Home For The Unwanted: Chapter 20

Hello once again. Today I’ll be pushing towards the last two arcs. These two arcs will be tightly inter-packed, or interconnected, and will lead in nicely with the finale, which will bring everything and everyone to a close (maybe?) It’s been a long journey, and I more or less already have the ending I want in my head, so, it’s time to just sit back and watch it all unravel. Word count: 41,706. Here you go, chapter 20 of “Home For The Unwanted”.

“And you have nowhere else to go?” Ryan asked as he dragged the child through the empty streets.

“No.” The child shook his head as he answered. He had short black hair, but his height and mannerism implied that he was much older than the children of the building. Although, Ryan wasn’t confident in his inherent ability to distinguish the age of children. Ryan had been making his way to the building when he spotted a particularly odd  child wandering about. His eyes had a strange glow to them, almost as if he had been recently woken up, Ryan thought. It felt fresh, and it gave Ryan an unexplainable aftertaste. What made it worse, was that the child’s clothes looked relatively new, like he had just put them on. His hair was well kept, and his hands looked smooth as well. There was a sense of fidelity to him, Ryan thought.

“How long have you been this way?” Ryan knew that there were only a few questions he could ask to get what he wanted. What Ryan wanted wasn’t sympathy, or even empathy, but forewarning. Ryan needed a way to ensure that he wouldn’t be stepping on landmines. Lorna would have his head if he did; she would shovel it out of his grave. Although, even if Ryan didn’t step on any landmines, Lorna would still have his head on a plate, Ryan concluded. There was no escaping her grasp.

“Been this way?” The boy repeated, seeming to be confused about the severity of the situation.

“How long have you had no place to go?” The boy looked at Ryan with confusion. Ryan knew that he was getting his question across, but what he didn’t know, was that the boy was in essence an invader.

“Then, where do you want to go?” Ryan had to take another approach to the issue. Ryan found that shooting at a target with a bulletproof vest didn’t prove to be  effective.  Ryan looked at the boy with an analyzing glare. If anything, Ryan would have to leave the boy to his own antics, although that thought did not bode well with Ryan.

“Do you know where you are?”

“Yes.” The boy nodded as he answered. From here on, Ryan would begin noticing discrepancies. The boy spoke when he was confident, and when he wasn’t, he simply moved his head.

“Do you want to go anywhere?” The boy shook his head.

“Do you have money?”

“No.” The boy shook his head as he answered.

“Do you have friends?”

“Yes.” The boy nodded his head as he answered, but spoke in a more assertive manner. It was almost as if he was offended, or annoyed of the prying, Ryan thought. However,  Ryan couldn’t back off, and despite how the boy may come to dislike Ryan, he still had a strange sense of duty towards the child.

“Do you want to play with your friends?” The boy shook his head.

“Do you need to go home?” The boy shook his head. His eyes began darting around the streets, almost as if he was looking for something, Ryan thought. Ryan was sure that the child was just getting nervous, and that he was trying to find something to ease his mind. After all, Ryan would be nervous if someone he didn’t know began interrogating him the same way.

“Are you happy?” The boy stopped walking. He looked up towards Ryan, and stopped at his eyes. The boy’s eyes didn’t falter, and simply locked onto Ryan’s. Ryan thought the notion was quite strange, but then noticed that the boy began biting his lips, and brought his arms behind him.  Ryan couldn’t read much into the boy, but knew that this meant one of two things. He was either fabricating a story, or had suddenly been possessed by a ghost. The former seemed likely, but Ryan had to hold his word and give a third suggestion; Lorna was behind him. Thankfully for Ryan, that wasn’t the case.

“I don’t know,” the boy gave a vague answer. Ryan noted this and attributed it to a third set of answers that the boy now seemed to give; lies.

“Do you want happiness?” The boy stopped again, but this time scrunched his hands into  fists. His hands then turned red and he looked towards the ground.

“I don’t know,” the boy said meekly. Ryan figured out a fourth set of answers that should be named for the boy. Ryan called this set, thought.

“Do you know what happiness is?”

“Yes.” The boy nodded as he answered.

“Do you want a place to rest?” The boy looked up towards Ryan’s eyes and paused. Ryan knew what this notion meant, and knew it was a clever guise. The boy began biting his lips, and he brought his arms behind him.

