Birth of the Undead – Adoption, Chapter 1
Written by kshoo :: [Saturday, 03 December 2022 05:53] Last updated by :: [Saturday, 03 December 2022 09:00]
When the SUV pulled up onto the driveway of Midvale orphanage, Fred Danvers thought that the entire triple-storey bungalow looked a little too daunting to his liking. Large, unsightly. Slightly run down with its peeling paints and rusted railings as he drove in, the large, old structure might have a sort of appeal to those who appreciates its history and its rustic appearances. But not him.
It was already late morning this particular September weekend, and both Eliza and Fred had taken the time to drop by the orphanage to have a chat with the person in charge. They have earlier earmarked this as one of the three that would most probably have the likely candidate to be adopted; the other two didn’t check out as when they arrived at that location, one of them have been adopted while another had run away. This was the final one on their list, though fortunately also the closest to their current home. As her husband focused on looking for a place to park, Eliza was able to observe and take in more of the current surroudings, her smile growing as they pass by a few of the children who are going about with their business all around the compound; a few boys are playing with catch among themselves, a group of girls around ages 8 to 12 jumping ropes on the far side of the large compound.
A very different type of life, seemingly very different from the modern ones who spends too much time looking at electronic screens or the television. Then again, this is an orphanage, not a typical household where each and every person has at least one electronic device, mobile-services or not, in their hands.
After parking near to the main doors, both of them alighted and made their way towards the large mahogany doors, whose appearance gives an impression that it too is in need of a new coat of paint. Just before they reached it, the door opened inwards and six primary-school children of equal number of boys and girls made their out and towards a waiting van parked on the side, with a teenager following close behind. She looked about 16 or 17 years, seemingly acting as their guardian, has short black hair that came just below her ears. Dressed in a simple pastel pink blouse and dark-coloured thigh-length jeans, she ushered them onward like little ducklings towards and up into the waiting vehicle.
He could hear gentle sobs from some of the children as they walked past the couple. One boy of about 6 seemed steadfast in refusing to go onto the van; grasping the hem of her blouse tighter as they stopped in front of the van, it looks like he was trying his best not to leave the place.
“I’m scared…” His slightly higher-pitched wail came through. “What if I don’t like the place? What if they bully me? There won’t be anyone else like you to help me…”
The teenager stooped down and gave the little boy a hug. “Now now, Tim. Don’t be afraid. Mr. Rodgers will be taking all of you over to Grainsville where you will meet new friends. With all of you sticking together, you can always help each other . Remember, Durstan is not that far away… ”
“But I don’t want to go…” The boy continued to hold onto the teenager’s hem of her blouse. She smiled encouragingly at the young one, and continued to whisper into his ears. It took some effort, but eventually the boy let go reluctantly, his left hand rubbing repeatedly on his teary eyes as eventually he too climbed onto the van.
Even though he was merely an observer of the entire scene, it still made Fred’s heart melt slightly. Eventually he too felt a tug on his sleeves, and turning around he followed Eliza into the orphanage just as the van started to pull out from the driveway. With them walking into the building they also missed seeing the young woman waving goodbye at the rapidly shrinking vehicle while rubbing her right hand over her own eyes as well.
The office wasn’t hard to find. A little old-schooled, next to it were a large notice board with multiple official-looking typed notes intermixed with many multi-coloured ‘public announcements’ about avoiding strangers, helping and being respectful to each other and so on. The door was slightly ajar, and they could hear the sound of a woman talking over the phone. The old fashioned nameplate of the person still stood on the edge of her desk.
“Yes yes, we are doing all we can… .Yes Mr Thurstan, but children are not cattle. We need time to place and have them settled, and moving the timetable up further is of no help… .No, I understand very well the latest tenants would like it…” The bespectacled middle-aged lady looked up when she heard Eliza’s knock and motioned them to come in and take a seat first.
“No, I will not agree to it, and yes you can fire me if you think it helps though I don’t think you would like to take over the entire role of finding shelter for another ten or so children within the next four weeks.” With that finality she just put down the phone on its hook, with a determined ‘Hrrmpph’ from her mouth signifying the end of the discussion. Turning to look at the amused couple in front of her, she smiled apologetically. “Pardon my being rude and all, but it has been a tiring day, I’m afraid.”
