Chapter 12 - Baby Steps, Learning to Leap
How could she? She left him in the bath tub and ran when she found out. Just because she was scared? Just because she didn’t know what to do? His dad didn’t run out. His dad didn’t leave. But she left because she made one mistake. Because she was tired of him. Because she was scared. Then she found a new guy and started a new family. What was wrong with the one she had? What was so different? What made this guy so special? Why didn’t she leave THAT baby? Why wasn’t she scared of them?
Kale had been listening to his mother try to make him understand but all it was doing was pissing him off. The only reason he didn’t interrupt her and tell her to get out is because he had yet to hear why she did that to him. To his father. Grey got up to hold her shoulders. Why can’t he learn to keep his hands to himself? He’s the one that needed comforting, not her. He’s the one that’s stuck in this situation. Not that he’d want THIS guy to get anywhere near him. Why was he even there?
Why was his OWN dad holding THAT baby instead of THIS guy? Doesn’t he know how bad that looks? Why wasn’t he sitting next to him and comforting him? Why was he acknowledging THAT brat by even touching him?
Cielo sat down for the sixth time in her long winded story, like she had to pee but decided to hold it by crossing her legs but then got up and had to pace the floor to hold it longer. When she sat down, Kale could tell how much she wanted to hold his hand but he hid it under the covers and even sat on it. It was pretty chilly in the room too so he tried to move his good arm under his back to soak up some heat but the other half was still getting the ventilation blowing straight on it. His head was hurting and his skin was sweaty, making the placement of the vent over his bed all the more freezing. Curling up in the thin blanket did nothing. He’d been sitting there wondering when someone would notice and getting more pissed as he thought about it. His mother continued, taking off after ditching him in the hospital as an infant. Grey finally took THAT brat back and Clyde went back to standing by the window, maybe listening in, maybe not.
“I spent three years on the streets after that. It was…nightmarish. After about a year and a half, I found a church-run homeless shelter and after another year…well…I met Grey.” She gripped the hand on her shoulder that lovingly tightened. “He was twenty and helped out at the church and noticed me coming every week over time. It started with casual conversations about the weather which wasn’t always the best then he started slipping small treats in with my meal and one thing led to another.”
She gave him a look that made him want to finally speak up which really made Kale mad but his head was spinning too much for him to yell at the guy, “Someone saw her collapse on the sidewalk and brought her to the hospital. I worked part time there as a desk clerk. You could imagine my surprise when I saw her. I almost didn’t recognize her because I was so used to seeing her at the church. It’s what made me finally offer to let her stay at my place. She wouldn’t wash there though until I installed a shower, I didn’t get why until she finally told me she had a kid somewhere.”
Clyde over by the window looked back sideways when he heard so, as if this whole thing was uncomfortable but he sighed, knowing she felt just as much pain as she did. Cielo picked the story back up, “He helped me get a job at Marshals © so I could get a place of my own but both of us knew that was just the formalities talking. I stayed with him but…I didn’t want to restart a family. I didn’t deserve…I just couldn’t. He never asked why…well he did but he didn’t force me to answer. I could see it bothered him to I volunteered to see a therapist. It took me two years until I could finally tell him.
“Grey was always an understanding and patient person so we took it slow but after another year, I got pregnant again by accident. It took everything in me to let it…” Cielo’s eyes drifted off into memory and she had an uncomfortable look about her, “…I didn’t…I chose…not to abort it and regretted it the whole pregnancy. But we took parenting classes together so it calmed me a little. And when Angel finally came, I…I was so happy holding him…………but…”
Kale listened close. THIS is what he’d been waiting to hear; why she could start a new family and not come back to the one she had, “I felt horrible…I didn’t deserve Angel and I didn’t deserve you, Kale. Not after what I’d done. I admit, I was scared – mortified actually – but you didn’t deserve that. I wanted to see you but I didn’t feel like you wanted to see me…no…that’s a lie…I was scared to see you.”
Kale couldn’t stop tears from flooding his cheeks, he was so angry but all he could muster was a whimper, “Sacred of what? What did I do?”
