This was written for Friday Frights and the theme, Killer Kids and Their Toys. Bon Appétit!
The Adoption Trepidation
By Lisa McCourt Hollar
Bonnie’s voice was shaking; Micah could barely understand anything she was saying.
“Honey, slow down, what’s wrong?”
“Come… come home. P… p… pu… please.” Then she was sobbing and he couldn’t make anything else out.
“Okay, okay, I’m on my way.” Hanging up the phone, Micah sighed. His boss wasn’t going to be happy about this. He’d left early the other day, when Bonnie called and begged him to come home. Maybe adopting Tina had been too much.
When they had started the process they were done trying to have a child of their own. When Bonnie began getting sick they worried something was wrong. It turned out that instead of something being wrong, something had gone right… Bonnie was pregnant.
Bonnie had been the one to insist on continuing with the adoption. “We can’t just abandon her now, it wouldn’t be right. Besides… I’ve already grown to love her.”
He had too and when Tina came to live with them three months ago, Micah believed that they were going to be living a fairy tale life.
Instead it had become a nightmare. Bonnie and Tina had gotten along well before the adoption, but once the child was living with them she became distanced. Bonnie claimed she worried Tina would hurt the baby, an irrational fear that he blamed on her hormones. Then one day he came home and caught her putting a lock on Tina’s bedroom door.
“What are you doing?” He had asked, taking the lock from her.
“I don’t feel safe sleeping at night. I woke up last night and she was standing over the bed, staring at me.”
Micah nodded. “She’d had a nightmare and wanted to climb in with us. It’s a time old tradition for kids to want to sleep with their parents when they are scared.”
“She was carrying scissors.”
Micah laughed. “You can’t honestly believe that sweet little girl would harm the baby. They were safety scissors from her art set and she wanted to protect herself from monsters.”
“Yeah, well she thinks the baby is a monster,” Bonnie snapped. She shoved a picture in his face and Micah had to admit the drawing was disturbing. It depicted a pregnant woman with hair similar to Bonnies. Inside her swollen belly was a creature with sharp teeth and red eyes.
“She’s probably just scared that after the baby is born, we won’t want her anymore. We need to give her more love, not lock her in her room when she’s asleep.”
A few days later Bonnie had called him at work. “I’m scared,” was all she said. He’d rushed home to find that she had fallen in the kitchen, putting her shoulder through the cupboard door. She was alright, the baby fine, but Bonnie was shaken.
“What happened?” He asked.
“Tina tied string across the bottom of the door and tripped me.”
“I’m sorry,” Tina cried. “I was making a tent. She showed Micah how the string was meant to secure the bottom of a blanket.
“I want her out of my home,” Bonnie said after Tina was in bed.
“She’s five years old, Bonnie, grow up,” he’d snapped.
“Why does mommy hate me?” Tina asked Micah when he tucked her in that night.
“”She doesn’t hate you,” he said. Kissing her goodnight, Micah left the room, wondering himself why his wife couldn’t bring herself to love this girl.
“She’s a killer. The orphanage lied to us about what happened to her parents.”
They were in bed trying to sleep. Bonnie set the book down she’d been reading and said, “The fire wasn’t an accident. The Fire Marshal’s report is a matter of public record. Tina was playing with matches and set a pile of stuffed animals on fire.
“My God, the poor girl.”
“They lied to us and what do you mean, the poor girl, she killed her parents!”
“They didn’t lie to us,” Micah reasoned. “They said her parents died in a fire. The cause was no concern of ours and I say that poor girl because she will live with the guilt.” He paused then and picked up the book she was reading. ‘Satan’s Toybox: Demonic Dolls. It was opened up to one particularly gruesome story about a little girl that killed her parents. “And reading things like this is not helping your mental state.”
“Oh grow up,” Bonnie said, “It’s just a book. What’s happening in this house is real. She wants to kill me… she wants our baby dead. Why don’t you believe me?”
Now on the way home, Micah worried even more about his wife’s sanity. She sounded like a broken woman. Then a sudden thought caused him to step on the pedal and hurry home even faster. She had sounded like a woman that had nothing left to live for.
Speeding into the driveway, Micah slammed on the breaks and jumped from the car, barely managing to throw the car into park before he was out. He left the car running.
“Bonnie!” He called out her name as he ran into the house.
“Shhh… mommy’s sleeping,” Tina said. She was sitting in the kitchen, with her Easy Bake Oven. Something inside was cooking and it didn’t smell very appetizing.
“I’m just going to go check on her,” he said.
“Okay,” Tina said. “When you’re done, do you want to try some of my stew?”
“Stew… sure, it smells yummy,” he lied.
The shades were pulled in the bedroom. Micah left the door open so that light from the hallway would spill in.
“Honey, I’m home,” he whispered. She didn’t answer. Micah went around to the other side to check on her. “Honey?”
She was lying there with her eyes open.
“Bonnie, what’s wrong.”
Micah reached out to touch her, placing his hand on her belly. Instead of the solid, round ball he’d expected to find, his hand sunk into a wet mess.
“Bonnie, what’s this?” He flipped on the light and at first couldn’t comprehend what he was seeing. Then his stomach heaved and he vomited.
“Daddy, are you okay?” Tina stood in the doorway looking worried.
“Get out of here,” he said, moving to shield her from the carnage in the bed. Oh my God, he thought, who could have done this? Are they still in the house?
“What’s wrong?” Tears formed in the girl’s eyes.
He picked her up, carrying her to the door. They needed to get out; he had to call the police. “Did anyone come into the house while I was gone?”
“No daddy… where are we going? You said you’d eat my stew.”
“Later.” Then he stopped because something in the kitchen caught his attention. His knees buckled and he fell to the floor.
“What is in your stew?” he asked, staring at the blood on the table he hadn’t noticed when he first came in. Sitting next to the Easy Bake was what appeared to be the remains of a baby’s skull. Not a full grown baby, but a developing fetus.