be eating this. Left over pizza and salad in the fridge, she washed her glass and put it away.
“Good night Ollie,” Sadie said.
“Good night, Momma,” Olwyn said, hugging her mother.
“Alone in the house, I can read the letter.” A knock sounded at the door. “Did they forget something?”
“What—“ Olwyn looked up, and smiled. “Hi Kallistrate. I didn't know you came back today.”
“We saw you leave and thought it might be a good idea to leave as well. I saw them leave you alone again.”
“I think they'll be returning. Late though.”
“All right. If you need anything, you remember the number.”
“Yes, ma'am. I do.”
Kallistrate nodded her head, turning around to leave.
Olwyn sat on her bed, taking out the letter.
I just wanted to tell you that I enjoyed your company. I know that sounds lame but it's not meant to be that way. If you need anything, you know where I'm at.
Now what am I—The shredder. Olwyn ran downstairs to her father's home office. She put the letter through the shredder, packing the paper before leaving the office.
She went to bed staring at the window, tracing the tree shadow with her eyes.
The next morning, she stepped into the hallway. Nobody downstairs. I don't smell coffee. She tiptoed to her parents' room. I hear heavy breathing. They're sleeping .
Olwyn went into the kitchen and started the coffee. It's what momma does and they would expect me to. Three scoops for ten cups. Now eggs and toast. Or wait until they wake up. She stood outside the door, and listened. Someone's in the shower. I'll go back downstairs and start cooking . But we don't have anything besides pizza and salad. And soup.
“Olwyn,” Oliver said, walking into the kitchen. “We'll be going out this morning. Get a list together of what you need to last for two weeks. Your momma and I will be leaving.”
“But, Daddy,” it sure seems like a lot. Or am I imagining things . “I'll macro miss you. I just got you back.” Does that sound lame?
“It has to be done. We'll be leaving in thirty minutes.”
“All of us?”
“Listen. Your momma and myself.”
“Oh. That's it? But what about me? I'm your Baby Doll.”
“You're old enough to take care of yourself.” Oliver ran upstairs, disappearing down the hallway.
I can't understand. I don't understand. Why? I want to scream. I want to end my life. Why God? She paced the kitchen , I can't cry now. They'll know. She grabbed a pad of paper and wrote the grocery list.
“Have you finished?” Sadie asked.
“Yes, Momma.” Olwyn gave her the list. “I'll macro miss you. How come you have to major leave so much?”
“That's the way life is sometimes. We'll return with the food in about an hour, and we'll only be here long enough to give you the groceries.”
Oliver came down with the suitcases and followed Sadie out of the house.
Olwyn stood in front of the door, watching the sunlight reflect off the doorknob. She turned her head, and looked at the blank television screen. “Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday dear Olwyn. Happy birthday to you. Blow out your candels. Yay!” Sadie sang. I can still see her clapping when I blew them out. She would every time. She would tell me I was the only angel and it's her duty to protect me from the bad monsters. It can't all be lie. It can't.
The doorbell rang. “Why are they gone so much?” Olwyn asked through tears.
“Hey,” Pipperelle said, caressing Olwyn's cheek. “It's okay. We're still here. I can't answer your question, because I don't know. I just came to find out if you have a little bit.”
“I don't know if I want to know anymore. It can't all be a lie.”
“Shh.” Pipperelle put her index finger on Olwyn's lips. “Mom feels you need to know. The more you know, the better off you will be. When are they supposed to return?”
“I don't know. Maybe an hour.”
Pipperelle nodded her head. “I'll be back then.”
Olwyn closed the door. She went to the linen closet and grabbed a washcloth. Filling a bowl with ice water, she dipped the cloth and put it on her eyes.
“We love you Baby Doll,” Sadie said. “How about if I brush your hair? Then we'll work on numbers again. You're just so smart for a nine-year-old.” I don't want to remember any more . Olwyn threw off the washcloth. The front door opened, Oliver and Sadie walked in with the groceries.