“Not sure.” Ryan knew even less about the boy now but he could form a decent opinion. The boy had nowhere to go, and he might want to go somewhere. The boy had friends, although, it was up in the air whether they were good friends. The boy needed to go back to his home, wherever that may be, but because of his circumstances, was forced to wander about on the streets. The boy doesn’t know if he’s happy or not, but he probably does, and he’s probably not very fond of it. He’s probably too scared to really think about being happy. The boy probably wants a place to rest for the night, or at least some place away from the cold. There was a single rule that Lorna had tried her best to instill in Ryan, and that was to stay away from strangers, especially the ‘bad guys’. Ryan wasn’t quite sure why the rule should have applied to Ryan when even Lorna had said that Ryan was merely a temporary member of the building. There was precautions to be made, which Ryan understood, but he was merely a guest. This norm was his second home, and his situation at home, his home with his uncle, had recently been feeling more warm to Ryan. It was strange, but, for the first time, Ryan could really come to appreciate coming back and making his small exchanges with his uncle. Ryan had family, as much as he had family with Lorna and the children, and this made Ryan uneasy. It felt sinful, Ryan thought, it just wasn’t right.

“Hey lover boy!” Ryan didn’t need to turn to know who’s playful voice had just crawled up behind him. This is quite possibly the worst time for Lorna to show up, Ryan thought.

“Who’s the punk?” Ryan wasn’t sure whether to be worried that the boy might be offended by the use of the term punk, or whether he should tell Lorna not to call any kids she didn’t know as punks.

“I found him,” Ryan whispered to Lorna, which prompted Lorna to give him a questioning look.

“Why so quiet?” Lorna said out loud, with more volume than usual. Ryan wasn’t quite sure why he felt the need to lower his voice either, but felt that it was the right measure.

“Is he lost?” Ryan could tell why Lorna was asking these kinds of questions, and made sure to say his words carefully.

“I found him wandering about when I was making my way. I don’t think he’s lost.” Ryan made sure to emphasize the last bit of his sentence.  That was the clue that Ryan really needed Lorna to understand, however, Lorna had understood the situation from the moment she saw them. What Lorna was debating, was whether to take the child in or not. Lorna didn’t need to know much about the child to get a grasp of his situation. The vibe that he was giving off gave Lorna red flags, and although she could identify him as an invader, she still needed solid evidence. She wasn’t completely against the idea of bringing in more children, but she knew that the decision did not lie solely on her. She knew that her time, and that her children’s time would soon come to an abrupt end, and she had to prepare for that. Lorna had to be ready for when her norm would be broken, and for her future to be centralized towards her new norm. Lorna wanted to spend the rest of her time with her children, creating memories and experiences for both of them. Lorna had realized that she couldn’t keep these feelings to herself anymore, and that her world would be broken. These feelings aren’t new to Lorna, but these feelings are causing conflict within her. She cannot openly accept any more children, especially not the one that Ryan had stumbled upon.

“Lost or not, we better take him to the right people. Right? Right.” Although Lorna spoke in her usual playful demeanor, she leaned in towards Ryan, and gave him a sharp stare. It was the kind of stare that Lorna gave Ryan after he took the last cookie. It was the kind of stare that Lorna gave Ryan after  he lost a bet to Runner and had to grab Hailstone bread. It was the kind of stare that Lorna gave Ryan after she wanted him to bail her out of one of Spear’s long rants about aliens and cows. Ryan quickly came to realize that he did not know what the stare meant after all.

“What’s your name?” Lorna leaned over towards the boy. The boy looked back at Lorna, and locked onto her eyes. The boy then bit his lips, and brought his arms behind his back.

“Kyle,” the boy answered. Ryan wasn’t sure if Kyle had really lied about his name being Kyle. It felt strange to Ryan, as the name did seem awfully normally. Perhaps it was the name of the friend that he didn’t really know if he wanted to play with, Ryan thought.

“Do you know where your parents are, Kyle?”

“Yes.” Kyle nodded as he answered.

“Do you love your parents?” Kyle looked down, and formed his hands into fists. His hands became red, and as he did this, Lorna began realizing the same things Ryan did.

“I’m not sure,” Kyle answered.