Fred smiled back. “Don’t be. I happen to be in the service as well, so I know how hard it is to deal with red tape and the like. Fred Danvers, and this…”gesturing to his wife “is love of my life, Eliza.”
Mrs Tate beamed at him, though with a twinkle in her eyes. “How sweet. But are you sure you’re not just acting like this in front of me just to try to convince that you have a worthy home for one of our own?” Raising her hand to Fred she continued “Oh yes, I’ve had my fair share of people who have come through my doors with various excuses and all. Now how can I help you Chief Danvers?”
She knows, thought Fred Danvers. Even though his appointment had been very recent the woman had been thorough in checking their profiles out.
Eliza replied. “Yes, both of us are looking to adopt a child. I wrote to you a few weeks back, and you replied that we can discuss with you in person.”
“Rightly so, though it was some time ago. I’m rather old-fashioned in a way, preferring to speak to the prospective parents personally. However given that I haven’t received anything concrete in reply since, I thought you might decided against it already. Quite normal for people to change their minds. Nevertheless, you’re here now despite this slightly trying time, so perhaps you would like to remind me again your considerations?”
“Yes, well, I… We are thinking of adopting a teenager.”
“Oh? And may I ask why?” Mrs Tate leaned slightly forward.
“Well, you see, I have always hoped to have a bigger family, but circumstances are such that we couldn’t do so until now.” Eliza remarked in a rather generic way.
“Biological, or professional?”
Mrs.Tate crossed her hands and continued “Given that both of you look to be well-established, there are only two main reasons why you might be looking to adopt now. Pardon my directness, but it’s either due to physiological issues, or it is due to both of your professional commitments. So which is it?”
Fred replied “It’s the latter. I was in the Army previously, and when I returned I joined the police force. So given that I was away for quite long periods of time…”
“Say no more. But why a teenager?”
Eliza replied this time. “Well, despite the challenges we are blessed with a daughter who is now towards the tail-end of a teenager, we thought of…” Mrs Tate removed her glasses and stared intently at Eliza, making her feel as if she’s facing her professor again when she first started out in as a junior researcher. “Wait, you already have a grown-up daughter? So why are you planning to adopt?”
“Well, as I said, we have always thought of having a larger family. Now that we can, we thought we would welcome a new member into our home, provide for someone and share our joy with this person.”
A pause, before Mrs Tate asked “And may I ask the age of the child that you are planning to adopt?”
“A teenager? Maybe around 15?” Mrs Tate threw back her head and laughed, hard. That made both Danvers’ slightly embarrased and a little confused. When the administrator recollected herself, she remarked “Oh, dear. You’re just about to have the perfect life together with each other, more peace and quiet in the house. You do realise that having two teenagers in the house is akin to bringing back a warzone into your house?”
Fred does. As long as one have siblings, fights and tempers go wild throughout the years in a house, even though eventually as everyone got older these tend to cool.
Turning around and looking at her laptop screen, she tapped a few keys and looked at the screen. “I assume you will prefer another daughter?” Both of them nodded in unison. “Pity. We don’t have anyone of that particular age…” and noting the slightly crestfallen look on Eliza’s face “… unless…”
“Would you consider someone slightly older? Say 17 going on 18.”
Eliza and Fred looked at each other for awhile, before the former inquired “But that would mean she’s a legal adult already, no? Would she still want to stay with us?”
“That might be from an age perspective, but she’s yet to finish high school. Oh, no trouble of THAT sort. She only came to me two or three years before, having lost her parents in a large fire somewhere that I can’t remember. She was… well, brought up foreign, having just stepped foot on our country not long back then. With no other relatives around and few other choices, she was entrusted to me by Superman.”
Fred’s eyes widened. “Wait. THAT Superman?”
“The very one. If I recall, it was he who rescued her from the accident that caused the death of her parents. Despite her having grown up abroad with limited English capability she learns very fast, gets on well with other children, though she does tend to disappear for periods without telling anyone. Secret boyfriend, I have a hunch, which is not THAT bad a thing for her might be one new headache for the both of you. But still, I can understand your reluctance given that she’s older than your preferred.”
“Well… if she’s 18, wouldn’t she want to be independent, rather than staying with us?”