“You're on your own for two weeks.” Sadie walked out of house, closing the door behind her.
Olwyn stood up and watched her father's BMW leave the driveway. The groceries put away, she grabbed her keys and left the house.
The sidewalk gleamed under the summer sun. The neighbor's front yard sprinklers showered water on her skin. She stopped and looked at Pipperelle's front yard, the weeping willow in the middle, surrounded by flowers. It almost looks like paradise. All they need is a pond and a mermaid. The purple flowers look pretty by the walkway.
The front door opened, “It's okay,” Kallistrate said. “You can come in.”
Olwyn looked toward the front door, then back to the tree. She heard footsteps coming in her direction.
“What is it missing?”
“Well. I was thinking all it needs is a pond and a mermaid.”
“I told Afton something was missing. It'll be great, she said. We'll put a weeping willow in the middle surround it with flowers and put lavender around the yard and walkway. It'll be a great contrast, she said. I told her we needed something and you proved my point. Let's go before I get the inclination to go to the nursery and get a pond, and have Pipperelle put Georgie in her mermaid costume from last year. Throw Georgie in the pond.”
Olwyn started laughing, “I think Pipperelle would enjoy that.”
“I'll make you breakfast, then we'll talk after that.”
Olwyn followed Kallistrate into the house, closing the door behind her.
“Go ahead and get cleaned up, it'll be a few minutes.”
Olwyn nodded her head and walked in the direction of the bathroom, being pulled into another room.
“Aaaaa!” Olwyn screamed.
Pipperelle put her hand over Olwyn's mouth, muffling the cry. Olwyn looked up and growled.
“Hi,” Pipperelle said, waving and smiling. “I'm going to let you go now. Be nice. Okey dokey?”
“You could have told me to come in rather than pull me in.”
“I have to wash up.” Olwyn walked into the bathroom. She stared into the mirror, “No, you can't go with daddy,” her mother said. “He'll be back with pizza and salad for all of us. I'll stay here with you. Always remember, ladies don't eat spicy food. We are much too delicate for that.” She's been telling me that ever since I can remember. She also used to tell me I was a precious Baby Doll that needed to be protected from the monsters outside. Why? Face and hands washed, she sat at the table.
“Perfect timing because. . . it's ready.” Kallistrate said. “Eggs sprinkled with cheddar cheese, toast with strawberry jelly, and orange juice.”
“Thank you,” Olwyn said, stabbing the eggs.
Kallistrate sat across from Olwyn, “Is there something wrong?”
“No matter what, I just think I'm a lab rat.”
“You are not a lab rat. You are someone in a set of unfortunate circumstances.”
“I feel like one. I can't forget she called me Omicron. It doesn't even sound nice. I always thought I was her Baby Doll.”
“Omicron is the fifteenth letter of the Greek alphabet, and you are not a Baby Doll. You are Olwyn, who is going to eat her breakfast instead of stabbing it.”
Olwyn laughed and started eating. She pushed the plate away when she was finished.
“Good, now a favor.” Kallistrate tapped her fingers on the table. “If you could keep Pipperelle from killing her sister, I would appreciate it. It would save me from having to explain that to Afton.”
“All any of us can do.”
Olwyn and Kallistrate laughed together before separating.
“Pipperelle,” Olwyn called looking side to side. “Pipperelle? Are you here?”
“Does that mean you won't hit me?” Pipperelle asked, from a room. “I really was coming.”
“Oh there you are,” Olwyn said. “What room is this anyway? All of this wood and silver. . .”
“Oh. You're mother told me to keep you out of trouble. And I know you were coming. I needed the walk.”
“Who me?” Pipperelle pointed to herself. “Me? I'm not the one that set the garbage on fire.”
“Did not,” Georgie said, from the doorway. She held up her index and thumb, the distance between the two decreasing as she spoke. “That was just a teensy weensy little itty bitty accident.”
“More like great big huge gynormous accident.” Pipperelle spread her arms out wide as she spoke. “We had to replace that garbage can and the side of the house was burnt.”
