Prologue: It was dark. The only light in the room came from a single bulb in the roof. All the food was gone, even the spare cans, and had been so since last evening, almost a whole day by now. Well, dad would come back soon with more. He propably just had some problems with the ones outside. Why don't I read a little? No, I was too bored. It wouldn't be interesting. I should propably check on the baby creature, but he scared me with his long nose and big ears. Dad would be back soon and then we could do it together. The creature would be fine, he could manage it without food as long as I.
I could bounce with the green ball and try to break my own record. It was 2786 bounces without dropping it. Dad's where over 5000, but he was older than me.
Right, the ball lied besides the creature, in the darkest corner.
Why didn't I just go to sleep, there was nothing I wanted to do anyway. Dad would come here soon with food.
I was about to fall asleep when I heard a noise. Was it dad? There were several poundings on the door. Perhaps dad had trouble unlocking it. Suddenly, it broke open and some more light came in. The screams began.
"Holy shit, there's a girl down here!"
"Is she alive?"
"Think so, she's moving."
None of these were dad. He had failed.They had got to me.
Officer Nielsen's POV
Oh, how she screamed as I carried her out of the house. She was about fifteen, but couldn't weigh more than forty kilograms. She was all pale, which made me wonder if she had been down there all her life. She screamed about monsters, bad things and evil men who had her dad. Poor girl, it sounded like she wanted to be stuck in that cellar. I put her in the back of the police car and sat down besides her. She was silent for a while, just crying quiet, as far away in the car from me as she could get. Then something came upon her and she started screaming again.
"The baby creature! It will die if I don't take care of it! It might get bad again! I must take care of the baby creature! I must get it!" I wondered what the creature was. A pet, perhaps? I should ask the guys who searched the house for it so she could have it as it was so important. I should try to comfort her, but she was so upset that I was afraid to damage the poor kid's mind even more. She semt to think that I was one of the "evil men" and kept crying. When we arrived at the police station I recognised Mrs Walters car outside. She was a social worker and very professional, she would be needed at this case. The girl besides me hadn't looked outside the car during the whole ride and it didn't seem like she would do now, even though the car had stopped.
"We're here now, miss. Do you mind if I carry you in? It's pretty cold on the ground." It was snow everywhere, and the girl only had a blouse and jeans. She didn't even had any shoes. She didn't reply, so I picked her up and nodded to my co-worker Tom to open the door.
"I'm going back to see if they have found anything.", he said. I had get thrown on the case with no time to ask about anything, so I had no idea what they wanted to find.
"She's" I nodded at the girl "asking for a "baby creature", perhaps a pet. It seems important to her, could you check if there's something down there?"
"Sure, but it might end up as evidence, you know. You should get her inside, it's freezing."
"See ya later."
"Bye." He got into the car and I started to walk to the station. When I got in Mrs Walters and one of my female collegues, Lizzie stood up from the group of couches in the waiting room.
"Good afternoon Mr Nielsen." Mrs Walters had a soft voice. I put the girl down on the floor. She still cried and semt death scared.
"Hi honey, I'm Dana Walters. What's your name?"
"Idaho." She spoke with a small voice, it was hard to hear what she said and I thought that she said "I don't know." until Mrs Walters replied.
"Hi Idaho. Can I talk to you for a moment?"
"Why? Where's dad?" She cried and was clearly horrified.
"There are some things I need to tell you, and some things you need to tell me. We can talk about your dad to, if you want to."
"Where is he?"
"Come with me, Idaho, and we'll sort things out." She took Idaho by the hand, which made the girl hold her breathe, and led her to the coffe room, like if she had been a small girl.
The strange lady, Dana Walters, led me to a small room and gave me a plate with something yellow on it.
"Here, honey, you should eat, have a cupcake." So it was a "cupcake". I didn't want to eat it, it could be poisoned, and dad always told me just to eat what he brought. Mrs Walters didn't seem so evil, but dad had said that some of the outside ones were nice first and then turned out bad.
"So Idaho, can I ask you some questions?" Idaho. I didn't like them calling me that, dad never did, but if I told them that they might get bad and hurt me.
"Where is dad?"
"We will talk about that soon, I need to ask you some questions first, okay?" I didn't answer. I should be the one asking questions. Why are they hiding that they are evil? Why haven't the creatures appeared yet? Where is dad? What's a "cupcake"?
