Delilah repeated everything that Violet had done with Annabelle. She gave him a chance to taste it first and then spoon it in his mouth as fast as she could. He was starving. Violet had finished feeding Annabelle. She probably would have eaten more, but Violet didn’t want her getting sick. She promised her more food later on. Annabelle was content.
Violet took the tray and dirty dishes downstairs and began filling another bowl of oatmeal, and grabbed another banana for Gabriel. She saw Caroline in the kitchen. She looked as tired as Violet felt. She asked Caroline if she minded joining her with the children. In Caroline’s tradition, she agreed to help. Caroline retrieved her medical bag, and they both walked upstairs and into Violet’s room just in time for Delilah to need the new tray. She continued to feed Gabriel, and like Annabelle, he ate as if he had not eaten in weeks.
Violet began explaining their morning through Caroline’s thoughts. Violet asked the children if they would like to take a bath or a shower. Annabelle instantly responded with a bath. Gabriel was too busy eating and defying. Before Violet could ask the children if Caroline could quickly examine them, Annabelle asked a surprising question.
“When do we get our injections?” She asked happily.
Instantly the air was sucked out of the room. Violet had to sit down. Not a word could be spoken. With one question, Annabelle had devastated all the grownups.
“All finished, Gabriel.” Delilah said as she walked the tray to the dresser and then leaned against it with tears filling her eyes.
“Injections?” Violet asked.
“Yeah. Don’t we have to do them anymore?” Annabelle asked, even more excited.
Violet looked at Delilah and then at Caroline. She had no idea what to say. Then Caroline took over.
“Annabelle, honey, my name is Caroline. I’m a nurse. Do you know what a nurse is and what a nurse does?” Caroline asked with her voice.
“I sure do. You give the injections. Does that mean we have to have them?” Annabelle didn’t sound as happy as she spoke through their thoughts.
“No, Annabelle, I don’t think you do. But I have a very important question to ask you okay?” Caroline stayed calm.
“Okay.” Annabelle replied.
“Do you know what kind of medicine was in the injections?” Caroline sounded concerned.
“No. Gabriel, do you know?” Annabelle asked her brother.
Gabriel shook his head no, defiantly.
“You’re doing good. Now Annabelle, how many times a day did you get these injections?” Caroline asked.
“Three times a day. Sometimes they didn’t give them to us, but usually, we had to meet with the doctors in the white coats on those days.” Annabelle had no idea what she was sharing with the women.
“Good, Annabelle. You are so smart to know these things.” Caroline wanted to reinforce trust with Annabelle. “Annabelle, can I ask you to do me a favor?”
“Alright.” Annabelle answered but not as sure of herself now. “What?”
Caroline whispered, “Can you pull up your sleeve for me? I promise I won’t touch you.”
Without hesitation, Annabelle pulled up her right sleeve to her shoulder and held out her arm. Delilah walked over to see as Violet and Caroline looked down. Annabelle’s arm was mutilated, like a road map from mass injections. Delilah took a step back, covered her mouth, and quietly exited the room. She went downstairs, into a bathroom, and processed what she had just seen. This, she had not expected.
“Good job Annabelle. Can you do the same with your other sleeve?” Caroline kindly asked.
Annabelle gladly pulled up her other sleeve to show similar scarring. “Annabelle, would you mind if I pulled down the covers and had you show me your feet and legs, sweetie? You’re doing a great job, and I promise I won’t touch you.” Caroline asked with sincerity. Violet continued to watch as Caroline pulled down the blankets and Annabelle pulled up the pajama bottoms to her knees. The same type of scarring appeared.
“Is that right, Caroline? Did I do a good job?” Annabelle waited for her response.
“Yes, Annabelle. I’m so proud of you. You did a great job.” Caroline sweetly said as she pulled the covers back over the children. She looked at Violet and shook her head, letting Violet know that this wasn’t good. “Annabelle, Gabriel, would you mind if I and Violet stepped outside for a minute. I promise we’ll be right back.” Caroline grabbed Violet’s hand and began to lead her out of the room.
“Sure.” Annabelle replied.
“I don’t care!” Gabriel mumbled.
“We’ll be right back.” Caroline and Violet left the room and walked down the hallway. Violet looked at Caroline for some rational explanation, but Caroline didn’t have one.
“What is that?” Violet pleaded.
Caroline held Violet’s hand. “That is years and years of injections. I have no idea what they were injected with, but I can tell you, they’ve been receiving them for a very long time.”
“Why?” Violet asked.
“I don’t know, but I really need to find out. I need to draw their blood soon and get it to Dr. Marsh’s immediately. If they’ve been receiving medication this long, God only knows if they will begin detoxing soon or worse. I need to find out what they’ve been receiving through those injections. Can you help me talk them into letting me draw their blood?” Caroline’s concern was obvious.
Violet took in a few deep breaths and paced the hallway. “Okay. I may be able to talk Annabelle into it, but I’m not sure Gabriel will agree to it. I’ll try it.”