“You didn’t do anything, sweetheart. I was scared you hated me, scared for you to know I was alive, had been alive this whole time. I’d been watching you for a few months now and when Clyde called to tell me you ran away to find me, I panicked. I stopped being scared and went out every day to find you and…when I saw you outside my window three nights ago, I was…I didn’t know what to do. I got scared again and…I felt like I shouldn’t follow you when you ran. Oh, sweetheart…”
“Don’t touch me.” Cielo withdrew her reach, “Just leave me alone…” Clyde motioned for them to leave the room, knowing his kid better than any of them, “We’ll be right outside, ‘kay buddy?”
Kale wouldn’t allow himself to sniffle or slip a sob, just rolled to face the wall and let the water and snot stream his scowl. He just sat there for however long when he heard something against glass to the other side of the room. After a second knocking noise, he turned over to see ‘Haven’ and Brooklyn looking in the window. Kale leapt out of bed which he quickly regretted as the brace on his upper arm and shoulder snagged against the side of the bed. This was the first time he really paid attention to his arm; a white brace was covering his right upper arm and shoulder. The sharp movement of it against him made him freeze in a cringe then creep more slowly across the room with pain in the grip or his left hand. It didn’t feeling like he broke it but it DEFINITELY hurt to move it too much. He was able to lift his arm but the job of pushed at the window to open it was exerted on his left arm; but the window refused to budge when he noticed a latch in the middle at the top. He couldn’t reach it and there was nothing to stand on in the room but while he was looking for something Severa knocked on the window for his attention so he’d see her pointing to the roof.
Poking his head out the door, he saw his mom and dad talking but Grey wasn’t anywhere around. He slid out the room quietly and rounded the corner, checking for Grey but he didn’t see him all the way to the elevator. Just as the doors opened Kale heard a loud, “HEY!”
Looking down the hall, Grey was holding THAT kid and just rounded the corner. Kale jumped into the elevator and kept hitting the biggest number he saw, then any buttons he could find, then he finally realized there was a door closing button just as someone down the way he came was calling for him to hold the door. The elevator door closed but just before he went up, he heard Grey tell whoever missed the elevator to hold THAT baby and his voice grow fainter while calling Kale’s parents.
He quickly regretted hitting every button as he went down first. As soon as the door opened, another patient came in and remained quiet as the elevator went further down. The door opened again but no one got on so the doors closed again when Kale started getting paranoid and hit the button to close the doors. It went down further and when it opened, the other person got off just as he heard the other elevator open. No one was rushing out so he ran into the other elevator but this one was still going down. Still, anything was better than stopping at every floor. By the time he’d get to the roof, there’d be someone waiting for him at every floor. There was a male nurse in the elevator but he tried his best not to pant in front of him. The man still took notice, “Are you sure you should be out of bed?”
“I’m fine. I just want a few minutes out of that stupid room.” Kale almost smiled at his quick genius moment because the nurse left him alone. The elevator stopped at the very first floor and when the man got off, Kale quickly hit the close-door button just as his dad was rounding the corner, “STOP THAT ELEVATOR!!!” the nurse didn’t respond in time before the door closed. He hit the top floor button fast and paced the elevator floor waiting for it to one respond and two go faster. He thought about how if the elevator didn’t go straight to the roof, he’d have to take the stairs and risk running into his parents. He’d have to come up with something quick if he was going to get away. There was a fire escape map showing where the stairs were – which was right down the hall going straight out of the elevator and instructions for how to get out of the elevator in case of an emergency.
When the doors opened to the top most floor, it wasn’t the roof so Kale ran out and looked around for a place to hide and found a gurney with a person covered over the face with a cloth. Just as he situated himself, he saw his dad, Grey, and a nurse run down the hall and look in the elevator. The saw the other elevator going down and assumed her got off the one he was on and back onto the first to go down. He even heard the female nurse call him a smart kid as they all ran back to the stairs. Kale followed them out of sight and when he saw them go down, he went up.
The door to the roof was locked so he grabbed a fire extinguisher, which was Quite difficult with one arm in a brace and the extinguisher weighing what he thought to be a metric ton. There was a searing pain throughout his arm as he raised it up and slammed it down on the latch. Along with a cracking in his shoulder, he could hear the clang alerting some people near the bottom of the stairs and looked over to see his mom pointing at him. He picked up the extinguisher again and threw it at the handle but missed so he did it one last time – the most he could further manage with the growing pain – and the door jerked open. Just to trip up his pursuers, he shoved the extinguisher with his foot onto the second flight going down which somewhat punctured the canister to make it spin uncontrolled.
