Start of Something
A voice echoed through the endless darkness that surrounded Master Splinter like a stranglehold. He could barely breathe, could hardly see, and his entire body felt heavy. Every time he tried to move, he felt pain shooting through him so agonizing that he could barely stand it.
“Who is there?” He called out, his own voice seemingly weakened by this suffocating darkness.
That same voice echoed, this time as if a godly being spoke. There was no source, but it seemed the totalitarian darkness around him was its source. A voice from all directions, without distinction.
“Don’t stop. Can’t stop. Run.” It seemed more panicked now.
“Run.” It echoed, louder.
“Run!” It seemed scared, terrified.
He felt a chill run down his entire body, his every instinct telling him that something was behind him. His heart racing, he turned around to see a large silhouette towering over him. He didn’t recognize the shape, but he could sense its malicious intent. Whatever it was, it was the epitome of evil.
Splinter sat up, his fur soaked with cold sweat and his eyes dilated. His chest felt heavy, and his mind was in a fog. With deep breaths, he slowly felt his chi realign before rising from his bed. His dreams had become more and more vivid these past several days, warning him of some unknown horror. He had meditated on the meaning behind his dreams, but he still had no idea of what it could be.
He grabbed a small damp rag from the rotted wood end table, dabbing his face lightly. It had been getting more and more use over the last few weeks. He sighed.
“Perhaps the joy that only my sons could bring me will help me settle from my dreams.”
He smiled, standing up and dusting off the fur on his chest and grabbing one of his robes. He slipped it on, looking in the cracked mirror he had set up, giving himself a small nod of approval. He then approached the door and took a deep breath.
“Grant me patience to withstand the day.”
Splinter slowly opened the door to the main area of the small home he shared with his four sons, and was immediately greeted by the sight of his youngest son, Michelangelo, flying through the air on his skateboard.
“Cowabunga!” He screamed as he flew.
His skateboard slapped hard against the crack granite top of the makeshift lab that belonged to his brother Donatello. Vials and beakers jumped, then smashed against the floor as the blur of green and orange rolled off and smacked the concrete of the floor.
“Mikey!” Donatello shouted, picking himself up off the ground and adjusting his purple headband. “You’re wrecking my lab!”
Mikey merely looked over his shoulder as he shredded down the railing of the short staircase towards the couch.
“Sorry Don!” He called, as he performed a trick jump over the coffee table, “It was in the way.”
Splinter sighed, his claws pinching the bridge of his snout as he shook his head. He then reached over for the large walking stick that was leaning by the door. He loved his adopted sons very much, and they were his new world as they had been for the last thirteen years. However, there were some moments when punishment was needed.
This was one of those moments.
Mikey kick flipped towards Splinter, a goofy grin on his face.
“Hey Master Splin-”
The walking stick spun, slapping the ground hard in front of the skateboard. The wheels stopped and Mikey was sent flying off of it, landing with a loud splat into a pile of garbage the family had compiled.
“Michelangelo,” He said sternly, before grabbing the skateboard, “You must learn respect for others. Otherwise, they will treat your possessions as crudely as you have theirs.”
Mikey pulled his face out of the trash, his orange bandanna stained with bits of garbage stains. He spat slightly, spewing out whatever he had in his mouth before turning his attention back to Master Splinter.
“Sorry, Master Splinter.” He said, his head bowing.
Splinter held out the skateboard, which Mikey quickly grabbed. As he watched Mikey walk over to Donatello, helping him in the clean-up efforts, a small smile graced his rat-like features. It was hard to believe that a mere thirteen years ago had passed since that fateful day. Though he often wondered how his life could have been, we was quite content with the new life he had built for himself and his sons.
Once he saw Mikey and Donny were finished cleaning up the lab, he clapped his hands twice. This quickly drew the attention of everyone, knowing that gesture as a call for their attention. They all turned to him as he leaned against his walking stick.
“My sons,” He spoke, “I believe it is time we venture to the surface.”