"So Idaho, how old are you?"
"Fifteen." Or that's how many ice cream papers I have glued up on a paper. Dad had trouble getting ice creams, but still, I always had one on my birthday. "Just answer, and they won't hurt you", I thought to my self.
"How long have you lived down in the room the police found you?" Dana Walters sounded calm and soft, but I could hear that she was curious.
"That's my home. I've always lived there."
"How often did you go out?"
"Never. It wasn't safe." I shouldn't be telling this. She is also bad.
"Doesn't matter. Dad wanted me to be safe, because he loved me. Where is he?"
"It isn't dangerous here, Idaho. Can you tell me what your dad told you the world looked like?"
No, no, no, this was bad. Dad told me never to speak about me and him if he would fail with protecting me. I had said too much already.
Mrs Walters POV
Poor girl. Fifteen years living in a cellar. I'm glad they put me, and not a newbie, on this case, because one wrong word and she would be even more scared, if possible. I didn't like asking the questions like this, just straight up, but my boss had been very clear on that we need the answers quickly and so she had wrote the questions on a paper for me. I almost threw the paper away when I saw the poor girl shaking after my last question. She was nervous and scared and I was pretty sure that her dad had forbidden to talk.
"Idaho, You need to tell me this. Please?"
"N-no, dad t-told me not to", she sobbed.
"Idaho, would you like me to tell you where your dad is and why?"
"Your dad is under questioning by the police. He has been arrested for mixing with people's minds and murder." Idaho was quiet for a few seconds and then started screaming.
"No, no! He hasn't done that, he isn't bad, you are, you're wrong, don't take him!"
They were wrong. Dad wasn't evil, all he did he did to protect me from bad people. You should punish bad people, he had said. They had done wrong and should be punished. The baby creatures should be taken care of, so that they never turned bad. I couldn't stop it, I just screamed. I don't know for how long Dana Walters let me continue, but when I stopped, I saw something in her eyes. No, it couldn't be. Dad said that they never... No, it couldn't be anything else. Dana Walters felt sorry for me.
She felt sorry for me. But then she couldn't be bad. Dad had been wrong. Or... No, he wouldn't lie. He loved me and wanted to protect me.
"You're not bad", I wispered before I could stop it.
"No, I'm not." She smiled. "I want to help you, Idaho."
"Why?" Dana Walters trew a paper in the trash bin.
"You had a different li-" I opened my mouth to snap her off but she held up a finger to silent me. "a different life, I'm not saying bad, but very different. It shouldn't have been that way, no child should be held in a cellar like that."
"It was to protect me."
"It wasn't, Idaho. Your dad is a psycologist, and likes to play with other peoples minds."
"What?" I didn't recognise the word
"He likes to... Make people believe that things are different than they really are."
"Is that a crime?"
"Who did he murder?"
These people didn't know what murder was. I knew that if you kill once or twice, not more, and only in self defense, it isn't murder. Dad had told me that after bringing a dead body home once.
Mrs Walters hesitated, looking concerned.
"Over 50 people."
The next I knew I was lying on a sofa next to a fake plant. Dana Walters sat besides me, worried. Another thing the evil people weren't.
"How are you?"
"Are you okay, Idaho?"
"Dad never killed so many! I would know, he told me everything! You are bad too! You're tricking me, you're not nice at all!"
"Stop! You're evil! Leave me! Get away!"
"Idaho, you mu-"
"Go! Get away from me! You're bad!" I started to cry, most in anger, and she sat besides me for what felt like hours. I went tired and slowly fell asleep. When I woke up, a completely strange lady sat besides me. She smiled, but I was scared. I didn't want to talk to them, I wanted dad, I wanted to be home, the only place on Earth that was safe. When I thought about it, that wasn't true anymore. Nowhere was safe now.
What was left? Death?
"Hello", the strange lady said. She was really beautiful, with long brown hair and dark golden eyes.
"I'm Mary Sanders."
"Why are you here?"
"Mrs Walters asked me to come."
"You need somewhere to live, right?"
"No. I live with dad."
"But now your dad is away, so you have to stay somewhere." She sounded so nice, and I was secretly hoping that dad was wrong. That there was nice people too.