On the roof was linked fencing that curved in, likely to prevent jumpers and just coming down from it was ‘Haven’ and Brooklyn. Kale didn’t hesitate and ran to them, “You’re here!”
Severa and Brooklyn were nearly knocked off balance when he leapt into them, an arm around each of them as best he could manage with the cast. The moment was short lived though, “We have to go now! Before they…”
A deafening shriek came from behind him, one of the female nurses, then another from his mother. Clyde didn’t pause as he reached the top of the stairs and the male nurse was right behind him followed by Grey once his feet found the nerve to move. Severa took the forefront and signaled Brooklyn to take Kale to the corner where he could be better guarded. Severa mowed through Grey when the male nurse moved out the way. Clyde when straight for Brooklyn but was greatly outmatched. Brooklyn knocked him back just as he was reaching for Kale’s arm. He got back up though and through a blow of his own, a tribute from years at the loading docks, “We’re not trying to hurt the kid! Please just listen!”
“I’ll go call the cops!” the female nurse went back inside with his mom but Cielo came back with the fire extinguisher while. Grey and the male nurse tackled Severa to the ground, “Get Off! We just wanted to talk!”
Cielo ran towards Brooklyn and sprayed what was left in the canister into Brooklyn’s face. It wasn’t much but it made Brooklyn close his eyes long enough for Clyde to sock him hard in the head to the left and Cielo hit him to the ground with the empty canister. Kale ran from Cielo reaching for him and dashed to help ‘Haven’, “GET OFF OF HER!”
He seized Grey by the hair and kicked him, something he’d been dying to do since he first saw him kiss his mom. He took hold of Kale, trying not to hurt him or jack his injured arm up further but continuing to weigh Severa down was the smarter course of action since the nurse couldn’t do it one his own. She used her wings to shove the man away and separated Grey from Kale just as Brooklyn tripped Cielo and Clyde with his tail and joined up to with her, “They won’t listen to us. We need to think of something before the cops get involved.”
They all certainly heard sirens in the background. Severa backed up with Kale behind her urging Brooklyn to do the same, “I have an idea but it’s very crazy and you both have to trust me.”
Severa grabbed Kale and ripped the links in the fence apart wide enough to shove the boy outside it. Cielo screamed and ran towards them but Clyde held her back with all the strength he had. Severa barked, “BACK OFF! NOW!”
She held Kale by his left wrist over the side of the building and the poor child was wriggling and crying from terror. They all slowly backed away towards the door, Cielo having to be pulled by both Clyde and Grey which in their minds would sustain the boy’s life. She quickly pulled Kale back in and cradled him over her lap as he cried into her shoulder, “Shh, shh; I’m sorry. I’d never hurt you. I promise. I’ll never do something that stupid again.”
The adults surveyed this perplexing scene of a monster holding the child so tenderly after threatening to kill him so abruptly. She held his waist in one arm and his head in the other hand, feeling his fever against her. Brooklyn finally spoke up, “That was crazy…but effective. How you doing, Kale?”
Kale wiped his nose and gripped the hem of ‘Haven’s’ midriff staring desperation towards them, “Take me with you. Please. I don’t want to go with them.”
“But isn’t that your mom? From the picture?” Severa quizzed. Kale withdrew from looking her in the eye and focused on her bare shoulders intensely, “She’s not my mom anymore.”
Severa looked at Brooklyn who looked back at her. Then they looked at the woman whose eyes were filling with tears before turning back to Kale, Brooklyn speaking first, “We’re happy you’re safe. You gave the whole clan a scare, Severa the most.”
“Who?” Brooklyn forgot Kale didn’t know yet so she cleared it up, “I lied back when I said I didn’t have a name but my real name is Severa. It was an old name I didn’t want to use…or hear. Brought back too many memories. How is your arm?”
“You’re not going to take me, are you?” Kale stated bluntly. Both Brooklyn and Severa looked away, leaving Kale to cry over his scowl, “I don’t want to stay here. I want to come with you.”