“Are you not sure about loving your parents? Or are you not sure if you don’t love your parents?”  Ryan thought that both questions had meant the same thing. If he loved his parents, then he loved them. If he wasn’t sure about loving his parents, then he would not love them.. Instead of splitting the question, Ryan figured that Lorna should have repeated her first question.

“I don’t know,” Kyle answered, with his head still turned towards the ground.

“Which one?”

“The second one.”

“Do you want to get away from your parents?”

“Yes.” Kyle looked back up and nodded as he answered.

“Do you want parents?” Kyle looked back down, but didn’t answer at all. He simply stood there, with his head held low and his hands gripping themselves into a fist. Lorna leaned back, and smiled. Ryan didn’t understand the sentiment, but figured that Lorna had made her decision. What Lorna found in Kyle, was that Kyle was very much a sapling. Lorna didn’t have the responsibility now to take care of a tree, but she did understand his statements to an extent, and she had already figured out her own story for Kyle.

“Do you need a place to stay?”

“I don’t know,” Kyle said as he bit his lips. Although, he was still looking down at the ground, and he was still making fists from his hands.

“Why don’t you stay with us for the night?” Kyle looked up toward Lorna with wide eyes. Ryan was surprised that Lorna let Kyle in so quickly. Ryan thought that she would say no, after all, there was a certain triplet of qualifications that Lorna had set herself for. Ryan could barely stand facts for two of them. Either way, Ryan respected Lorna’s decision, and wouldn’t mind a new face in the family. His norm stood strong, and proved to be ever growing. What Ryan didn’t know, was that his norm was inherently linked to Lorna’s, and Lorna’s norm was fragile.  The changes that happen, and the feelings that are created from here on out would only be short lived, Lorna thought. She wanted to tell Ryan. She really did want to tell Ryan about Amanda, and about who she was, and about how everything isn’t what it seemed, and how her bubble and her world was going to break. However, now was not the time. And until Lorna figured something out, she wasn’t going to say anything. This was her issue, and her issue alone. Although, this kind of thinking is why Lorna failed to realize the slow poison that was eating away at her.

“Okay,” Kyle finally said. Lorna grabbed Kyle’s hands and began dragging him along towards the building. Lorna planned to give Kyle to Amanda tomorrow, and would arrange for the meeting after she dropped off Kyle. It was mean, Lorna thought. It was the meanest thing that she could ever think of doing, but Lorna had to do it. This was her second mistake.

 

 

 

“And you have nowhere else to go?” Ryan asked as he dragged the child through the empty streets.

“No.” The child shook his head as he answered. He had short black hair, but his height and mannerism implied that he was much older than the children of the building. Although, Ryan wasn’t confident in his inherent ability to distinguish the age of children. Ryan had been making his way to the building when he spotted a particularly odd  child wandering about. His eyes had a strange glow to them, almost as if he had been recently woken up, Ryan thought. It felt fresh, and it gave Ryan an unexplainable aftertaste. What made it worse, was that the child’s clothes looked relatively new, like he had just put them on. His hair was well kept, and his hands looked smooth as well. There was a sense of fidelity to him, Ryan thought.

“How long have you been this way?” Ryan knew that there were only a few questions he could ask to get what he wanted. What Ryan wanted wasn’t sympathy, or even empathy, but forewarning. Ryan needed a way to ensure that he wouldn’t be stepping on landmines. Lorna would have his head if he did; she would shovel it out of his grave. Although, even if Ryan didn’t step on any landmines, Lorna would still have his head on a plate, Ryan concluded. There was no escaping her grasp.

“Been this way?” The boy repeated, seeming to be confused about the severity of the situation.

“How long have you had no place to go?” The boy looked at Ryan with confusion. Ryan knew that he was getting his question across, but what he didn’t know, was that the boy was in essence an invader.

“Then, where do you want to go?” Ryan had to take another approach to the issue. Ryan found that shooting at a target with a bulletproof vest didn’t prove to be  effective.  Ryan looked at the boy with an analyzing glare. If anything, Ryan would have to leave the boy to his own antics, although that thought did not bode well with Ryan.

“Do you know where you are?”

“Yes.” The boy nodded as he answered. From here on, Ryan would begin noticing discrepancies. The boy spoke when he was confident, and when he wasn’t, he simply moved his head.

“Do you want to go anywhere?” The boy shook his head.