"I live with my family just outside town. Mrs Walters has asked me to let you live with us."
"I want to live with dad."
"I'm sorry, Idaho, but you can't." She really sounded sorry, and there was something I wanted to ask her, something I had to know that dad was right about.
"Do you have children?"
"Yes, a son and a daughter." She smiled at me.
"James is 17-" I had to interupt.
"Is James the boy or girl?" She looked surprised, but answered.
"A boy. My girl, Diana, is six." No. Another thing that weren't true. Dad had always told me that I was the youngest person in the world and that's why he had to protect me. But this woman... She couldn't know that I even existed until now, so what reason would she have to lie? Dad had been wrong. Again.
"Is everything allright?"
"No", was all I could say before starting to cry heavily again. Mary Sanders stroke my back, which I had turned against her. It felt safe, like if she really wanted to comfort me. I didn't resist, I was too tired. After a while, she asked:
"Would you like to go home to me now? It's getting late. I have made a room ready for you."
"I want to go home to me."
"Please? You must be hungry too. When did you eat something last?" I hadn't ate anything in the whole day, but I wouldn't tell her that.
"I'm not hungry. And I want to go home." Suddenly, Mrs Walters appered.
"Idaho, you should go with Mrs-"
"Away! You're evil! Get away!" She was evil, a lier. She backed out through the door after giving Mrs Sanders a sad look.
"Come on, Idaho, you have to sleep somewhere anyway. Can't you try to sleep in my home tonight? You can move to another house later if you want to, but it would be really nice if you wanted to stay with us." I thought things over both twice and trice before saying:
"Okay. But I will move home when they let dad go." She didn't protest, but she didn't agree either.
"Let's go then. I think Rickard, my husband, has made dinner." I stood up from the sofa and we walked to the exit. There a jacket and a plastic bag hanged.
"The bag is for you. Mrs Walters said you would need some clothes." She took out a pair of shoes and a grey jacket.
"It's James' old jacket, so it might be a little big."
"Okey. Thanks. Umm, how do I do with these?" I pointed at the shoes. I had seen dad wear things like these, but not with strings all over them. Mary smiled at me.
"Just put your feet into them and tie them."
"Oh, okay" I did so while Mary put her jacket on and then we went outside. It was cold and something white was flying around. It looked exactly like the things that came out of the baby creatures when they died. I didn't want to get into the car first, it looked scary, but Mary promised that it wouldn't hurt me and that it was fun to go in it. I went inside, but most of the ride I stared down at the floor. Mary talked for the whole ride about her family and their house, but I didn't listen much. When we stopped outside a big yellow house I went out and stared at it. I had never seen anything so big. It had windows in two rows and a big garden.
"Shall we go in?" Everything that my father had told me bounced inside my head, screaming to me to run away. I didn't want to. I wanted to see if dad was wrong, if there was nice people and younger kids. I had always been curious, always had things to ask dad when he got home.
And, what would the evil ones do if I ran away?
"Okey." We walked towards the door and when we opened it, a nice smell came towards us..
"We're home!", Mary shouted. Immedatly, a nice looking man came out of the kitchen and a younger boy showed up in the stairs. He looked like his mother, but with lighter hair.
I had once asked dad what "handsome" ment. He had laughed and said that he was handsome. I really thought so then, but he was nothing compared to this boy. He smiled at me and came down.
"Hi, I'm James. You're Idaho, right?" I guessed I were, so I nodded, to shy to speak.
"Nice. You're gonna live with us?" Mary did something I didn't understand. She glared at James. He had only asked a question.
"Yes, for a little while at least.", I said. Strangely, my voice didn't quite work as it should, so it more sounded like a wisper. He smiled and went into the kitchen.
"Hi Idaho, I'm Rickard." The man smiled. "Would you like to eat something?" I was hungry, but not sure I should eat whatever someone else than dad brought me. Still, I had to be nice.
"Okay, dinner will be ready in a minute."
"Where is Diana?", Mary asked Rickard.
"She's at Elizabeth's house doing her homework, but she will be home in a minute." A few seconds later, the door was slammed open behind us and a small girl with long blond hair rushed in.
"It's snowing! Is it pie for dinner? What's your name?" I smiled. She just couldn't be evil.
"I don't know." All the family members stared at me.
