Cradles the Brain: A Book of Short Tales

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Conductivity Ep 1 (Pt. 8)

The sheet was soaked through, showing color through the white fabric. The paramedics tried to revive him with no luck. Henry was announced DOA and loaded onto a gurney.

A police officer approached Stewart and Rebecca.

“I’m sorry for your loss, but we need to know what happened.” Slight irritation could be heard in his voice. This had been the third time he had asked the couple what happened.

As Stewart opened his mouth to speak, Rebecca felt a spark. She knew in her heart what she had to tell the officer.

“My daughters killed our son.”

The officer’s face went slack. He looked to Rebecca in disbelief.

“And how did your two five year old daughters manage to kill your five year old boy?” He cocked a thin eyebrow upward.

“They electrocuted him,” Stewart blurted out.

The officer looked at him sharply. “Let the lady answer.” He looked back to Rebecca.

“Well, they did.” She nodded. “They modified our pool cleaning system. I don’t know how.” She shook her head.

The officer narrowed his eyes at them. “So, you’re telling me you have two children in your care that you have no disciplinary control over?” He put his hands on his hips.

“Well, Henry was actually acting up as well. He was beginning to be a problem.” Stewart nodded with wide eyes.

The officer’s demeanor changed. He loosened his tense posture and spoke softer. “Oh, alright. Well, what can you do?” He looked over to the sheet. “He won’t be a problem anymore.” He looked back to Rebecca and Stewart. “And neither will your girls.”

Stewart’s breath caught in his throat. He knew it was coming. Rebecca held her smile back and lightly rubbed her very pregnant belly.

“Once we prove your girls tampered with that pool system of yours, we’ll be sending them off for good.” The officer smiled. “I hope that one turns out better than this batch.” He poked at Rebecca’s belly and she laughed.

“I hope so, too.” She crossed her fingers and stuck out her tongue with a smile.

The officer laughed again and walked off.

“What was that?” Stewart asked.

“Don’t you see?” She looked at him with big eyes. “This is our chance to start over.” She grabbed his lean hand in hers. “Those triplets were never anything good.” She licked her lips. “We can have the family we always wanted now. One with a child that fits the standards we want.”

Stewart nodded his head. He looked to the front of their house where he saw his two daughters staring back at him. Their cold eyes sent a chill through his spine. Maybe he could finally sleep soundly knowing they were far away from him.

He looked back to Rebecca and smiled. He gently hugged her. “I’m ready,” he whispered into her ear.

The officer approached the embraced couple. They separated and looked to the tall man. He presented them with one of the pulsers from the bottom of their pool. He showed them the rough cut into the thin metal with his index finger and how awkwardly it was screwed back together.

“That wasn’t like that when they installed it,” Rebecca said.

“We know. Your daughters definitely modified the system. I don’t know where they would have learned to use tools though.” He looked to Stewart.

“I have no idea,” Stewart quickly stated. He put his arms up in surrender. “I don’t even know what those are.” He pointed to the small screws holding the pulser together.

“Yeah, looks to be an old form of hardware. I think they called them screws.” The officer looked appalled. He held the pulser out at a distance with a thick leather glove on.

Rebecca and Stewart looked to each other, confused.

“Where did they find them?” Rebecca asked both Stewart and the officer.

Stewart shook his head and the officer shrugged.

An armored truck rolled in front of their house. Its flat green paint job only meant one thing.

Hanna and Hayley gasped and looked to each other.

On the side of the truck, words were spray painted in black and white alternating letters.

Defective Children Unit.

Officers in tactical camo got out of the back of the truck. They pushed past the local officers and walked to Rebecca and Stewart.

“We are here to collect two five year old females,” one of the officers said. He wore an armored helmet. The face shield hid his face and muffled his voice, keeping him anonymous.

Rebecca stepped to the side and pointed to the house. Hanna and Hayley stood in the front window staring at the uniformed men.

The officer nodded. “We’re sorry for the school’s failure with your children. They will be notified of this issue and properly fined.” He nodded again and walked toward the house in long strides.

The girls watched, emotionless.

He got to the front porch and motioned for the girls to come outside. They followed orders and came out the front door.

“Turn around.” The girls obeyed. He placed a pair of handcuffs on each of them.

As Hayley’s were put on, she felt the burning in the back of her brain. She felt the tightening in her chest she knew very well. Hatred burned through her.

“Come on,” the officer said. He pulled on their handcuffs and they walked backwards with him.

As they passed their parents, Hanna stared blankly forward as Hayley glared at Rebecca.

Rebecca felt a cold chill run through her spine as she saw what lie beneath her daughter’s eyes.

The girls loaded into the back of the truck. The officers slammed the doors closed, encasing them in darkness.

Paramedics had loaded Henry’s body up and left long ago. They took his body to the morgue where they would cremate him.

Stewart and Rebecca watched the officers leave. Stewart stood with his hand around Rebecca’s waist. The wind lightly blew dark hair about her face.

She felt new.

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