> Chapter 1: The Kidnapped Victim <
~I-I'm a child again? W-where are my legs... whats... what's going on?~
Ayumi opened her eyes to another strange world. She remembered going to bed in her own room next to her love, but she awoke to this? She was thrust into the life of a child, a ten year old female. As she adjusted, her memories of her other world faded into nothingness as she became the child she had entered. She began to look around.
Two prosthetic running legs laid on a chair near the bed, but she couldn't get them on herself without her father's help. There were tight locks on two windows that allowed light to currently flood the room. From their positions on the wall, the room itself was half underground, probably a basement bedroom. The walls were painted in a soft pink color to oppose the cotton candy blue carpet. A boarder of unicorns raced around the top of the room.
The click of the lock on the door was soon heard, attracting the child's attention. Theses simple locks were all that kept her safe, secure, attached to the world within her room. The locks that kept the monsters and villains away. The only thing standing between her and the rest of the world. It had only been a week ago, just a week...
"Sophia!" a strong male voice called as the door began to open slowly. The key to the door hung around his neck, Sophia's name scrawled on the key. His voice was very gentle, as if afraid that anything more would upset the child.
"DADDY!" she yelled, though she recalled that his name was Jack. It made her giggle, and she reached for him, she wanted so bad to get out of bed and to get her legs on. She wanted nothing more than to be able to run around, but then again, what child didn't?
Jack had to laugh at his little girl's contagious giggles. He leaned in close and gave her a kiss on the forehead, "My Sophia," he spoke gently as he took her up into his arms. His light brown hair was just a few shades darker than her own dirty blond. He gave her a little snuggle as he strapped her into the prosthetic legs. She was missing half of her left leg, and her full right one. She had refused to get the ones that actually looked like feet but instead wanted the ones that she could run with. Due to the cast on her arm, she was unable to put them on herself at the moment, but Jack knew that within a week or two, the cast would come off, and she'd be getting up and jumping on his bed in no time.
"My daddy!" she giggled once more looking up at him with perfect blue eyes. She popped out of his lap just as her legs were all the way on. She was giggling loudly, and now running around the room hoping that he would try to catch up with her. It was amazing to him that she had so quickly picked up on how to walk on those legs. He knew that if he so much as dared to try something like that, he would fall flat on his face.
Jack chased her around her room before tripping over his own feet. He laughed at himself, but silently cursed. He looked up at his child, but from the wrong angle. From where he was he could only see the right side of her, as she was slowly spinning toward him. There were burns that crept up her neck, and engulfed most of the right side of her face, it stopped just short of her right eye, seemed to go around her right ear, and just kissed the corner of her mouth. These burns took over half of her neck, and actually encased her entire chest and a the top portion of her right arm. On her left, like a Celtic Knot, a burn circled her upper arm, without any other scaring.
These burns seemed to bother Jack more than they did the child, who had her hands on the spots her knees should be, her butt thrust back and a wicked grin on her face. She was laughing at him, "Daddy you feel down!"
"Yes, I fell down," he gave a laugh as he picked himself up, shaking the feeling of
regret, the feeling that the burns were all his fault... if only... if only...
The child's eyes seemed to glaze over a bit as she began to see little fairies dancing about the room. She gave a distant giggle, and reached out to play with them. She chased the invisible little creatures around the room, unaware that they weren't really there. It wasn't long before she collapsed and began to have a mini-seizure. Jack quickly picked her up and held her against him until her body calmed down against him. Sophia looked up at him with an innocent look, as if nothing had happened. The father could only cast a worried glance down at his little girl, only to receive two fingers at the corner of his mouth trying to get him to smile. When it didn't work, her fingers curled into his nice shirt, and buried her face into his chest and began to cry. She hated the worried look he always gave her when she suddenly found herself in his arms like she was now.