Severa sighed as she set Kale on his knees to look him in the eyes, “I’m sorry, Kale, but it isn’t right for me to take you away from your family.”
“They’re not my family.”
“Don’t say that. When you have nothing, all you have left is familia. That’s the woman who gave you life and that man raise you. You can’t say that amounts to nothing.”
“They lied to me.”
“And you’re going to let that stop you? They may have lied but how many lies have you told them when you thought it convenient? How much do you think you scared them when you ran away? They may have lied but they still love you.”
“No they don’t and I don’t love them.”
“Yes you do. If they died right now, you’d miss them too much.”
A whole new layer of tears were falling over his cheeks now but Severa continued while taking his hands into hers, “Where I come from, we have a saying: ‘La familia lo es todo’. It means family is everything. I lost my family, but you still have a chance to be with yours. Don’t take that gift for granted.”
“Shhhhh…” Severa pulled him in to hold him and sighed, “…this won’t be easy for you. It’s going to be hard and it will get scary at times, but you have to keep moving forward. They Are your mama and your papi; they are family.”
Kale hugged her neck tightly, reminding her of some things she did, “I’m sorry if I ever made you feel unwanted. I was not well in the mind and I can see that now.”
She knew they were pushing their luck with the police on the way but she took Kale and held his head under her chin to calm him, “When I hatched, I poked my head out, then hid back in my shell when I saw a pretty lady in black robes.”
Brooklyn noted how the adults had seemingly calmed down enough not to pounce them so he let down enough of his guard to hear this story. “Then I saw a scaly blue face peek in and tell me it was okay to come out but he scared me more. When I finally came out the lady told me her name was Hermana Ivelisse and that the blue thing that looked more like me was my brother, Alonso, and that he had hatched a few months before me. Then Alonso told me my name was Severa. I asked why I was Severa and he told me it was his idea. A few months later after I started calling Hermana Ivelisse Monja just like Alonso did, I asked again why I was Severa and why Alonso was Alonso. She said she named us after saints but she named me after a martyr. My name came from a young girl killed in the Roman Empire for being a Christian and that her remains are kept in Notre Dame in France. When my younger brother hatched, she named him after the city that fell to the Israelites and my little sister after Eve.”
The story was calming him down but now the police were at the building’s entrances. Severa took Kale’s face into her palms and looked in his eyes, “You know what, you may look nothing like her, but you have the same spirit my little sister had. I know you can do this. And we’ll always be around when you’re in trouble.”
Kale was a little more composed when he put up his smallest finger to both of them, “You have to pinky swear I’ll see you guys again.”
Brooklyn being more familiar with this custom took his finger despite hearing the police could be heard coming up the stairs and signaled Severa to do the same. She wrapped her furthest most claw around both of their fingers. When they came to the top and out onto the roof, Brooklyn and Severa dashed through the hole made in the fence and took off. Cielo and Clyde rushed to secure the child and Kale at this point didn’t care who touched him because Grey was checking for injuries with the male nurse. Shots were fired at them but not many as they were out of range.
Severa looked back, uncertain of what would happen to Kale after this but felt a weight fall from her. Whatever his decision, she couldn’t get any further involved, only wish him the best. It may have been the relief from stress, but she stop focusing on flight and fell but Brooklyn caught her and got her back into conscious gliding.
When they got back, only Bronx greeted them, slobbering all over them. None of the rest of the clan were there which jolted the memory that the others were still out looking for Kale and that they went off on their own without reporting in. Calling them all back was a little complicated and when they were all gathered at Wyvern castle courtyard, Goliath chewed them out. Still, overall, they were relieved to learn that Kale, Brooklyn, and Severa were alright. And it came as a small shock to hear why Brooklyn was calling ‘Haven’ Severa.The rest of the night, however much was left, carried on rather calmly and the first thing Severa wanted to do was swim in the waterfall pond within the building. Angela came down to join Brooklyn in watching and share their experiences for better understanding of this unsociable enigma they were now calling Severa. After a few leaps into the air and an all-around relaxing swim, this unsociable young gargoyle joined Angela and Brooklyn next to the edge of the water and listened to more about themselves, solidifying her first friendship with other gargoyles.