A groan filled the room emanating from the TV area.
“But Sensei…” moaned Raphael, sitting up from the couch he was hidden behind, “I’m only 200,000 points from a new high score!”
He raised the control up in the air, an old beaten piece of jump that had clearly been abused over the numerous times. By now, it was barely holding itself together with the aid of duct tape.
“You’re game can wait,” Splinter replied. “Unlike our hunger which isn’t as patient.”
The red turtle sighed as he pressed the pause button and made his way over to his Master. Leonardo, who had been training diligently in the small dojo area, walked into the room with an old towel on his shoulder.
“Let me guess,” He said as he set the towel aside. “Surface?”
“Surface” The three others spoke simultaneously, two out of three of them expressing no small amount of glee.
Splinter tapped his walking stick against the ground, regaining his sons’ attention. They all fell silent, turning to him.
“My sons… I know that you are curious about the outside world, but you must remember, we are not like those who walk above us. We are different, and in their world, we would not be easily accepted. That is why we must remain hidden. That is why I have trained you in the ancient art of ninjitsu.”
The boys all nodded. Despite their curiosity, they knew that if they were ever discovered by the humans, they would be treated as monsters.
“Go my sons.” Splinter said. “Supplies will not find itself.”
"Hai Sensei.” The boys said in unison.
They all leapt to their feet, grabbing their weapons from a large rack near the entrance into the main part of the sewers. In almost perfect synchronization, they darted into the endless expanse of tunnels, the thoughts of another night on the surface fueling their momentum.
In the windswept streets of Madison Avenue, a young girl struggled to walk down the street. Her bare feet pattered in the multitude of puddles as the rain came down in droves. It hid the tears that ran down her face as she continued forward, leaning heavily against the wall of the building she was walking past.
She was soaked, water dripping from her flimsy clothes and down her shaven head as she turned down an alleyway. Her foot slipped and her legs gave out from underneath her. She fell, scraping her already dirty and bruised knees, the blood turning the puddles beneath her an angry red color. Unable to push herself back to her feet, she crawled towards a dumpster for cover, every fiber of her slim form shaking from the effort. As she huddled against the side of the dumpster, she took an old newspaper and wrapped it around herself, trying to conserve any remaining warmth her chilled body still had. The ink stained her hands as the wet paper disintegrated in her palms. She gripped what little she could, desperate to stay warm. Desperate to stay alive.
She heard footsteps off in the distance, their stomping presence approaching her tiny hiding place like marching men. A voice, muffled by the rain and the distance, barked out orders. She winced as she forced herself to stand on her quivering legs, ignoring the searing pain that coursed through her weakened body.
The lid to the dumpster was open, allowing for her to tumble into the waiting embrace of the garbage. There was a loud thud of the lid coming down, then silence. She held her breath, fearing that the noise would draw the attention of those just outside of her steel coffin.
“Think they went this way?” A deep and hoarse voice spoke.
“Nah, he wouldn’t trap them both like that” A much hoarser voice replied. “Hr ain’t as stupid as you think. Come on, I think I heard something down this way.”
The footsteps began to recede as the men began to march away. Still, she didn’t allow even the slightest spark of hope to flutter into her heart. She couldn’t afford to. So she waited, her breath thread with both pain and fear.
“Maybe they aren’t here after all.” The gravel-voiced man muttered.
Suddenly, there was a muffled sound, like a radio or something of that nature.
“Shit, how’d they reach Fifth and Main? We’re on it!”
The sound of their footfalls were more real this time and she sighed in utter relief. Now as safe as she would probably ever be, the girl allowed her exhaustion to overtake her as her eyes fluttered closed.
The turtles approached the ladder to the surface. It was rusted and coated in a thick layer of slimy mildew, and above it, the sewer lid read ‘Madison Avenue - New York Public Works’.
“We haven’t searched here before.” Leo pointed out as he grabbed the ladder, “We haven’t marked it with an X yet.”