“Odds are they’ve both been receiving injections with the same medication, so as long as we can at least get one sample, we’ll have a better idea of what we’re facing.” Caroline began walking towards the bedroom.
They walked into the room where the children remained sitting up in bed.
“Annabelle, Gabriel, I know I said that you wouldn’t have to have injections, but Caroline does need to find out what you’ve been injected with.” Violet explained.
“What does that mean?” Annabelle asked.
“Well, Caroline needs to take some blood so she can test it to find out what you were given.” Violet waited for the resistance. Instead, surprisingly, they both agreed to it.
Caroline didn’t miss a beat. She began to talk the children through the process very slowly as she began to wrap the tourniquet around each of their arms and then attempted to find a vein in their hands. She knew she wasn’t going to find a viable vein anywhere else. As she spoke gently and showed great compassion, the children didn’t show any sign of fear or hesitation.
Violet watched as she realized that this procedure must have been an everyday occurrence, and the children weren’t scared one bit. This made her heart hurt. Caroline quickly finished the procedure on both children. She thanked them immensely. She took the vials and exited the room so that she could personally take them to Dr. Marsh.
Violet was left alone in the room and thanked both children for their cooperation. She began to tell them about the home they were now in and the wonderful people that lived there. When she would make a simple statement about a TV, stove, or car, the children needed explanations as to what those things were.
Violet patiently explained to them their new world and everything it entailed. Annabelle reacted with excitement, and even Gabriel reluctantly began to come around. He would occasionally ask a question, which Violet was more than happy to answer. She could tell that he was inquisitive about their new world, but he was also very angry. That would take time to break down. So, she just tried to take small steps with the children. She never realized how hard it was to describe a TV to someone who had never seen one. She then realized this could be an opportunity to try to get them to take off their blindfolds.
Violet walked towards the TV mounted to the wall. She picked up the remote control and clicked the power button. The TV came on, set to the news. The children seemed startled at the sound. She scrolled through the guide to cartoons, tuned up the volume, and placed the remote on the dresser. The children seemed intrigued. They listened intently behind the blindfolds. Annabelle would occasionally smile and let out a giggle as she listened to the child actors’ voices. Violet would laugh in response. As she watched the kid’s reactions, Annabelle would occasionally lift a side of the blindfold. This, to Violet, appeared to be an attempt to see the TV. Violet didn’t point it out and just watched them. As Annabelle lifted the side of the blindfold slightly, she began to speak to Gabriel.
“Gabriel, look. It’s okay. I’ve never seen anything like it.” Anabelle whispered through his thoughts.
“No, Annabelle! We aren’t supposed to take off the blindfolds. You’re gonna get us in trouble!” Gabriel insisted.
“It’s okay Gabriel. Just pull up the side. You don’t have to take it off.” Annabelle was just as insistent. “And Violet said we could take them off without getting in trouble. Right, Violet?” Annabelle asked.
“Right.” Violet said softly and trusting into their minds. “You won’t be in trouble at all.”
“See Gabriel. It’s okay.” Annabelle tried to convince him.
“No! They’re gonna find out, and we’re gonna be in trouble!” Gabriel snapped back.
“Who’s going to find out, Gabriel?” Violet whispered.
“The doctors.” Annabelle replied. “They know everything. Gabriel’s afraid they’re going to find out.”
“Gabriel, I told you about our kind. We have the power of protection. I have special gifts. No one, Gabriel, no one is going to take you from us. I promise. You’re safe. We won’t let you go back. I promise.” Violet pleaded with all the sincerity she had.
“I don’t care! They’re gonna know, and I don’t want to get in trouble. If you want to get in trouble, Annabelle, then do it! You’re stupid!” Gabriel’s words were definitely unlike Prohibited.
“That’s very fair, Gabriel. You don’t have to. I understand.” Violet wasn’t going to chastise him. He had obviously been through enough.
“You’re stupid, Gabriel!” Annabelle snapped back. She folded her arms in front of her as she pouted.
Violet continued to watch the children. She wondered what was behind the blindfolds when she suddenly remembered the extraction of Prohibited eyes. This hadn’t occurred to her because, well, because they were children. She couldn’t imagine even the Normals removing the eyes of children, until now. So, she prepared herself. When Annabelle slightly lifted the blindfold, Violet could not see her eyes or lack of eyes either.
Violet had, until this moment, assumed they had the Prohibited golden eyes. She couldn’t tell if Annabelle was able to see out of the side of the blindfold. However, Annabelle had stated that she could see. Violet was perplexed. They already had gifts that weren’t inherent. She wondered if they had the ability to somehow see even if they didn’t have sight. Violet’s heart raced as she gave this thought some merit. She would need to in case it was reality.
Violet took some deep breaths and tried to enter the realm for a moment of strength and comfort. She sat back and entered tranquility. She walked through the realm giving way to acceptance of all things, even children without eyes. She prepared herself with strength for whatever she was going to experience with these children. She knew that her kind would love them no matter what and protect them to the highest degree. It didn’t matter what these children had been through. Her kind was going to embrace them and help them recover.
