The Creature That Has Never Been

     “You shouldn’t move.” Peter’s voice, straight and clear, broke through the haze.
     
     Catherine blinked hard, trying to clear the fuzzy picture she was seeing. She reached up to wipe her
eyes and she realized that she was attached to a tube. She squirmed a little; everything felt so
uncomfortable.
     
     “Really, Cathy,” Peter touched her shoulder lightly, “don’t move.” She shivered a little and he pulled the
blanket up on her. “I called Joe and Jenny. I let them know where you are, but I didn’t tell them anything
else.”
     
     “Peter?” Her eyes were focusing, finally, and she attempted to analyze her surroundings. “What’s going
on?”
     
     “You passed out in my office, Cath. And I am telling you this right now,” he was leaning over her now,
his voice was harsh and stern, odd, “you are going to have to take care of yourself from now on. I really
don’t give a damn what Vincent has done to you.”
     
     She watched him in a little fear. He had never been so stern and aggressive. Peter was always like a
fun-loving uncle. He was never harsh. She struggled to sit up, as if it would help her process this easier.
     
     He pushed her back down, gently, but he still seemed angry. “I mean it, Cathy. Lay still.” He hit a button
on the side of her bed and she began rising to a sitting position.
     
     “What am I doing here?” Still she squirmed uncomfortably.
     
     “You’re malnourished. Just judging from all your symptoms, I’d gather you haven’t slept much either.”
He checked her arm to make sure the tube was still intact. “We had to hook you up to a feeding tube. What
have you eaten in the past week?”
     
     Catherine shrugged, still trying to clear her head. “I had, um... some juice this morning.”
     
     “Okay, well that would account for the dizziness and passing out. The juice was a shock because you
haven’t eaten.” He was still very harsh, even as he processed her chain of events. Peter rubbed the
corners of his eyes and seemed to drop into the hospital chair. “Cathy... why didn’t you just tell me?”
     
     “Tell you what?” Oh, why wouldn’t her brain return to normal?
     
     “Don’t pretend, please Cathy.” Peter closed his eyes and shook his head.
     
     “Peter, I didn’t even realize that I haven’t eaten in a week. I really have no idea what’s going on.”
Coherence was beginning to take over. It was getting easier to understand and respond.
     
     He merely stared at her for a few seconds. Then he sat forward and watched her closely. “I thought that’
s what you came to tell me. I didn’t figure it was just a social call.”
     
     “It wasn’t really. It was complicated. I needed to talk to somebody without worrying about saying
something I shouldn’t.” She rambled, but her following question was clear and definite. “What are you
talking about?”
     
     Peter gaped at her for a moment. He truly believed that she knew. He had just assumed that was what
she was there for. “Cathy, you’re pregnant. About a month.”
     
     Her eyes grew twice their normal size. “No.” Was her only answer.
     
     “Cath, I ran the test twice...”
     
     “No! No, something went wrong. I’m not pregnant!”
     
     “Cathy.” Peter’s calm, soothing voice was back. He was up and by her side quickly, trying to keep her
still. “You have to listen to me now.” He tried to calm her darting eyes. She was trying to find a way out. He
knew that look; Vincent had it too. “This man... that you were with. Cathy, are you listening? Did you use
any protection? Cathy!”
     
     She was still frantic and the nagging thought of ripping the tube out of her arm was starting to win. “I
don’t even remember it happening. Not really.”
     
     “Cathy!” He warned, suddenly. “If you rip that thing out of your arm, you’ll be bleeding for the next hour.
Sit still!”
     
     “Peter,” she began, quietly now, “do you think that Father will let me stay Below?”
     
     That took him a bit by surprise. “Well... I suppose. I wouldn’t think that you’d want to be that close to
Vincent right now.”
     
     “Peter,” she began, another thought, “do you still have samples of Vincent’s blood? From when he was
sick?”
     
     “I don’t know.” Rapid questions after such shocking news confused him. He thought she would spend
more time being upset by this. He knew that Catherine’s pregnancy from another man would tear she and
Vincent further apart. This reaction was completely unexpected.
     
     “Find out!” She implored with wild, intense eyes.
     
     “Cathy, maybe you should...”
     
     “I have to know if he’s the father! Test the baby. Vincent could be the father.”
     
