Today’s prompt comes from a special kind of kitten: my friend Falling_Rain. She said I should write a story about foster kids.
I had a hard time trying to decide how to end this, I hope I picked a good one. Enjoy! 🙂
Bethany huddled in the corner of the dusty attic with her brother Grant, crouching behind torn, cardboard boxes overflowing with old books, picture frames, and stacks of unidentifiable papers. She clutched Billson, her astronaut doll, and listened for sounds from downstairs.
“Can we play now?” whispered Grant.
“Shh!” Bethany glared at him, and he hugged his wolfman figurine. His brown eyes pleaded at her from beneath a mop of unkempt hair.
They had been playing space explorers in the kitchen when Janice got back from work. Sometimes she would bring home cheeseburgers and let them watch tv, but this time she’d gone straight for the bottle in the freezer. Bethany had taken this as a signal to bring her brother up to the attic and out of the way.
Janice didn’t like to go up in the attic, even when she was angry. One time she’d come up the steps, yelling for them in a slurred voice. As soon as her scraggly blond head had come into view, she spotted a framed picture they’d knocked out of a box, then retreated down the stairs, crying.
The picture frame held a smiling young boy with a red balloon. Beth and her brother had searched the boxes for more pictures of the boy, and found many. The pictures now stood in a circle around the stairway, guarding the attic’s entrance.
Finally Bethany heard the sounds of snoring coming from below, and smiled. Janice was scary sometimes, but she was better than other foster parents they’d had.
“Okay,” she said. “We can go now.”
Grant leaped to his feet and planted his wolfman figure on the nearest box. “I claim this planet in the name of Wolfy!”
“You already claimed that one,” said Bethany, opening her own box. “And this planet is the home of Billson’s people, the Spacers.”
“My planet has laser cannons,” said Grant, as if he were just remembering something important.
“Not yet it doesn’t, you have to find them.” Bethany plucked pictures and stacks of papers from her box, looking for anything interesting. Grant would hop from box to box, claiming them all for the Federation of Wolf-People, before he opened anything.
In the corner of her box, surrounded by stacks of paper and power cords, a leather-bound book caught her eye. Bethany lifted it out and opened it, taking a deep whiff of the dusty paper. The pages were covered in scrawled handwriting.
No one believes me, they all think I’m nuts! Derrick nods and smiles, but I know what he really thinks… that I was careless, that I wasn’t watching… Even the police wont listen to me, though they can see that my little boy is gone, they wont do anything! The government must be in on it too, or they are covering for the aliens somehow. What do they all want with my poor Vern?
Aliens? Bethany’s eyes widened, and she flipped forward through the pages.
They came back tonight, I’m certain they were here. February 7th, they always come. Because that was the day… They are mocking me! They just want to watch me suffer. They put some kind of chip in my arm, I can feel it under my skin. They’ll always know where I am and what I’m thinking… I’ve got to get it out! Maybe I can use it to track them, to find him. Then they’ll all see, and Derrick will come back to me… they’ll all see.
Today was the seventh of February. Bethany remembered Janice rushing to the bottle in the freezer, and wondered if there were something more to it than just a hard day at work. She flipped to the last page with writing.
This is it, I’m stopping. No more research, no more searching. No more hope. Vern is gone and I’ve got to move on. I can’t forget him, but I’ve got to forget what I’ve seen if I want to stay sane. Goodbye Vern, I love you, I hope you’re happy wherever you are.
“Beth look!” Grant held up an unframed painting of a space ship. It looked like the saucer shaped alien ships she’d seen on the history channel.
“Wow cool!” She knelt alongside her brother and pulled more paintings out of the box. She saw several silvery ships drawn from different angles, and dozens of the huge-eyed, grey aliens she’d also seen on the history channel. Grant took the paintings and lined them up on the floor, flying Wolfy across the various landscapes.
In the back of the box, under where the paintings had been, Bethany saw a file folder like the one the case workers always had with them. ‘Planted articles’ was written in black marker on the front. She opened it, and newspaper clippings slid out into her lap. She picked one up.
Local Boy Dies in Hit and Run
Vernon Taylor, 8, was struck and killed on Tuesday by a silver minivan driving at high speeds through the neighborhood. No suspects have arisen, and witnesses did not recognize the vehicle…
Red ink marks slashed across the page, circling certain words, writing question marks next to others. The picture in the article was of the same boy they’d found in the box, this time in a family photo with Janice and a man Bethany had never seen. A note scrawled in red ink across the photo read ‘where did they get this picture?’
“Grant,” she said, closing the papers back into the folder. “I think we should put this stuff away.”
“Aww,” he complained, but scooped the paintings up anyway.
“I think we should give Janice a hug tomorrow,” said Bethany. Grant bit his lip for a moment, then nodded his head.
“Okay,” she said with a grin. “Now lets fly down to our room.”
The astronaut and the wolfman took off with a whoosh, and flew down the stairs out of the cold, dusty attic.