“Oooooh.” chimed Mikey, His eyes gleaming with excitement. “Rich people’s trash! Think I’ll find one of those fancy sports cars here?”
Leo merely rolled his eyes at his brother’s question. Raph, however, slapped him hard upside the head, the sound echoed through the tunnel as he took hold of the ladder.
“Really Mikey?” He asked, “We’ll probably just find their Junkers like we usually do.”
Mikey sighed, then snagged his turn on the ladder. Donny looked around, making sure no one spotted them down there before climbing up himself. Leonardo reached the top of the ladder, slowly and quietly pushing the lid up off the ground. He peaked out through the small crack, looking left and right as if preparing to cross the street.
The alleyway was completely devoid of life, the perfect place for them to exit. Leonardo pushed the lid all the way off, then pulled himself onto the pavement. He stood up, then turned around to offer a hand up. Raph gratefully accepted the help and Leo pulled him from the sewer. Raphael then stepped into a nearby puddle, wiping the slime from his feet as Mikey held his hand up,
“Umm, a little help?”
Raph grabbed his hand, pulling him to his feet. Mikey dusted himself off, then turned towards the entrance of the alleyway. He spread his arms wide, a big goofy grin on his face.
“Hello! New York Cit-”
Raphael slapped Mikey yet again, eliciting a yelp from the orange turtle.
“Mikey!” He hissed, “What part of ‘Stealth’ don’t you understand?!”
Leonardo looked back at the two, bickering like they always did. Donatello was waving his hand for help, with no response. With a sigh, Donny gripping the edge of the sewer grate and pulled himself out. Mikey and Raphael were still at each other’s throats as Donatello brushed his chest and dusted his hands. He then grabbed Mikey and Raph by the neck and forced their heads together.
“There we go,” He said, as they both finally stopped fighting, “We’re now back on track for being silent!”
Their attempt at silence didn’t last too long unfortunately. Leonardo had found a promising dumpster and took hold of the heavy dumpster lid. He lifted it open slightly, peeking inside. He gasped in utter shock before throwing it all the way open. It swung back and bashed into the back of the dumpster with a loud clang, echoing through Madison Avenue. Luckily, the natural roar of New York City filled the air and covered the ruckus perfectly.
“Hey guys!” Leonardo called, his voice slightly panicked. “Come quick!”
The three walked through the wet alleyway over to their brother, who waved for them to hurry. As the got to the dumpster and peered in, they were horrified to see a bloody girl in the dumpster, clutching a tattered newspaper like a blanket. She was so skinny that she looked almost like a skeleton, her bones giving her body a sharp angular appearance.
“Whoa!” Mikey exclaimed, “When’d they start throwing away their own?”
Raphael raised his hand to slap Mikey a third time before lowering it, genuinely curious as to why she was here in the first place as well.
“We can’t leave her here.” Leonardo said, looking down at her still form. “No one will find her unless we help her.”
“But Leo.” Donatello remarked, “Master Splinter said we weren’t supposed to let any humans see us. He would kill us if he found out we brought one down into the sewers with us.”
“Yeah!” Mikey retorted, “You know how hard it was to make people think giant alligators live down there? Years! Literal Years.”
Leo began to examine her. Besides the scrapes on her knees, there was some pretty serious damage on her. Her bleeding and bent nose suggested it was broken, scars had been raked across her chest, and her wrists were raw and swollen There were bruises all over her, especially along the inner part of her arms where puncture marks could be seen. Her hair was gone, leaving only a rough stubble with patches where something had been stuck to her. Wherever she had come from, Leo knew she had been tortured there.
“We are helping her.” Leo said, this time more adamantly then his earlier statement.
Donny went to speak up again.
One look from Leo silenced the purple turtle as the former turned his attention back to the girl.
“I’ll take the blame, guys.” he promised.
He reached into the dumpster, pulling her body from it. He clutched her close to him, feeling how cold and how light she was. He felt sick to his stomach, but steeled himself, unwilling to go back on his statement.