"But... Idaho then?", Mary said.
"I never said that's my name. Mrs Walters just said that."
"You never got a name? Then what did your dad called you?" James semt calm.
"You, Girlie, Girl, Small, Slut..."
"He...He called you what?" James suddenly looked angry, surprised and sorry at the same time. I wondered why, we met two minutes ago, he shouldn't care so much about me.
"Slut, is there something wrong with that?" James looked at his mother, and I guessed that Mary was the only one that really knew what they said my father had done.
"Slut is...well, an ugly word." Mary semt a little uncomfortable.
"What?" I didn't understand. Dad called me that alot.
"You can't say that. It's bad." Little Diana broke in. "A boy in school called Elizabeth that and my teacher got mad."
Had dad called me an ugly word? It couldn't be so, it must be a different way. What ways were they? There was only two things I could think of. Either, he didn't know that it was bad, which was higly unthinkable, he used to say that he knew everything. The other alternative... He called me something bad and he knew it.
I heard mum picking up the phone downstairs. A couple of minutes later, she knocked on my door.
"Can you help your father to make the room ready?" I opened the door to look at her. She semt worried and disgusted, like the time Diana didn't came home from school in time and the news of a pedofile just came on the news.
"What's wrong?", I asked.
"Mrs Walters just called." We had alot of contact with her and she always called mum first when she had a child who needed a new home.
"What did she say?" I followed mum, who started walking towards the room where we kept old clothes, toys and other things.
"They just got a girl in. She's been kept in a cellar by her dad her whole life." Shit, who could do that to another person? I usually didn' t hate persons I hadn't even spoken to, but now I felt anger blossom.
"Fifteen. Where are those shoes?"
"Check the drawer." Fifteen. Fifteen years in a cellar. I felt faint. I was seventeen and couldn't even imagine how it would feel.
"Help your dad with the room, okay? Not too girlish. And tell him to start dinner as soon as possible. They got her dad almost three days ago, so she must be hungry. And James..."
"When we get back... Go very easy, okay?"
"I always do."
"Extra very easy. She's never met another person than her dad. Got to rush now. Tell Di too. Bye!"
"Bye." I went into the room dad was making ready. We had a basic room with a bed, desc and some wardrobes, all white, and depending on who was going to stay there we put different things in it. Dad hadn't put so much in it yet, only a blue chair and some decorative pillows in different colours.
"Hi James, did mum speak to you?"
"Yeah, new girl. Where's Di? I should tell her."
"She just went to Elizabeth's house, but she's used by now, this is the sixth child."
"I don't count the last one." I smiled to myself. The last one, Lara, had only stayed one night. She had called the social's office by herself in the morning because of dad's snoring disturbing her sleep. Actually, dad didn't snore so much, Lara was only terribly spoiled.
"Want any help?" I did a gesture around the room.
"No, I think I'm finished. I have no idea what she can like, dislike or be scared of."
"James, she can't have seen anything of the world. Who knows what she thinks is frightening?"
"But blue chairs are okay?"
"Yeah, I know, go easy."
"Come on dad, I've actually never cared much for the foster kids."
"I know", dad smiled. This girl was the oldest we took care of, most had been in the ages four to eight.
"Mum told you to start with dinner. Want any help?"
"Yeah, sure, you in a kitchen. My deepest wish."
"Come on, dad..."
"Remember the barbequed chicken? I had nightmares for weeks."
"Kids complaining on my snoring.
Now go do something constructive instead of standing here." That's how dad was. Always a joke ready.
"You mean sitting on my room doodling and listen to music?"
"Excactly. Off you go." I went into my own room and turned the CD-player on. Immedatly, The Beatles sounded in the whole room. I sat down on my bed, picking up my papers. I watched my almost done drawing. It was a picture of a mockingbird, my mother's favourite bird. I tried to focus on my paper but couldn't get the girl that was going to live with us out of my head. How would she be? Angry, scared, curious? I had started skissing when another thought came to me. Had she ever seen a mockingbird? I saw at least three or four a day, they were a part, small, but still part of my life. That was the one thought that bothered me the most. I looked out the window. It was dark, but I could hear the birds that lived in the tree outside my room. Suddenly, I remembered something I had seen in the storage. Something to might help her a little.