I heard that Will woke up on New Years day in Berlin, after the carnage of the night before, and suddenly realised which theme he would give me for day fourteen, the sound of silence.
(If you are joining Emmeline’s story today, welcome! It might help for you to begin here.)
And the world around her was utterly silent. J R Manawa.
Eric ran his hands through his hair in resignation as he set Emmeline upright on her feet again. The child was crying. She was upset and tired, and very human.
When he tried to let her go, she clung to him desperately. All she wanted was to be cuddled.
It was his turn to feel tired. Human children were unrealistically demanding, and Emmeline was no exception, despite being half not-human. He looked down at her holding onto his leg, and crossed his arms with a sigh.
How old was she? Four? Four years.
Sophia would be home from work soon and he would have to stop. His wife never approved of his lessons. She believed in the ridiculous concept that Emmeline was a child and should be allowed to play mindlessly without consideration to the fact that she was only half human with creatures of unspeakable darkness searching for her. Whether she was a new born, or a four year old, or whether she made it to adulthood, that wouldn’t change. Her life would always be under threat.
At some stage she needed to learn how to fight.
Or, she would die.
He prised her off his leg and knelt down to her level, “Emmeline, sweetheart, I want you to try this one more time,” he said, in the most placating voice he could manage. He turned her around to face her teddy bear. The teddy bear was a horrible looking thing, missing an eye, one ear and about fifty percent of it’s fluff. It was plain that the small child had hugged it and held it close every single day over the first four years of her life. But today teddy was alone, sitting on the fence post a few feet away from them.
“Now, make him move.” Eric let her go and stepped back.
Little Emmeline did not try very hard. Within seconds she had given up and was crying again.
“If you make him move, we will go down to the beach and buy an icecream when mummy gets home,” Eric tried bribery. All humans fell for bribery, didn’t they?
Emmeline did try a little harder this time, but still teddy sat on the fence post, incapable of movement, with his head lolling to the side. Eric noticed the other eye was starting to come loose too. He made a mental note to ask Sophia to sew it back on before the dirty, unsightly thing was completely eyeless.
Meanwhile, Emmeline had started to cry. She wanted the ice cream, but the teddy bear was not going to move by itself. She stormed up toward the fence post with both her little fists balled up, and her wavy locks of hair flying. Eric bent down and scooped her up before teddy got moved by force.
“You are so impatient,” he told her, holding her close into his chest. He mourned how big she was getting, and it worried him that she was growing up so fast and she was still so, so innocent.
He wound his olive-grey fingers through the waves of her hair, and felt her weight shift as she pressed her little face to his chest and relaxed. She trusted him so much, he was her father.
But he wasn’t, he wasn’t even human. And she needed to learn. In the distance, he could hear Sophia’s car pulling into the end of their road. She would be down the lane and up their driveway in a matter of minutes.
“Emmeline, Emmy! Look up,” he said urgently, yet softly.
Emmeline looked up at him with steel grey eyes so big and open, and she waited for him to speak.
“I want you focus on me, okay?” he said. He could hear the indicator on Sophia’s car at the bottom of their drive. The minuscule sound telling him that time was up. He continued, “I want you to think, very seriously right now, about how you would feel if someone took your mummy and me away.” The steel grey eyes remained locked with his. Innocent, but unwavering, “I want you to think about what you would do if you never got to see me or your mummy, ever again. And I want you to think about your teddy as you do that.”
With a muffled phhuuffffffffff, teddy vaporised into a thousand pieces.
Seventeen years later, Emmeline sat bolt upright in her bed, wide awake and alive, and the world around her was utterly silent.
‘Now these three remain, faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is Love.’
1 Cor 13