Slowly her memories grabbed her and began to throw her into a twisted dream-like state. Her body fell limp against Jack, and he had to lay down with her as her body suddenly felt much heavier. All she could really see or feel was the pain and the ground, the familiar unchanging ground as she had to drag herself three miles in the middle of the pouring rain to try to get help, to get home, to get her father. In her mind, the lightning flashed and thunder roared, it was if the world itself was trying to kill her, not just those who she had left behind. The rain was soothing to her burning skin, but it made it so hard to move across the ground. Everything was slippery and muddy, and many things caught at her clothing, tearing them off. Fear tried to rip at her heart, a heart shielded with iron will. Such a will that drove her all three miles to the tiny hospital where she could finally get help.
As Sophia awoke, she could see the woman who had taken her in the first place standing over her bed. She was unaware of her father's touch, until he pulled her close when she let out a terrified scream. The warm smell of his clothing, and his strong arms helped so much to calm her down, to bring her back to reality. He had almost fallen out of the rather large bed upon her screams. They were the last thing he actually had been expecting.
"Daddy's here Sophia," Jack whispered, sitting up and rocking with her, "Daddy's here, you're safe now. I promise, you're safe now. I'm here. I won't let anything hurt you." He kept repeating these gentle words until he knew the child was calm at last. Calm and relaxed behind her perfect sapphire eyes. He gave her a smile, to assure that he was alright, and that she was alright. She gave a little nod before she tried to get down to walk on her own. She was getting hungry, but before she could slip from his grasp, he gave her a gentle kiss on the forehead.
"How about we get breakfast?" he asked gently taking her hand, intending on helping her up the stairs. Before he could even move, her hand slipped from his own and she bolted up the stairs on her own. He closed her door and left it unlocked as he did during the day, and ran up after her in hopes of catching her before something else happened.
The girl almost ran into a boy about her age, which caused him to let out a curse word. No sooner had the word left his lips did his own mother squirt a small amount of liquid soap in his mouth and force him to close his mouth. Jack was just in time to see this happen to his little brother Conor. He gave a shake of his head, and looked after Sophia, while standing next to his mother.
Jack was just twenty four years of age. He had the child when he was just fourteen, his girlfriend had quickly left him with the little one, and he went to home-school online instead. He had done everything he could to care for his child, having always wanted to be a father one day anyway. He had begun working at Sears back then to be able to get some money to make the effect of the new child less on his parents. He had graduated the home-school program fast, and gone to college, also online, before working his way up the line. He now owned the house that was once his parents, who almost lost it due to various medical bills and the other child who was born just a few months after Sophia.
Jack ignored the scolding that his mother was giving his younger brother, but he finally interjected, "It's only been a week since Sophia returned, just give him a little time mom." He looked a little tired and like he wanted to just go back to bed. He wasn't getting much sleep with Sophia's nightmares, and he was close to simply move into her room to sleep. She was in need of so much attention, especially with the visions that she has been having. "I have to make it to work today mom," he said and gave her a kiss on the cheek, "Make sure she gets her medicine, she has already had a few episodes this morning, it wouldn't be very good if she had another one today."
She gave a laugh and pulled him down so she could kiss his forehead, "Don't worry, I can handle it, just go to work."
Jack watched his girl for only a little longer as she was eating a fruit bar while walking around. He tried to slip out silently, knowing it would be just to big of a deal for him to leave if she was aware of his disappearance. Unfortunately, work couldn't wait any longer for him. Just because a child, who had been missing for five years, came home didn't mean that work would just come to a halt to allow him to spend more time with his child.
It didn't take Sophia long to figure out something was wrong. She couldn't find her father anywhere. Having heard a sound across the house she rushed to the garage ducking through her Grandma Emma's arms. She was just in time to see her father's car pulling out. The fruit bar she was still holding dropped from her hand, she simply stared at the car, which her father slowly put into park. He could only stare into his child's eyes, which were showing complete heart break.
Emma obviously hadn't been prepared for the child to run as she did because she was now holding the child's medication, and running after her, her robe slightly undone as she now scooped the child up in her arms. The child began to kick and scream, falling into another attack.
"NO! NO!" The child began to scream as she tried to kick her way out of his arms.
~No. No! NO! NOT AGAIN!~