Jezri's Nightmare Books

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Other Child



The Other Child
By Lisa McCourt Hollar



Trevor stared out the window into the night. He thought he'd heard something outside, calling to him from the rain, which was coming down in buckets. His mother said it was raining cats and dogs. He didn't know why anyone would say that, though it did put a silly image in his head of the animals falling from the sky.

Trevor didn't see anything. Turning away from the window he went back to his game of cowboys and dinosaurs when he heard it again. Returning to the window he stared into the rain and darkness. Opening the window he stuck his head out. He could hear it better now, a soft crying sound right below his window. Looking down he discovered the source, a little girl, drenched, shivering and crying.

"What are you doing out there," Trevor asked.

The little girl jumped and then looked up at the boy. "I'm sorry," she said, "I'll go."

"Where are your parents?"

"I don't have any parents. They died a few years ago."

"Well who do you live with? You've got to live with somebody."

"I lived with my aunt for a while, but she was mean to me. I ran away."

"Oh," Trevor said. He had run away once. His mom had grounded him and told him to stay in his room. Then she had taken his dinosaurs and cowboys away. He had snuck out the window and went down to the basketball court to hang out. But then he'd gotten hungry and went back home. His mom hadn't even noticed he'd gone, which was a good thing or she might not have let him have dessert with dinner and she'd made his favorite, apple pie! Tommy hadn't gotten wet though. This girl looked cold and afraid. "Why don't you come in here for a little while," Trevor asked. "You could play cowboys and dinosaurs with me."

Trevor helped the girl climb in the window and then he tiptoed down the hall to get a towel for her from the hall closet. "Here," he said, holding the towel out to the girl. "What's your name?"

"Tanya."

The two played for a little while but then Tanya wanted to know why the cowboys couldn't be cowgirls.

"Because they can't be," Trevor said. "They are called cowboys. That's what they are and what they are supposed to be."

"But maybe they want to be cowgirls. Why can't they be cowgirls?"

"BECAUSE THAT'S NOT WHAT THEY ARE!" Trevor threw his cowboys across the room and Tanya started crying again. Trevor could hear his mother coming down the hall and he knew he would be in trouble. "Shhh, Tanya, stop crying. You have to hide!"

"I'm scared," Tanya said.

"Trevor, what are you yelling about?"

Trevor started crying. "It's Tanya's fault. She wanted to make the cowboys cowgirls, but I told her that's not allowed."

"Trevor, what are you talking about, no one is here except for you."

"Don't listen to her," Tanya said. "She doesn't want us to be friends!"

"Trevor, are you okay? What's the matter?" Trevor looked into his mother's eyes and thought he saw concern there, but then they changed and he saw that she was really angry. She was mad because he was talking to Tanya and she was telling him his cowboys should be cowgirls. She was going to punish him again.

"Don't let her hurt you," Tanya said. "Make her leave!"

"Trevor," his mother said, "what's going on in here? Talk to me." Her voice sounded angry.

"Trevor, make her go away," Tanya cried. "She's scaring me!" Then Trevor heard his dad's voice coming down the hall. Did he hear his belt slap against the wall? Trevor covered up his ears trying to block out the sound. His eyes rolled back into his head and he fell over.

***

"Was he was talking to her again?" Sondra Evans looked down at the boy, concern evident in her voice. The woman next to her snorted, rolling her eyes at the question.

"She isn't real. I don’t know why you insist on acting like she is.”

The two nurses were taking Trevor's vitals and making sure he was securely restrained in the bed. The last time this had happened he'd tried to take Velma's eyes out when he woke up.

"She is to him.” Sondra bit back her anger, trying to keep her relationship with the older nurse professional. She knew Velma was lobbying the board to replace her; she didn’t want to give her any more ammunition. Securing the strap on his wrist she continued, "I'm worried one day she'll take over completely. Then where will that leave Trevor?"

"Same place he is now," Velma said, "institutionalized, at least until he turns 18. Then he'll go to another institution, probably for the rest of his life."

"Don't you even feel any sympathy for him?" Sondra often wondered why Velma worked in a children's mental institute when she seemed to hate kids.

"The little freak killed his parents and tried to cut his prick off. No, I don't feel sympathy for him."

"She wants out,” Sondra said, “to be a girl. To live like a girl.”

"Like I said, he's a freak."

Sondra pushed Trevor's bangs out of his eyes. She thought his eyes were beautiful. They said he was schizophrenic but she didn't agree. She'd read his medical reports. He'd been a twin. His sister had died inside the womb. When he'd been born they'd been conjoined. Sondra often wondered if Tanya wasn't his twin and a piece of her was still with him. Trevor's eyes opened and he looked around. Trevor tried to sit up but the restraints held him in place.

"Trevor, it's okay," Sondra said, trying to reassure him while Velma ran to get Dr. Baker.

"I'm not Trevor," the boy answered, "Trevor ran away."

"Tanya," Sondra asked.

"Yes," and a smile spread across his face. It wasn't a nice smile.

Copyright© 2011 Lisa McCourt Hollar. All rights reserved.

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