“She’ll be my responsibility.” He assured them. “I’ll take care of her.”
“She isn’t a puppy, Leo” Mikey countered.
For once Raphael agreed.
“You can’t just take her with us.” He added. “She probably has a home somewhere.”
“She isn’t going back to where she came from.” He said, his tone more commanding as he approached the sewer grate. “Now no more arguing.”
Mikey tried once more to stop them, but was completely ignored. Raph and Donny may not have liked the idea, but they knew better than to question Leo when he got like that.
“But-” Mikey muttered in one final, futile effort.
The others left his side and began to approach the sewer grate. Leo descended with the girl. Mikey just remained silently as he saw his other brothers descend as well.
“But won’t Master Splinter be mad about us not getting supplies?!”
He stood there a moment, hearing only the patter of rain, and a distant thunder strike. With a grunt of annoyance, he went after his brothers.
“Hey wait for me!”
Splinter sat on his mat, enjoying the rare moment of peace by meditating. It was in this peaceful setting where he felt himself becoming one with the universe, and one with himself. He allowed himself a content sigh, a small smile paying onto his face.
“Master Splinter!” Came a cry from the sewers. “Master Splinter.”
Splinter shook his head in resignation and opened his eyes, slowly standing up. He could hear the turtles barreling through the tunnels towards their home and he turned to greet them.
“My sons, you are back early. I hope you have gathered enough supplies and-”
His words caught in his throat as his sons came into view. Leo was carrying something in his arms, and upon further examination, it was revealed to be a human girl. She was unconscious in his grip, bloodied, bruised, scarred, clad only in a thin hospital gown, and frailer than any child should ever be.
Fear gripped his heart as he stumbled forward, his daughter’s dream about monster turtles coming back to haunt him
“Leonardo, what happened?” he asked, almost terrified to know. “What have you done?”
“Master, it wasn’t us” Donatello exclaimed, “We found her this way in a dumpster.”
“Someone hurt her Sensei…” Raph added. “Hurt her really bad.”
Splinter’s eyes lost that initial panic, but it was quickly replaced with anger. The boys feared for a moment that the anger was directed at them for jeopardizing their safety. Leo gulped hard, then stepped forward, putting himself between his Master and his brothers.
“Master…” Leo spoke up. “This was my idea. I couldn’t leave her there… She needed help.”
Splinter took the child from Leo, looking down at her. She looked so innocent, so young, far too young to have been through so much brought pain. The very idea of any child suffering so brought no small amount of agony to his heart. He didn’t want to ask them anymore questions, they hadn’t the time any more.
“You did well,” He said, abating their fears somewhat. “You may have saved her life, but we are not done yet. Donatello, grab the medical kit from your lab. Leonardo, I will need clean cloth for bandages as well as a washcloth. Raphael, prepare some hot water.”
The brothers all scattered to do as they were told. However, Mikey just stood there.
“Umm, what can I do?” He asked, his eyes never leaving the girl.
“Help me get this newspaper off of her, but be careful.” Splinter replied.
Mikey walked over to the girl and gently helped Splinter peel the wet newspaper off the girl’s skin. The ink still clung to her skin, mixing with the bruises and scars that already marred her frail body. Mikey, usually so cheerful and go-lucky, focused on being a careful as he could. The last thing he wanted was to cause the girl more pain.
Raphael got back to Splinter first, placing the steaming water next to him and tossing one of their cleaner towels into it. Splinter looked at him, then down at the pot of water. It was clear, almost like crystal. Splinter nodded in approval, then grabbed the rag.
“Cut her gown with your sai, Raphael.” Splinter told him. “We will dispose of it later.”
Raph quickly produced one of his weapons, tearing the flimsy garment open. Splinter then took the rag and began to clean one of the girl’s many wounds. Despite not being conscious, she visibly winced when the rag touched her skin.