“Dr Danvers, you know as well as I do that society today is not the same as I started working forty years back, where people can work their way up relatively easier at a younger age. She learns fast, supposedly a whiz in science and maths though struggling still with some parts of our language, and I remember her mentioning a desire to further her studies if the opportunity arise. There’s the desire and the determination within her, and I can assure you that despite all the hardships she is practically the constant sunshine in our home. She gets along well with children, adores animals and is practically an angel albeit she might need a higher financial maintenance.”
Before Fred could say anything else, Eliza answered “If we are willing, could we meet her?”
Not a moment too soon when they heard a quick knock on the door and the young, beautiful brunette that the Danvers couple saw earlier peaked into the room. “The van had just left for Grainsville, Mrs Tate; and the rest of the group are ready for… Oh, hello. Sorry about that.”
“Right on cue, Linda. This is Fred and Eliza Danvers. They would like to have the opportunity to be your parents.”
That night, Kara sat on the floor in the her own room with a small, round device in her hand. It’s been more than a week since she came back to help out at the Midvale Orphanage, and with all the going-ons around the place she had almost forgotten about her own predicament that she is still depowered and back to her initial slim and fit look. While she had tried to sound upbeat while speaking to Bruce both of them knew better, and she continued to try to hide her alarm that she has yet to regain her amazing abilities. A accidental minor cut the other day when she brushed her left hand over a sharper edge of the furniture was proof. However there wasn’t really much time for her to mope or to think about her own situation, what with so many tasks that kept on piling.
With most of the children transferred out already, there were only a few teenagers left. With Mrs Potts sick and Mrs Tate staying at her place, being the eldest among them, she is now in charge of the few who are still at the home pending their arrangements. So there’s no real worry for anyone to just burst into her room unannounced to see the entire spectacle. She has all the space and time in the world to do what she wants in her own room.
Almost as large as her hand with a bright star on top, the round device was turning slowly on its own, beautiful lights eminating from the device and throwing them all about the darkened room. The omegahedron is one of the few devices that her parents had placed in her pod together with few memory crystals before the entire planet destructed. One of the more technologically advanced items made and contains a wealth of information, it was now throwing out the stars across the galaxy of which Planet Krypton was part of, and Kara took comfort in identifying and recounting the various ones that she had learnt when her father took her stargazing infrequently.
Even as she observed the small flickers all about the darkened walls, her mind drifted from her memories of her perished parents, to the couple she saw earlier today. Despite being the first time, Kara had felt their warmth and sincerity, especially from Eliza Danvers. Fred was more reserved, though it might be due to his occupation as a policeman. They do feel legit. Mrs Tate had even spent time with her personally after the couple left, to try to encourage her to be their daughter.
“Give them a chance, Linda. I know all you young ones desire freedom and independence, but having a family around you can make the all the difference.”
Sighing slightly, she looked up towards the memory crystal that she put out on the small dresser. Touching on her Kryptonian bracelet that she put on not long ago, it activated the AI of the crystal, which then appeared as the person that she had missed the most.
Tears flowed freely as Kara saw a projection of Alura Zor-El appearing in front of her. Her dark hair flowing freely down behind her back, and dressed in a casual dark-blue coloured robe of the judicial council, she looked very much just like how Kara remembered her. Beautiful, regal.
“Mama. I miss you so much.”
“I know, little one. You were so brave, so strong.” The facial expression of the AI soften, which made Kara’s heart twist in pain even further. “Is there anything you want to ask me, my dear?”
“I… I…” Stuttering slightly, Kara finally gained the composure to ask “Mama, if I were to be adopted, will you agree?”
It sounded so childish and so illogical. But she wanted to know.
“My brave, brave little one. The moment we sent you on your way, I have already resigned to the fate that the galaxy and the stars will help us to watch over you. We can only hope and pray that whereever you end up, you will continue to live and grow up healthy and strong. While I have no way of knowing who they are or what they do, do you believe that you will be happy with them?”
“I… I think they are nice. But… but will you… will you agree?”
The AI smiled a sad smile. “My dear Kara, as I am sure you realised that by the time you see me in this form we have already perished with our planet. Only you can make your decision for yourself. However, no matter what decision you make, know that your father and I only want the best for you, and the most important thing is that we want you to continue living, and to be happy and healthy. Though we might be gone, remember that we will always be within your heart. All that we have, all our memories, are in these artifacts to keep you company. We love you so much, Kara.”
Tears continued flowing freely down Kara’s cheeks as she observed the kind, but sad look of her mother’s AI. Finally, she turned it off, and made her decision.