“I'm going to Bernie's,” Georgie said.
“Did you ask mom?”
“I was going to but you distracted me. You dope.”
Pipperelle looked at Olwyn before running out of her room.
Olwyn heard screaming while she looked around. Ribbons and trophies scattered around the room. Her eyes wandered to the bed, tracing the lines of the sleigh bed. She traced the diamond patterned stitching on the bedspread, stopping at the footboard caressing the wood. So masculine, yet there's a feminine touch with a whim of fantasy as well.
“Hi.” Pipperelle leaned against the doorframe.
“Is this who you are? Hard and dark on the outside, but soft and complex on the inside. The curtains look hard, but if you look close enough the sun shines through.”
“I suppose. Never thought about it really.”
“I was homeschooled until I was fourteen. I've read Mark Twain, Edgar Allen Poe, CS Lewis, and several others when I was younger. When I was around ten, I could quote you a line from any classic. Including Shakespeare. I would look forward to daddy tucking me in at eight-thirty every night. I love the smell of Old Spice. It's what he wears, but now. . . I don't know if what I do or say is preprogrammed. I have to try hard not to say major and macro unless I'm around them.”
“I don't know what to say. I've never been in the situation you're in. When mom told me that things aren't always what they seem, I thought she was getting old. But since I found out about you. . . I can't say that.”
Kallistrate stood in the doorway with her hand on Pipperelle's shoulder. “Well, what I'm about to say won't be easy to take. But I believe you must know. The more knowledge you have, the more power you will have as well.”
“What is it now?” Olwyn asked. “That I was a mistake? I shouldn't have been born?”
“Nothing like that, no,” Kallistrate said. “It's about Tucker Morrison. His real name is Mark Smithson, age twenty. His role was to drug you and bring you to a location to get impregnated. He turned around and left, going so far as to live with his father in Canada.”
“I'm not pregnant.”
“No. You're not. Luckily, he couldn't go through with it. The woman that showed up on your doorstep that day is a member of their group. The Best Alternative to a Unified Government they call themselves.”
“Momma set me up to have a baby? I wasn't supposed to have a baby until after college. She agreed.” Olwyn dropped on the bed.
“I can't justify her actions, but yes she did set you up.”
Olwyn looked down, playing with her fingers.
“The Pizza Palace—“
“That's my favorite favorite pizza place. Their pizza is never spicy and their house dressing is terrific.”
“As I was about to say, the Pizza Palace. . . the original. . . went out of business due to numerous health violations. The one you have frequented is a contact point that they had to visit once a week.”
“Let me guess, they had to visit every Friday.”
“Yes and, we finally know where they were during the summer.”
“I don't know if I want to hear anymore. Next thing you will tell me is that my grandmom isn't dead.”
“The woman that you have been calling grandmother is Gina Haggerdy.”
“That's not her name. It's AnneMarie Abernethy.”
“Let me finish.”
Olwyn raised her head. She could feel tears welling inside her eyes.
“Gina Haggerdy was arrested in South Africa on murder charges. South African prisons aren't the cleanest and they are often over populated. More so than the US. The chance for her acquiring AIDS would be high. However, because of her involvement in this group, they needed a quicker way for her to die.”
“They injected her with poison.”
Olwyn ran out of the house and into her bedroom. The bedspread became soaked with tears. Someone started rubbing her back. She rolled over, “Why? My whole entire life is nothing but a rotten fairytale.”
“I'm sorry,” Pipperelle said.
“Tell your mother, I don't want to hear anymore. I can't take it.” Olwyn lay on her stomach, and the tears continued.
Olwyn opened her eyes, seeing brown ones looking at her.
“It's morning,” Pipperelle said. “Don't know what time it is though.” Pipperelle stretched and yawned as she lay down.
“You stayed.” Olwyn reached up to tuck the hair away from Pipperelle's face.
“Thanks and yeah I did. I couldn't leave you here and mom knows. She's expecting us for breakfast though. Tomorrow school will start.”