Splinter felt something pushing at him, not physically, but mentally. His vision was clouded by a hazy red image. It seemed to be a womanly form screaming at him, as if crying out in pain. Raphael looked at Splinter, a bit confused.
“Master?” He asked,
“I am fine, just-” He held his head, trying to force the visions away. “A bit dizzy is all.”
He returned to his task again, and the visions manifested once more. Gritting his teeth, he ignored it as he began to gently clean the blood and dirt off of the girl. With each swipe, he revealed the deep gashes in her skin. She would need stitches if she were to live through the night. It was something that Splinter was afraid of. A sewer wasn’t a hospital, and with the minimal supplies they had, she wouldn’t be able to receive the help she so desperately needed.
“Got the bandages” Leonardo exclaimed.
Splinter handed Mikey the rag and took the bandages from Leonardo.
“Excellent,” Splinter exclaimed. “Though I fear we may need to find more before the night is up.”
He began to wrap them around the wounds as Mikey pulled the now blood soaked rag across a rather nasty set of scars. The girl hissed again, rising slightly off the table.
The red images reappeared, and this time, Splinter was not the only one affected. Both Mikey and Raphael stumbled back a few steps, reeling from what they were seeing. It was like nothing they had ever experienced before, and it was absolutely painful.
Donatello approached, carrying a small white chest with a red cross on it. Splinter turned, and grabbed it in a desperate motion. Opening it, he took hold of an old sewing needle and some thread. While they weren’t meant for medical treatment, Splinter had learned long ago they would suffice in a pinch. He then grabbed a small bottle of hydrogen peroxide, hoping to sterilize the needle. The second the bottle opened, the girl’s back arched.
PLEASE! NO MORE!
Splinter gritted his teeth, then prepared to begin the sutures.
“Donatello, Leonardo.” He said softly. “Whatever happens next, be strong.”
He pinched her skin with one hand, her body convulsing in a painful shudder. Suddenly the room filled with red, the floor moving like lava and the walls spinning with blurry images of men and women, twisted in horrific ways.
“What the Shell?!” Donatello exclaimed, voicing the sentiments of his three brothers as well.
“Be strong!” Splinter repeated.
As the needle did its work in closing the terrible gashes along her skin, the number of demonic looking silhouettes grew around them. With every moment, they drew closer and closer. The boys all huddled around each other, more terrified than they had ever been in their entire lives.
“You have to trust me, young one.” He whispered, though he knew she probably could not hear him. “I am trying to help you.”
He finished off the stitches as the figures’ hands wrapped around the brothers. Once his hand released her skin and tied off the thread, the red images began to slowly dissolve around them. Splinter finally allowed himself a sigh of relief, glad that the ordeal was over. The four turtles, however, did not share their Sensei’s relief. All of them found themselves on the ground, tears flowing uncontrollably from their eyes as they continued to hold each other.
“My sons,” Splinter said softly as he tied off the last of her bandages. “It is done.”
Leo looked up at Master Splinter, wiping his eyes as he gasped for breath.
“What- what was that?” Leo asked, still visibly shaken by the visions.
“I think that was her.” Donny said, wiping his eyes. “But how? How was she able to do that?”
“I just want to know where the shell she got that nightmare fuel.” Raph commented, just sitting there completely thrown. “If that’s even a fraction of what she went through, I’m surprised she’s still alive.”
Mikey didn’t say a word. He just looked at the girl, watching as Master Splinter carefully bandaged the wounds that he could. Part of him seemed to break at the sight of her still body just barely holding itself together.
“She can’t be older than us.” he said finally. “Who would do that to a kid?”
“I do not know my son.” Splinter replied, finishing his work. “I do not know, but whomever is responsible for this will never touch her again.”
Splinter took the remaining pieces of her hospital gown and handed them to Leo. The blue turtle slowly rose to throw the scraps away as Splinter picked up the girl.
“Raphael, fetch my spare robe from my bedroom.” He ordered. “She will need something to keep her warm as she recovers from her ordeal.”