     

     “I know you don’t like coming Above, Jacob, but this needed to be discussed away from the others.”
Peter explained, whispering to his friend outside Catherine’s hospital room. The woman was asleep,
sedated, but Peter hardly left her side. He didn’t completely trust her yet.
     
     “Peter, you’ve been a good friend to all of us,” Father began, “but I can’t say that I can support
Catherine right now.”
     
     “She says that Vincent could be the baby’s father.” Peter argued for the thousandth time.
     
     “And you said that she was unstable and irrational. I have trouble believing that sort of accusation from
an unstable person.”
     
     “This is Catherine, Jacob. She’s never lied to us before.”
     
     “I’m not saying that she’s lying. What I’m saying is that she is unsure of everything right now, and I think
she is accusing Vincent because that is what she wants to believe.”
     
     “Would you please stop saying ‘accused’? You make it sound as if she said he raped her.” Peter
defended harshly.
     
     Father sighed, acknowledging, but not relenting. “Did you do the DNA test?”
     
     “I couldn’t. I threw out all of Vincent’s blood samples. People started questioning. I didn’t want anyone
to get curious. We can’t exactly say that we need to test the fetus for non-human DNA, either.”
     
     “I agree.” Father nodded. “It’s too big of a risk. Did you ask her about the other man?”
     
     “I didn’t have a chance. We had to sedate her or she would have pulled the tube out of her arm. I need
to call her boss, see if he or Jenny knows anything.” There was silence between the men. Peter looked up
and saw Father, seeming to be cursing something... or someone. “Jacob, Cathy is going to need
surveillance. When she came in she was sleep deprived, malnourished, she’s been in a heavy
depression. Honestly, I don’t trust her to take care of herself, or this baby, alone. She wants to go Below. I
told her that I would talk to you about it.”
     
     “I’m not sure if that’s the right place for her right now.” Father chose his words carefully.
     
     “Look, right now, I don’t give a damn who the father is, I just...”
     
     “It’s not Vincent.” Father told him sharply.
     
     Peter smiled and shook his head. “Open your eyes, Jacob. Vincent’s not a boy anymore. He’s a man,
and he has been for a long time. Eventually you’ll have to come to terms with that. Cathy is a grown woman
and, no mater what has happened, she still loves him. A couple in love... it was only a matter of time.”
     
     Father shook his head. “No. Vincent would have told me. I would have known.”
     
     “Maybe he was ashamed of it for some reason. Maybe that’s what started their argument. Have you
considered the possibility,” Peter rationalized, “that maybe Cathy’s just as innocent in this as Vincent is?”
     
     “I know what I need to know, Peter.” Father whispered harshly. “I know that something happened that
Vincent felt he needed time alone. I know that Catherine went out, got drunk, and slept with another man. I
know that now she is pregnant and my son has been gone for a month. I hold no sympathy for this girl
anymore.”
     
     “Listen,” Peter was much more collected than Father, and it was obvious to any passerby, “no one but
Vincent and Cathy know what happened between them. At this point we can’t assume anything. I am
concerned for Cathy and that baby right now, no one else. What I want to know is if you are going to be
kind enough to take her in without judgment or anger.” His eyes fixed on his friend and he stared the man
down. “Are you going to treat her the same way you treat every other person who has ever needed a place
to go?”
     
     He was stuck, and he knew it. Peter had played on his one weakness; his ideals. Father glanced
around pensively and finally settled back on Peter. “Can I go in and see her?”
     
     Peter nodded shortly. “I’ll be in my office.”
     
     Father stepped delicately into the immaculate hospital room. The pure white sheets and the beeping
machines, it was a bit of an unnerving place now. He was always afraid someone who knew him before
the tunnels would find him in a room like this and history would be replayed. He found Catherine in the far
bed, asleep. Her arm twitched as she dreamed and her hair was twisted behind her neck.
     
     He only watched her dream, tossing her head back and forth. “What are we going to do with you?”




Children of the Night

     “Will you promise me that you’ll go to sleep tonight?” Catherine asked her daughter, standing at the
door, ready to shut the lights out.
     
     “Maybe after a couple more chapters.” Anna sat up a little, her bright face beaming at her mother. She
was aching to know what was going to happen to Laura Ingalls and Almanzo Wilder.
     