“Do you have money?”

“No.” The boy shook his head as he answered.

“Do you have friends?”

“Yes.” The boy nodded his head as he answered, but spoke in a more assertive manner. It was almost as if he was offended, or annoyed of the prying, Ryan thought. However,  Ryan couldn’t back off, and despite how the boy may come to dislike Ryan, he still had a strange sense of duty towards the child.

“Do you want to play with your friends?” The boy shook his head.

“Do you need to go home?” The boy shook his head. His eyes began darting around the streets, almost as if he was looking for something, Ryan thought. Ryan was sure that the child was just getting nervous, and that he was trying to find something to ease his mind. After all, Ryan would be nervous if someone he didn’t know began interrogating him the same way.

“Are you happy?” The boy stopped walking. He looked up towards Ryan, and stopped at his eyes. The boy’s eyes didn’t falter, and simply locked onto Ryan’s. Ryan thought the notion was quite strange, but then noticed that the boy began biting his lips, and brought his arms behind him.  Ryan couldn’t read much into the boy, but knew that this meant one of two things. He was either fabricating a story, or had suddenly been possessed by a ghost. The former seemed likely, but Ryan had to hold his word and give a third suggestion; Lorna was behind him. Thankfully for Ryan, that wasn’t the case.

“I don’t know,” the boy gave a vague answer. Ryan noted this and attributed it to a third set of answers that the boy now seemed to give; lies.

“Do you want happiness?” The boy stopped again, but this time scrunched his hands into  fists. His hands then turned red and he looked towards the ground.

“I don’t know,” the boy said meekly. Ryan figured out a fourth set of answers that should be named for the boy. Ryan called this set, thought.

“Do you know what happiness is?”

“Yes.” The boy nodded as he answered.

“Do you want a place to rest?” The boy looked up towards Ryan’s eyes and paused. Ryan knew what this notion meant, and knew it was a clever guise. The boy began biting his lips, and he brought his arms behind him.

“Not sure.” Ryan knew even less about the boy now but he could form a decent opinion. The boy had nowhere to go, and he might want to go somewhere. The boy had friends, although, it was up in the air whether they were good friends. The boy needed to go back to his home, wherever that may be, but because of his circumstances, was forced to wander about on the streets. The boy doesn’t know if he’s happy or not, but he probably does, and he’s probably not very fond of it. He’s probably too scared to really think about being happy. The boy probably wants a place to rest for the night, or at least some place away from the cold. There was a single rule that Lorna had tried her best to instill in Ryan, and that was to stay away from strangers, especially the ‘bad guys’. Ryan wasn’t quite sure why the rule should have applied to Ryan when even Lorna had said that Ryan was merely a temporary member of the building. There was precautions to be made, which Ryan understood, but he was merely a guest. This norm was his second home, and his situation at home, his home with his uncle, had recently been feeling more warm to Ryan. It was strange, but, for the first time, Ryan could really come to appreciate coming back and making his small exchanges with his uncle. Ryan had family, as much as he had family with Lorna and the children, and this made Ryan uneasy. It felt sinful, Ryan thought, it just wasn’t right.

“Hey lover boy!” Ryan didn’t need to turn to know who’s playful voice had just crawled up behind him. This is quite possibly the worst time for Lorna to show up, Ryan thought.

“Who’s the punk?” Ryan wasn’t sure whether to be worried that the boy might be offended by the use of the term punk, or whether he should tell Lorna not to call any kids she didn’t know as punks.

“I found him,” Ryan whispered to Lorna, which prompted Lorna to give him a questioning look.

“Why so quiet?” Lorna said out loud, with more volume than usual. Ryan wasn’t quite sure why he felt the need to lower his voice either, but felt that it was the right measure.

“Is he lost?” Ryan could tell why Lorna was asking these kinds of questions, and made sure to say his words carefully.