Raph was gone in an instant, returning not long after with the requested robe. With his sensei’s help, they got the robe over the girl’s many bandages. The robe was twice her size, and the sash wrapped around her waist three times before it was short enough to tie off, further accentuating her horrible state. Splinter adjusted his grip on her, cradling her gently as his thoughts drifted to a time where he held a different little girl in his arms. However, this was not the time for revering in old memories. He shook his head, clearing his thoughts before addressing his sons once more.
“My sons.” He began, “Set out the spare mattress in the living room. I believe it is best if we leave her out here in open space.”
The boys quickly went to do as they were told, pulling the spare mattress out from behind their TV and laying it down in the center of the room. Master Splinter slowly lifted the girl, setting her down on the mattress as gently as he could. Donny quickly provided Splinter with a thick blanket which he carefully laid over her.
“Now what Sensei?” Raph asked.
“Now, we wait.” Splinter explained. “And pray.”
Several tense hours past as Splinter knelt by the mattress where the small girl laid. He has sent the brothers back up to the surface to complete their task of gathering supplies, and had promised to keep an eye on the girl until their return.
Her eyes were shut so tightly that the worry lines stood out like canyons on her face. She shifted slightly, the old mattress creaking at her frantic movements. The blankets that were draped over her had begun wrapping around her in a cocoon of cloth. Through the blankets, Splinter could see her foot kicking, as if she was running from some unseen enemy. His heart broke slightly as he saw a tear roll down her face wondering what kind of horrors must have been playing through her mind.
The girl was in that same alley way, running and weaving through the trash strewn darkness. She wanted to stop so badly. Her chest was heavy, and she could barely breathe. Her feet bleeding with every step she took. Eventually, her legs could no longer hold her and her knees buckled. As she pulled herself into a kneeling position, she turned slowly, looking over her shoulder to see two gigantic figurines closing in on her. They were as tall as the buildings surrounding her on all sides, their eyes like spotlights, pulling her from the safety of the shadows.
“There she is.” They moaned as they leaned towards her.
The girl’s eyes widened as she covered herself with her bruised arms, trying desperately to hide.
“No,” She whimpered, screwing her eyes shut in denial. “I’m not going back… I’m not going back!”
She sat up with a start and began to scream, jarring Splinter from his temporary meditation. He quickly backed away, not wanting to overwhelm the poor girl with his presence, much less his monstrous appearance. He slipped out of the living room, hiding in an alcove near his room to wait out the girl’s panic attack.
The girl’s breath came out in raspy gasps as she looked left and right, attempting to take stock of her situation. From what she could tell, she appeared to be in some sort of home, but there were no windows, and the smell of the mildew lingered in the air. She was underground. More than that, as she looked down at herself, she noticed that someone had bandages around her many wounds, and she could feel the stitches holding the more severe ones closed. Her hospital gown was gone, and instead, she was wearing a soft brown robe.
She had no idea where she was, nor why someone had felt the need to take care of her wounds, but one thing was clear. Whomever had her now wanted her alive, and that terrified her. She fought back the urge to cry, knowing that she needed to focus, to find out everything she could about where she was so she could escape. She closed her eye, feeling a familiar buzzing sensation in the back of her skull as she branched out her latent mental abilities. She focused, trying to find any signs of her new captors, and soon found a presence making its way towards her, unseen. She gasped in fear, gripping the blanket in a protective cocoon.
“Who… Who’s there?” she rasped.
The girl mentally chastise herself for sounding so weak. However, she was surprised when the figure came up behind her and placed a gentle hand on her shoulder. The girl instantly stiffened at the touch, her nails digging into the fabric of the blanket. Splinter saw this and slowly pulled away.
“Child...” he whispered. “Do not be afraid. I mean you no harm.”
The voice was soothing, like a loving father or a wise grandfather. The girl wanted so desperately to believe his words, but her experiences forced her to shove that hope down. She closed her eyes, curled into a ball and just began crying.
