Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Children

"What should we do with the children?" asked Martha.

"Leave them be for now. They will need to be well rested for tomorrow." answered Harry.

Lois and Nicolas kept their eyes closed while their aunt and uncle discussed them in the hallway. Two weeks had past since the children lost their parents. Lois was riding in the car when it flipped, while Nicolas was at a friends house playing video games.

Lois walked away from the accident with minor injuries, but Mom and Dad died on impact. The passenger of the other car also died, not from the impact, but from burns sustained when his car exploded.

Everyone said it was a miracle Lois survived, but coming to live with Aunt Martha and Uncle Harry didn't seem like a blessing. Not at all, Nicolas decided when he saw the run down farm house they lived in. Lois didn't care, there were horses and pigs, and cows, so she was happy.

But Nicolas knew something wasn't right. The way all the adults looked so unhappy when the judge decided to send them there since there wasn't any will and the Nelson's played up the big, sprawling child friendly farm.

Now Nicolas was sure things weren't right. Aunt Martha teaching Lois the "proper" way to make beds and clean the house, and Uncle Harry showing him the "proper" way to tend to the animals and fields. To Nicolas, it seemed they were being groomed for something they weren't gonna like.

"You hear that Nicolas?" whispered Lois.

"Yeah, I heard. Told ya something is up. Just be cool." replied Nicolas

"But I'm scared. What do we need our rest for?"

"I don't know, guess we will find out tomorrow."

The sound of Uncle Harry's footsteps awoke Nicolas.

"Rise and shine little ones." bellowed Uncle Harry.

"Little ones? I'm fourteen and almost as tall as you, Uncle Harry." replied a sleepy Nicolas.

A wide grin spread across Harry's face.

"Yes you are, son, and that is why we chose you."

"What?" asked a confused Nicolas.

"We need help. I need help around the farm, and Aunt Martha needs help in the house. You two need a home. Your big and strong enough to help out there, and she's small enough to help in here. It's a simple trade, work for shelter and food."

"That's fine, I guess."

"Yeah, that's fine. Can I play with the animals when I'm done cleaning?" asked Lois.

"No, you'll be too tired and it will be too late at night for any play." Aunt Martha chimed in.

"What? What do you mean? She's a little kid, you can't work her all day. That's slavery, that's illegal, I'll call Aunt Sharo-"

Wham! With one swift move, Uncle Harry knocked Nicolas to the ground.

"Your ALMOST as tall as me, but a far way from being as strong as me!" he said laughingly.

"Know your place, boy. We are taking in two kids for God's sake! You know how much it costs to feed and clothe you two? And all we ask is for you two to pull your weight. Damn spoiled brats." hissed Aunt Martha.

Lois had her hand over her mouth to muffle her scream when Uncle Harry hit Nicolas. She couldn't stop staring at the fresh blood in the corner of Nicolas' mouth. It wasn't until Aunt Martha screamed her name that she focused on what was going on.

"Get your lazy butt outta bed and let's get started with breakfast. Then you've got laundry to do young lady." giggled Aunt Martha

"And get up off that floor, boy, we got work to do."

Nicolas wiped his face with the back of his arm, and stood up. He would not let Uncle Harry see him cry. He would wait til the right time and get his little sister out of there.

The sun was hot against Nicolas' back. Sweat poured down his face as he shoveled hay. With each movement, his arms hurt more and more. When he started to see double, he asked Uncle Harry for some water and a break.

"I'm tired. Can I please have some water?" Nicolas panted

"Get a cup and get back to work."

His shoulders slumped as he slowly walked towards the bucket of water. Before he could get there, he spotted what looked like wax teeth on the floor of the barn. As he turned it over in his hand, his stomach started to churn.

"What the-" he said bewildered.

"Whatcha got there boy?"

Nicolas turned to show the teeth to his Uncle.

"Oh, that's Stephen," Uncle Harry chuckled, "that's what happens if you try to leave."

Nicolas couldn't hold back his tears as he shook his head violently back and forth in disbelief. His parents were dead, and he and his sister were stuck in a nut house with violent people. There would be no escape, no relief. They would die here.

"Hush up that crying boy. I know your smarter than that. You will be good. You've got my blood. That means your strong. Not like that bastard sister of yours....."

"Bastard sister? What are you talking about?"

"You didn't know? Of course not, forgot your parents were hoiti toiti types. Well, it seems your whore of a Momma had an affair with someone while your pitiful Dad was on one of his business trips. Some foreigner. Knew she was filth the first time I laid eyes on her."

Nicolas was on top of Uncle Harry before he could keep talking trash about his parents. He tried to hurt him, tried punching him, but all Uncle Harry did was curl up then push Nicolas out of the way when he got tired of getting hit.

"Hahahahaha, I knew it! You got spunk, son. Definitely one of us. Don't you worry. You put in hard work, and you'll be rewarded. We gotta look out for family. That sister of yours, well, she'll be worked until she can't work no more. Sorry, but outsiders just slow us down." he said nodding at the teeth on the floor.

Nicolas was spent. He couldn't believe the horror that was his life now. His and Lois life. He was sure Uncle Harry was lying, but it didn't matter. This nut was determined to make slaves out of them, and eventually kill Lois. He had to get her out of there....

"Now get up and let's go tend to the pigs."

Before Nicolas could stand up, there was a loud bang coming from the house. He looked at Uncle Harry then followed the older man to the back door of the house.

There was Lois, pig tails hanging with her head cocked to one side, standing at the top of the basement stairs.

"What the hell is going on?" asked Uncle Harry

When Lois didn't answer or even acknowledge they were there, he pushed her aside then screamed.

"What happened? Martha! Baby, say something!"

Before Uncle Harry could get to his wife's body lying limp at the bottom of the basement stairs, the door closed and bolted. Lois turned to her brother and in a small, curious voice asked:

"Want to have lunch now? They won't be bothering us anymore. All the food is in the pantry, and Auntie Martha showed me that if I was bad I would be put down there with no food, no water, and no one would ever hear me scream because the basement has seals" she said innocently.

"Not seals, sweetie," he replied horrified, "the basement is sealed."

They ate real well that night. Eventually Uncle Harry stopped banging on the door and threatening them, but the way Lois kept humming and talking as though they were gonna stay on the farm disturbed Nicolas.

"What are gonna do tomorrow Nicolas? I wanna play with the horses."

"We have to go get help tomorrow Lois. We have to call someone. We can't stay here and Uncle Harry needs to go to jail for what he has done to us and others."

"No. I don't want to go anywhere, and I don't want you to go either. I like it here. Just us two. You will feel differently in the morning. Goodnight." she said jumping off her chair and giving him a big hug.

"I won't. Sorry Lois, but we have to go." he yawned.

"We will talk later. Sleep time." she smiled

Nicolas started to protest as his eyelids became heavier and finally closed.