“I found him wandering about when I was making my way. I don’t think he’s lost.” Ryan made sure to emphasize the last bit of his sentence.  That was the clue that Ryan really needed Lorna to understand, however, Lorna had understood the situation from the moment she saw them. What Lorna was debating, was whether to take the child in or not. Lorna didn’t need to know much about the child to get a grasp of his situation. The vibe that he was giving off gave Lorna red flags, and although she could identify him as an invader, she still needed solid evidence. She wasn’t completely against the idea of bringing in more children, but she knew that the decision did not lie solely on her. She knew that her time, and that her children’s time would soon come to an abrupt end, and she had to prepare for that. Lorna had to be ready for when her norm would be broken, and for her future to be centralized towards her new norm. Lorna wanted to spend the rest of her time with her children, creating memories and experiences for both of them. Lorna had realized that she couldn’t keep these feelings to herself anymore, and that her world would be broken. These feelings aren’t new to Lorna, but these feelings are causing conflict within her. She cannot openly accept any more children, especially not the one that Ryan had stumbled upon.

“Lost or not, we better take him to the right people. Right? Right.” Although Lorna spoke in her usual playful demeanor, she leaned in towards Ryan, and gave him a sharp stare. It was the kind of stare that Lorna gave Ryan after he took the last cookie. It was the kind of stare that Lorna gave Ryan after  he lost a bet to Runner and had to grab Hailstone bread. It was the kind of stare that Lorna gave Ryan after she wanted him to bail her out of one of Spear’s long rants about aliens and cows. Ryan quickly came to realize that he did not know what the stare meant after all.

“What’s your name?” Lorna leaned over towards the boy. The boy looked back at Lorna, and locked onto her eyes. The boy then bit his lips, and brought his arms behind his back.

“Kyle,” the boy answered. Ryan wasn’t sure if Kyle had really lied about his name being Kyle. It felt strange to Ryan, as the name did seem awfully normally. Perhaps it was the name of the friend that he didn’t really know if he wanted to play with, Ryan thought.

“Do you know where your parents are, Kyle?”

“Yes.” Kyle nodded as he answered.

“Do you love your parents?” Kyle looked down, and formed his hands into fists. His hands became red, and as he did this, Lorna began realizing the same things Ryan did.

“I’m not sure,” Kyle answered.

“Are you not sure about loving your parents? Or are you not sure if you don’t love your parents?”  Ryan thought that both questions had meant the same thing. If he loved his parents, then he loved them. If he wasn’t sure about loving his parents, then he would not love them.. Instead of splitting the question, Ryan figured that Lorna should have repeated her first question.

“I don’t know,” Kyle answered, with his head still turned towards the ground.

“Which one?”

“The second one.”

“Do you want to get away from your parents?”

“Yes.” Kyle looked back up and nodded as he answered.

“Do you want parents?” Kyle looked back down, but didn’t answer at all. He simply stood there, with his head held low and his hands gripping themselves into a fist. Lorna leaned back, and smiled. Ryan didn’t understand the sentiment, but figured that Lorna had made her decision. What Lorna found in Kyle, was that Kyle was very much a sapling. Lorna didn’t have the responsibility now to take care of a tree, but she did understand his statements to an extent, and she had already figured out her own story for Kyle.

“Do you need a place to stay?”

“I don’t know,” Kyle said as he bit his lips. Although, he was still looking down at the ground, and he was still making fists from his hands.

“Why don’t you stay with us for the night?” Kyle looked up toward Lorna with wide eyes. Ryan was surprised that Lorna let Kyle in so quickly. Ryan thought that she would say no, after all, there was a certain triplet of qualifications that Lorna had set herself for. Ryan could barely stand facts for two of them. Either way, Ryan respected Lorna’s decision, and wouldn’t mind a new face in the family. His norm stood strong, and proved to be ever growing. What Ryan didn’t know, was that his norm was inherently linked to Lorna’s, and Lorna’s norm was fragile.  The changes that happen, and the feelings that are created from here on out would only be short lived, Lorna thought. She wanted to tell Ryan. She really did want to tell Ryan about Amanda, and about who she was, and about how everything isn’t what it seemed, and how her bubble and her world was going to break. However, now was not the time. And until Lorna figured something out, she wasn’t going to say anything. This was her issue, and her issue alone. Although, this kind of thinking is why Lorna failed to realize the slow poison that was eating away at her.

“Okay,” Kyle finally said. Lorna grabbed Kyle’s hands and began dragging him along towards the building. Lorna planned to give Kyle to Amanda tomorrow, and would arrange for the meeting after she dropped off Kyle. It was mean, Lorna thought. It was the meanest thing that she could ever think of doing, but Lorna had to do it. This was her second mistake.

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