“It won't be that bad. It's the last year. It has to count for somethin'.”
“Well, it'll be another year of cheating on the tests.”
“Nuh uh. No. Not again.” Olwyn reached for a pillow and put it over her head.
“I read a report that mom had on her desk. It said she found evidence that your reports were tampered with. Meaning… your father wrote them.”
“A, he's not my father. B… wonderful. Is there anything I did do on my own? Or was my work so crappy that they had to do it for me?”
“Think about it. If all you are going to do is become pregnant…”
“Tell me why. Tell me why I'm here and I might reconsider what I've been thinking about doing.”
“Don't say that. Like mom said. When all of this is done, you will get help to erase all of that programming and brain washing. You will be okay. I'll even get you to eat roasted hot dogs.”
“I never had a hot dog and what difference does it make. I'm going to shower.” Olwyn stomped across the floor and closed the bathroom door. She emerged with her robe on and hair wet. “Pipperelle is gone. I have to get ready.” The robe dropped to the floor, revealing red skin. Clothes and sandals on, she left the house staring back at the front door.
Kallistrate put her coffee down. “Now that you've finished—“
Olwyn stuck her fingers in her ears, “La la la la la la—“
Kallistrate pulled Olwyn's fingers out. “That's not necessary. I wanted to say I'm sorry. I thought the more you knew the more you wanted to fight. I was wrong. Classically, after finding out that trust has been broken, fighting and anger become the emotions that take over somebody's being. Yesterday, you proved me wrong. I am so sorry.” She stood up from the table, to hold Olwyn.
“I just can't believe that all they want is to get me pregnant with monsters. I can't.” Olwyn covered her face and let the tears fall in between the cracks in her hand. She could feel someone holding her, rubbing her back. Looking up, “I don't understand.”
“They macro love me. All of this is majorly improssible. I can't believe all of this is true. How?”
“I've said all I can.” Kallistrate looked down cocking her head.
Olwyn looked into Kallistrate's eyes before stepping around to leave the house.
She started with the vacuum. After that, she mopped all of the bathrooms before doing the kitchen. Not seeing laundry, Olwyn left the house, walking in the opposite direction away from Pipperelle. She came back, ignoring the clock, and went to bed.
The first bell rang and Olwyn walked into the classroom. She opened her backpack as the class syllabus was passed down. Put into its place, a pen traced circles on the notebook paper, circling around and around and around.
The bell startled Olwyn, forcing her to look up. “That's it folks,” the teacher said. “See you tomorrow.”
Olwyn walked up the steps, her backpack thumping up the steps. People whirled around. Conversation floated in the air. The doors passed by. Walking into the dark tunnel, she stopped in her next room.
“Hey! Olwyn. Are you listening to me?” Robin asked. “I've been trying to get your attention.”
“I met the best guy in the whole entire universe. You--”
Olwyn stared at the lines in the desk, the contrast of browns, the shine reflected by the light and the sun. The tree was still there, the leaves not moving. There were flowers in the air with an underlying chalk aroma. The board glistened on the wall.
The bell rang.
Olwyn took out her notebook, passing the syllabus as it came down. Doing the same with the text as it came down as well. The circles continued until the following bell.
Olwyn opened her backpack and took out the meal supplement drink, finishing the can at once.
She stared at the beech tree. It seemed to be lonely. Nobody underneath, no birds in its branches.
“Olwyn,” Pipperelle said, putting her hand on Olwyn's shoulder. “I have food. We can sit in the cafeteria. It's cooler in there. For a change. Come on.”
Olwyn walked out of Pipperelle's hold and sat under the tree. She held her legs together leaning her head against her knees.
“I have a chicken sandwich. Guaranteed to knock your socks off. I can say that because I made it.” Pipperelle tapped Olwyn's shoulder.
Olwyn stared at the reflections in the door of the main building. People smiling, talking, music in the background creating spontaneous dancing and lip sincing.