“P-Please…” She stuttered, wiping the tears from her eyes. “Don’t hurt me...”
Splinter could hear the terror in her voice. This girl had been devoid of even the slightest piece of human kindness to the point where she found it so hard to believe that someone could possibly have good will toward her. He wanted so badly to hold her, like he had with his sons or like he had with Miwa so long ago. But he knew that she would not see the gesture for what it was, so instead, he simply tried to help her see the truth.
“I have no intention of hurting you.” He began, slowly reaching for her again. “I only wish to help you-”
The second his hand touched her, she batted it away, screaming as red images flooded his vision.
“Get away from me!” she screeched, turning towards Splinter with her arms raised to protect herself.
Splinter stumbled back, the assault of images forcing him to his knees. He clutched his head with one hand as the other helped him remain somewhat upright. He felt the need to vomit rising, unable to stomach the images being forced into his mind. He had no idea what was happening, but his instincts told him that this was the girl’s doing. Somehow, she was projecting these images onto him in some attempt to subdue him.
“Please...” He begged, struggling to think through the mental assault. “I am not... your enemy...”
The girl risked a peek at Splinter, still curled into a protective ball as she did. When she saw his rodent appearance, the red images began to slowly dissipate. Splinter gasped, sweat pouring down his fur as relief finally came. He glanced over at her, finding her staring at him in a more sympathetic than fearful manner.
“You... You’re a mutant...” she whispered.
Splinter blinked in surprise, shocked that she had correctly guessed what he was on the first try. More than that, there was a hint of recognition in her eyes, as if he was not the first mutant she had encountered. He sat up, still reeling from the girl’s mental attack as he met her eyes.
“Yes I am.” he replied. “I was transformed into this being in an accident many years ago.”
“You... You’re not... one of his?” she asked nervously.
Splinter raised an eyebrow to the girl’s question, then shook his head.
“I belong to no one child.” He explained. “I give you my word that you are safe here.”
The girl slowly uncurled, her eyes never leaving Splinter. He made sure to remain completely still, his hands in his lap and open in hopes of keeping the girl’s mind at ease.
“I am called Splinter.” He introduced, his voice still low and calming. “What is-”
“Master Splinter!” A loud boom echoed from the next room, “We’re back! And you were right, that French Place does sell bread sticks.”
The girl squeaked in fear, resuming her curled position as she tried to disappear into the blankets. Splinter sighed, then rose to his feet, approaching the tunnel where is sons were emerging from. He stood by the entrance as the girl remained hidden. Hesitantly, she peeked through her blanket cocoon, determined to learn everything she could about where she was, and who was holding her now.
“Mikey!” Raphael shouted, possibly louder than Mikey himself. “Splinter said be quiet. We don’t want to wake the girl, or scare her!”
“Both of you!” Leonardo spoke, whispering. “Be quiet! You’ll wake her.”
Mikey and Raphael turned to Leonardo, violently shushing him. All he could do is roll his eyes as he grabbed the last garbage bag from the entryway. When the brothers entered the home, she was surprised to see that they were turtles. She hadn’t known what to expect, though she’d been fearful of them being doctors or scientists of some sort. The fact that they were mutants helped the girl to keep somewhat calm as she observed them.
“Splinter!” Mikey called, “Look!”
He began to pull out some to-go bins full of spaghetti, some bread-sticks, and even different types of cheeses from their bags.
“Someone had even left some slices of cake out,” Raph smiled confidently, pulling out some thin slices.
Inside her blanket, the girl placed a hand over her stomach. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d been able to eat real food. The smell was absolutely heavenly and her stomach growled loudly, reminding her of that desperate hunger plaguing her. It was this noise that drew the turtle’s attention towards her, much to her abject terror.
“Dudes!” Mikey said as he shuffled towards the mattress where the girl was, “Is there, like, an alligator here? And if so, can I keep-”
He stopped and looked at the little girl, staring into her eyes.