     Catherine smiled back. “That was not a negotiation, Miss Anna.” She flipped the switch and the room
was engulfed in shadows.
     
     Light spilled in from the next room and there Anna’s mother stood in the center of it. The light was
emanating from her, Anna was sure of it. She was an angel, the most beautiful she would ever see. In the
scheme of things, nobody else really mattered. She had her mom and that was good enough. She would
have rather lived in a world without anyone but her, than a world full of friends.
     
     “Goodnight, baby.” The door shut and the room was pure blackness.
     
     Anna fell back in bed and sighed heavily. ‘Would Pa let Laura marry Almanzo?’ Anna closed her eyes,
imagining the dashing farmer and the fifteen year old wild-child sitting next to each other up in that wagon.
She began to slip into sleep. That image in her mind was slowly becoming her dream. But just as she was
dozing off...
     
     “Hello?” A tiny voice called.
     
     Anna sat straight up in bed. Every little movement of a shadow caught her eye and she edged into the
corner of her bed. “Is someone there?” She whispered to nothing.
     
     There was silence. The room was eerily still. Not even the curtains on her window stirred for any reason.
     
     “I know I heard you! If you don’t come out, I’ll call my mom. She’ll call my Uncle Joe, and he has
connections, I mean it!!” All she spoke was in an emphatic whisper. She didn’t actually want to let her
mother know she was awake.
     
     “No!” The other voice choked. “Don’t call anyone. I just wanted to talk to you.” The voice was coming
from the fire escape beyond the window.
     
     “Who are you?” Anna jabbed her words at him.
     
     “My name is Jacob,” squeaked the boy, “I was at the park last week. You didn’t yell or anything. Why?”
     
     “Oh you!” She scolded. “You got me in a lot of trouble!” She crossed her arms definitively. “I believe you
own me an apology.”
     
     “I’m sorry,” he quickly and sincerely replied. “I didn’t mean to get you in trouble. I’m...”
     
     “Well, you did! I was supposed to be drawing nature. You got in my way.” Anna’s indignant tone cut his
quiet one.
     
     “I’m sorry.” Jacob’s innocent voice broke the air. “You choose to draw, though.” He argued logically.
     
     Anna let that soak in. She tilted her head curiously. “You don’t talk like regular kids.”
     
     “Neither do you.” Jacob was gaining ground in this tete-a-tete.
     
     “I’ll bet you don’t look like regular kids either.” There was no response. Anna glanced around her room,
and listened to hear her mother occupied in her news program. “You can come inside if you want to.”
     
     “I better not.” His answers were quick and precise. “I don’t look like other children.” He confessed.
     
     “So?” She shrugged. “Come on!” She climbed out of bed and went to the window to find him. “I don’t
want to talk to a window!” She found him on the side of the window, linked her arm in his and helped him
in. Never even looking at his face, her attention went to his clothes. “It’s the beginning of June, aren’t you
hot in that?”
     
     Jacob looked down at his layered tunic and long sleeves and pants. “No. I’ve always worn this.” He
leaned back against the sill and let the breeze sweep by him.
     
     Anna climbed back up onto her bed and starred at him. “You can come sit if you want.”
     
     “No. I think I should go.” He turned away.
     
     “Wait!” Anna promptly stopped him. “I thought you wanted to talk. I wanna talk to you too.” She slid off of
her bed as he turned back. “We can sit on the floor.”
     
     “What’s your name?” Jacob watched her curiously.
     
     “Anna. Well, Caroline... but my mom likes to call me Anna. It’s my middle name. What’s your middle
name, Jacob?”
     
     “I don’t have one.” Jacob eased onto the floor. The rug began to fascinate him. This one was different
from what any of the Helpers had.
     
     “That’s silly. Everybody has a middle name!” Anna insisted.
     
     “Well, I’m not like everybody.” He was suddenly defensive and watching her every move.
     
     “I’m sorry.” She reproached herself. “What do you look like?”
     
     “I look like my father.” He answered simply.
     
     Anna sat up proudly. “I look like my mother! Well, that’s what everybody says, but she says I look like
my Dad sometimes too.”
     
     “My father says that when I smile, I look like my mother.” Jacob smiled his mother’s smile at the
common ground.
     
     “Where is your mother?” Anna tucked one knee up to her chest.
     