“Olwyn. You have to eat something. A can of whateveritis is not going to do any good.”
She could see Pipperelle's reflection, as she stood to change sides.
“Come on. Won't you do it for me? Please?”
Someone in the distance, started street dancing before the proctor came around. The tree's hard surface provided support as she melted into the concrete.
The whistle blew, signaling the end of contemplation.
The circles continued to the edge, blurring the lines into nonexistence. People blurred by and their conversations unintelligable. One room after another following a set schedule, the same floor, the same door, the same board, and the words on the syllabus turning into hieroglyphics.
The whistle blew for the last time. This time, signaling the end of another routine. Without a car to look for, the sidewalk became a focal point as her backpack thumped over the cracks in the walkway. There was another noise. Somewhere in the distance a horn was blaring. The flashing red hand became a point of concentration until it changed. Bumps in the asphalt interrupted with white lines, becoming cement again. Looking up only revealed things hanging, banners, flags, and the hair of the dog next door barking as she walked by. The driveway filled with a black convertible, the letters BMW getting attention.
“Olwyn,” Sadie said.
“Hi Momma,” Olwyn said, hugging her mother. “I'm major happy you're home early.”
“Put your backpack in the office. Then go upstairs and get cleaned up. Wear the spring green sundress with the matching shrug.”
“I major missed you, Momma. I love you.”
“Do it now. Your father is upstairs showering.”
Olwyn leaned the backpack against her father's desk. She opened her notebook taking out the day's contemplation and a blank sheet of paper.
Behind the locked door, a pen was taken out of her nightstand.
I will always treasure the days we spent during the summer. The swim races and grilling feasts were new experiences that I will never forget. I may have been a wanted child at some point, but right now, I can't say that. The only thing I feel needed for is to propagate the universe with indestructable machines. If that's to be my only purpose shattering all of my dreams to be a happy momma with a husbnd and a little princess, then, they don't need me. They can kidnap some other baby and start the task again. I can't feel right now. I've forgotten how. Every word I say I'm either questioning, or they feel hollow.
I have never had a friend before now. I would like to think I have a little sister too. You have two mothers that are remarkable women, and I pray now that they forgive me for everything I said. I hope God, I can't believe I just wrote that but, I hope God sees to it that all of you become angels when it is your time.
As for me, I most likely will become the devil's plaything. I have to go now. Forever.
Both papers rolled up and secured with a ribbon taped into place. She stood in the shadows at the top of the stairs.
“We don't have to leave for a few hours yet,” Oliver said. “The backers won't be here before then. So relax. Omicron is upstairs getting ready so it'll be a little bit.”
“We do have time for maybe a little. . . romance.”
Peeking around the corner, down the stairs, they kissed and leaned into each other. Sadie smiled as she undid the buttons on Oliver's shirt.
Tip toeing back to her room, she opened the window and looked down.
Somebody's shadow moved in the light from the neighbor's porch. “Psst. It's me Georgie.”
Olwyn tied a hair clip to the note, closing the window after releasing it.
Finished getting ready, she walked downstairs watching her parents snuggle in front of the television.
“Where are we going?” To my execution.
“We are going to The Renannaissance tonight.” Oliver pulled at his cuffs while Sadie held his coat behind him. “We have very special. . . guests coming tonight. Behave like a lady and everything should be fine.”
Once in the car, the air conditioner blew the sweat forming underneath her dress. Swallowing became difficult as it seemed to stick. Short breaths became regular as houses, pale streetlights, and the occassional filling stations passed by. Oliver watched the road as Sadie held his hand resting on the gearshift. Olwyn opened her clutch and took out the coin she had carried around since she found it.
Protego Lux Lucis Ex Obscurum, became her mantra as it resonated in her mind. It doesn't matter what the words mean. It's better than thinking this is the day I die. What else would happen tonight?
They pulled into the parking lot. Oliver's conversation with the valet covered the noise of Olwyn's clutch closing.
To be continued in the conclusion
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