As Violet concentrated on the calmness and confidence that rushed through her veins her solitude was interrupted by Annabelle’s laughter. She was no longer merely giggling on occasion, this was full-on laughter, and it made Violet smile. Violet began to open her eyes as she left the realm and entered a room full of a child’s joy. Annabelle had a contagious laugh, and Violet began to laugh as a result. She opened her eyes and looked over to Annabelle so that she could enjoy the happy moment.
Violet’s smile instantly ceased as she recognized that Annabelle had finally removed the blindfold and was intently watching the cartoon. Violet slowly stood up from the chair, began to gradually walk around the bed, and stood at the footboard. Annabelle was so intrigued by what she was watching that she didn’t even focus on Violet. Violet stood in awe as she stared at Annabelle. Violet’s mouth gaped open as a million thoughts ran through her mind. Terror and uncertainty filled her entire being.
“Delilah!” Violet screamed through Delilah’s thoughts. “Delilah! I need you now!”
Delilah had been sitting with Jacob as he comforted her from the trauma of the children’s scars. She had calmed down and was solemn until Violet’s voice screamed through her thoughts. Violet never referred to her by her given name. Delilah jumped up off the couch and began running upstairs. Jacob followed behind her, unaware of what was happening. But he knew something was happening.
Violet could hear the footsteps running up the stairs and through the hallway until the door flung open and they both entered, looking at Violet, who was frozen. They both slowly followed Violet’s stare leading to Annabelle. Delilah and Jacob stood motionless as well. Annabelle was frozen too, but not on them, on the cartoons in front of her. She hadn’t noticed any of them. As Annabelle laughed with all her might at the new-found world of cartoons, the adults could only observe her with hesitation.
“Gabriel, take off the stupid blindfold. You have to see this!” Annabelle’s words rang through all of their thoughts. “I took mine off, and I’m not in trouble.”
“No. I don’t want to.” Gabriel’s voice wasn’t as stern as before. He could tell Annabelle loved whatever it was she was seeing. He did kind of want to.
Without warning, Annabelle snatched the blindfold from Gabriel’s face and threw it across the room. Gabriel instantly covered his eyes. “Annabelle! No! We’re gonna be in so much trouble.” Gabriel cried out.
“No, we aren’t, Gabriel. Look.” Annabelle looked back at the TV and began laughing at the cartoons. She was happy. The adults remained frozen in astonishment.
Gabriel continued to cover his eyes as he listened to his sister, telling him what was happening in the cartoon and laughing. After some time, Gabriel separated two of his fingers to have an opening to the TV. The adults remained immobile.
Other Prohibited, having seen Delilah and Jacob rush up the stairs, began to enter the room. No one said a word. They were all mesmerized by the children. Slowly and cautiously, Gabriel began to remove his hands from over his eyes. He began to giggle, which eventually turned into full laughter, as had Annabelle. Both children were enraptured by the cartoon, and neither of them had even noticed the audience they had gained as more and more Prohibited appeared. They could do nothing but stare. It was as if collectively, their hearts all stopped beating at the same time. Breathing became obsolete as shock overtook every single one of them.
The children remained as intent on the TV as the adults were on them. When a commercial break was taken, making way for ads for vitamins, chocolate milk, and discount passes to a locate amusement park, the children remained just as fascinated. That is until Annabelle broke away from the TV screen to look at Violet. Her voice rang out through all of their thoughts.
“Violet, is chocolate milk good? Can we have some?” Annabelle was happy and looking forward to a world full of new experiences.
Everyone stared at Annabelle, who still hadn’t noticed the interest the adults had in her. She turned back to the TV, not wanting to miss a thing while she waited for Violet’s response.
Violet noticed that she hadn’t answered her. “Sure, Annabelle. We can make you some chocolate milk.” Her words were shaky.
“Me too?” Gabriel asked, this time nicely.
“Yes, Gabriel. You too.” Violet answered. Her voice seemed as uncertain as ever, but the children hadn’t noticed. They continued to be enthralled with the TV. “We’ll go downstairs and make you some right now. I’ll be right back.” Violet’s voice rang through everyone’s thoughts, queuing them to exit the room. They all left, one by one, with the same surprised expressions. No one said a word as they made their way down the stairs and into the kitchen. No one said a word as the chocolate milk was made. Confused eye contact between them all was taking place, but not a word was uttered, even through thought.
Violet mechanically walked back up the stairs with two full glasses. No one followed. This was meant for Violet and Violet alone. None of them were of use to her in this situation. She entered the room and handed both children their cups. Violet watched as they took a small sip of the chocolate milk. They both approved as they drank their chocolate milk at record speeds.
Violet’s eyes could not stop the intense stare. The children handed back their glasses, and Gabriel motioned for Violet to move out of their view of the TV. She placed the glasses on the dresser and stood watching the children laugh as they viewed cartoons with their brightly glowing, SILVER eyes.