“Oh hey little dude-”
She screamed, clenching her eyes shut and covering her head with her arms. Mikey’s mind was suddenly bombarded with horrific images. The room was suddenly filled with red human shadows, hospital beds, and demonic looking doctors. Pins and needles were all around him and he stumbled back in sheer terror. The girl continued to scream, only making the images worse.
“Young one!” Splinter called, running to her side.
Mikey gripped his head, suffering from a massive headache as the images continued to flood his visions. Even closing his eyes didn’t seem to help. Finally, Splinter reached her, wrapping his arms around her in an attempt to calm her down. She reacted badly to the gesture, flinching violently and struggling to free herself as Splinter became subject to the terrible visions. Left with no choice, Splinter found a pressure point at the base of her skull, striking it quickly and precisely. Her screaming and the red images suddenly ceased as she sagged in his grip.
“I am sorry little one.” he apologized to her unconscious form, gently laying her back down on the mattress.
“What the shell was that?” Mikey questioned, still gripping his head. “I felt like my head was being split in two.”
“I cannot even begin to explain how she did this, but it is clear that this girl is no ordinary human.” Splinter replied.
“She’s telepathic.” Leo rationalized. “That’s how she’s doing it.”
“What, like some superhero from Mikey’s comic books?” Raph questioned.
“It’s the only explanation.” Donnie replied, looking down at the girl. “Those images must be some sort of defense mechanism she’s developed to try and combat the source of all of these scars.”
Splinter stroked his chin, looking down at the girl. He could see those worry lines returning as another nightmare plagued her.
“When she reawakens, we will try again.” he told them all. “And this time Michelangelo, use your inside voice.”
The girl slowly re-awoke, her eyes fluttering open once more. In front of her, she could see the four turtles and Splinter all kneeling beside the mattress. They had all placed their weapons back on the weapons rack, figuring it would be best if they approached her unarmed. Splinter had even left his walking stick out of easy reach. When she saw them all looking at her, she sat up, scrambling back only to end up entangled in the blanket.
“Child-” Splinter began.
“I’m sorry!” She cried, trying to free herself from the blanket. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it. Don’t hurt me!”
Splinter held up his hands in what he hoped was a pacifying gesture.
“As I told you before, I have no intention of hurting you, and neither do my sons.” he explained.
“Sorry I scared you.” Mikey apologized, giving her a soft smile. “My bros and I were worried you wouldn’t wake up, so when I saw you awake, I kinda got excited.”
The girl stopped struggling against the blanket, peering at the five of them. Though she was still very nervous, it was a step in the right direction for the Hamato family.
“My name’s Leonardo.” Leo introduced, gesturing to himself.
“I’m Donatello.” Don declared.
“Raphael.” Raph said with a wave.
“And I’m Michelangelo.” Mikey grinned. “What’s your name?”
The girl didn’t reply for a moment, then in a voice almost to quiet to hear, she whispered a single word.
“Oracle?” Raph repeated. “How the shell is that a name?”
The girl flinched, afraid she’d done something wrong.
“Please... it’s all I have.” she begged, curling back into her protective ball.
“Easy, easy.” Leo told her, reaching for her before Splinter caught his arm, shaking his head slightly.
“Maybe we can give you a name.” Mikey suggested. “A real name.”
The girl risked a peek through the blankets, looking at the five mutants with fearful curiosity.
“O-Okay...” she decided.
Master Splinter’s ears perked up and a small smile played out on his face.
“I think I know the perfect name.” he said.
The four turtles and the girl all looked over.
“How about… Hisako?”
“Hisako?” the girl asked.
“It is Japanese. It means Enduring Child.” Splinter explained. “You are one that has endured much in your short life, more than any should, and yet you have the strength to keep fighting. I believe it is a fitting name.”
“Yeah, what do you think Hisako?” Mikey asked.
The girl thought about it for a moment, before giving a single nod.
“Then, for as long as you wish to stay with us, Hisako will be your name.” Splinter declared.