     “I don’t know.” He shrugged. He seemed a little frustrated as he sighed. “I think she died.”
     
     “You think? You don’t know?”
     
     Jacob shook his head. “My family doesn’t like to talk about her. My grandfather didn’t like her, and my
father misses her so much that he won’t talk about her. But he loved her. He tells me that everyday.”
     
     “Was she pretty?” Anna smiled coyly.
     
     He nodded sincerely. “She had hair like silk, eyes like the sea, and a face like an angel.” He quoted his
father.
     
     “She sounds wonderful.” Anna’s smile was large. “I wish I knew that much about my dad.”
     
     “Don’t you know your father?” Jacob asked sadly.
     
     Anna shook her head as Jacob had. “Mom says that he left us a long time ago, before I was born.”
     
     “He died?” Jacob guessed.
     
     “No. He just left. He didn’t love mommy anymore.”
     
     “I don’t think that’s true.” Jacob doubted. He had been raised on moral and principles. In his mind,
people didn’t just stop being in love. Either they were, or they weren’t.
     
     “Well, that’s what he told her.” She stated grimly.
     
     “I’m sorry, Anna.” There was quiet for a few minutes. Jacob made circles on the rug with his index
finger, afraid of eye contact with this odd new friend.
     
     “Jacob?” The little girl slid toward him, at which he immediately slid back. “How did you find me?”
     
     He was quiet for a minute, thinking of how to put it into words. Finally he shrugged, “I don’t know. I
wanted to find you... and I just found you.”
     
     “Oh.” Anna nodded with a smile.
     
     Somehow Jacob thought that the smile she gave him looked familiar, and even stranger, it looked as if
she completely understood what he had just said.
     
     “Jacob, do you live in that place that I saw you?” Anna asked as she laid out on the floor, exhausted
even if she refused to show it.
     
     “Kind of...”
     
     “Anna!” A distant voice sounded down the hall.
     
     Jacob jumped up immediately and ran for the window. Anna was on her feet and running after him just
as quickly. “Wait!” She whispered after him.
     
     Her mother’s voice was closer now. “Caroline Anna Chandler, you had better be in bed!”
     
     Jacob stopped at the windowsill and looked back. He knew that voice and was strangely drawn to it.
     
     “I am!” Anna called back and then realized how idiotic that was. “Come see me again!” She whispered
to Jacob and pushed him onto the metal landing outside the window.
     
     “Anna...” the door opened, light flooded into the room behind a cross-armed Catherine, “back in bed...
now.”
     
     The child nodded quickly and scurried from the window into her bed, throwing the covers over herself.
     
     “Go to sleep.” There was no rise in Catherine’s tone or voice, only a emphatic warning.
     
     Anna nodded vigorously. “Sorry.”
     
     Catherine glanced around the room, making sure no toys were still out for her to play with. The only
thing she saw was the open window, with the curtains waving slightly in the subtle breeze. “Oh Ann,” she
made her way over to window, causing Anna to sit up nervously, “how many times have I told you, you can’t
leave the window open and keep the air conditioner on.”
     
     “Sorry.” She mumbled again, keeping a close eye on any and all movement outside her window.
     
     “Okay,” Catherine did another quick once-over, “please go to sleep. Goodnight.”
     
     “Night, mommy.” She dared not move, but her eyes whipped back to the window. There was nothing
there.

     

     Jacob knew her voice somehow. How could Anna’s mother be so familiar? It was so soft even in its
anger. It seemed almost melodic.
     
     Anna’s mother came closer and Jacob flattened himself up against the wall. She couldn’t see him, but
Jacob tilted his head and peeked through the window at her. She was beautiful, a bit worn, but graceful
and bright. She looked as many new tunnel members did when they first came Below.
     
     Anna’s mother looked up to latch the window lock and Jacob could see her green eyes, shining and
even sparkling a little. There was so much knowledge behind her eyes that Jacob wanted to stare into
them forever, they were so curiously indulgent.
     
     Then, as quickly as she had come up on him, she was gone behind Anna’s bedroom door. Anna’s
mother seemed to him almost like a princess in a fairytale; one that has been through much in her young
life and now lives trapped in a tower with no way out.
     
     He crawled down the metal stairs and into the streets. His father would be furious to find out he was out
beyond the park.
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