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“Hello?” A whispered voice rang through the silence of the basement. “Hello? Is anyone there?” The voice was quiet and calming, yet it woke Delilah from her well-deserved slumber.

Delilah opened her eyes and slowly lifted herself from the bed. “Yes, it’s Delilah.” She responded in soft tones.

“Delilah. Is everything okay?” the voice became louder as the elderly woman’s shadow appeared in the bedroom.

“No.” Delilah sat on the bed as she wiped the still existing tears from her eyes. She had only been asleep for a few precious moments. The older woman, dressed in a night robe, walked over to the nightstand in the far corner of the room and turned on a low dimmed lamp. The light exposed Delilah’s swollen and red face. The woman could see the dirt caked on her skin, alerting her that Delilah had just escaped something.

“What happened, Delilah?” The woman made her way to the bed and sat next to Delilah, wrapping her arms around her. “Where are Jacob and Adelaide?” The woman began to pull the hair from Delilah’s face gently.”

“June, it was horrible. I don’t know what happened. I heard gunfire and then Jacob yelling Adelaide’s name and then voices. All these voices.” Delilah placed her face into June’s hands and began sobbing. “June, what do I do?”

June held Delilah tight as the thirty-year-old continued to cry uncontrollably. “Oh, Delilah. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.” June tightened her grip on Delilah and then released it. She stood up and walked out of the room. She retrieved some tissue from the bathroom. June brought it back and placed it in Delilah’s lap.

“Thank you.” Delilah whimpered through her tears as she reached for a tissue to wipe her face.

They both sat while Delilah processed through the array of emotions until she was able to speak in coherent sentences.

“Darling. Tell me what happened exactly.” June said while she pushed back Delilah’s hair and wiped the dirt from her wet face.

“I was in the escape room, preparing to leave and feeding the baby, when I heard gunshots. Honestly, for a second, I thought it was fireworks. Can you believe that? Fireworks in the basement of a home in the country. Geez.” Delilah rolled her eyes. “But then I heard Jacob screaming for Adelaide and then men’s voices. Lots of voices. Jacob was just whaling. Crying. Screaming.” Delilah brought her golden eyes to meet June’s brown eyes.

“Did you hear Adelaide say anything?” June asked.

Delilah pondered for a moment. “Um, no. I didn’t hear Adelaide at all.” There was a brief pause as the realization of Adelaide’s fate danced frantically through her mind. “Oh my God, June. I didn’t hear Adelaide. Oh, my God!” Delilah’s eyes were large with the comprehension that the gunshots she heard met their target, Adelaide. Delilah’s face froze in terror.

“It’s okay, sweetheart. It’s okay. Everything is going to be alright.” June held Delilah’s face in her hands. She wiped away the tears with her thumbs. “Then what did you do?”

“Well, I, um, grabbed the bag, and the baby and I pulled open the wainscoting and climbed through the entrance pulling it shut and locking it behind me. Then I just ran. I just kept running until I made it to the exit. I got in the car and came here.” Delilah explained.

“Okay. You did exactly what you’ve been trained to do. You did a great job. You’re here now, and you’re safe.” June said confidently. “Is there any chance the Intruders followed you?”

“No. I don’t think so. I was careful. I drove with the headlights off most of the way until I reached the main road. There were only a few cars far behind me, and I parked in a parking lot just down the street until they passed. They didn’t see me. I’m sure of that.” Delilah replied.

“Sweetheart, listen, I’m going to get Dan, alright? We’ll get this all figured out. You did everything right. I’m so proud of you.” June kissed Delilah on the forehead and stood up from the bed. While June was waking Dan, Delilah laid back down on the bed. She was exhausted. She just wanted to sleep and wake up to an entirely different reality.

Violet began sucking her fingers again, and this sound brought joy to Delilah, who began to smile. She stood up and walked over to the bassinette, where she watched Violet self-comfort with her tiny fingers. She was such a good baby, and she was so beautiful. So new. So precious. As Violet continued to suck on her fingers and Delilah continued to delight in it, June and Dan walked through the door.

“Delilah?” Dan whispered.

Delilah turned to see Dan. She walked over to him and fell into his arms. Dan comforted her like a father would for his daughter. Dan then placed his hands around her face and pulled her head up to meet his eyes. “There’s my golden girl.” Dan smiled. Delilah smiled back. “June told me what happened. Are you alright?”

Delilah took a step back while Dan removed his hands from her face. “I am.” Delilah replied, forcing a half-smile.

“You brave girl. You’ve been through so much tonight. We’re proud of you.” Dan’s gaze comforted her.

“Thank you, Dan. It’s a lot to process. I’m just tired.” Delilah walked back over to the bassinette. June followed.

“She’s beautiful.” June commented. “She is so tiny. Dan, come look at her.”

Dan walked over and placed his arm over Delilah’s shoulder. “Isn’t she just a gem?” Dan was old school, and it showed.

“She really is, isn’t she?” Delilah asked with great pride. “I could just look at her for days.”

June placed her finger on the top of the baby’s head and stroked her hair. “Well, she looks very healthy despite what she’s been through. I’ll go make her a bottle.” With that, June left the room and went up the stairs.

Dan sat a chair in the corner of the room. He watched as Delilah smiled at Violet without even realizing it. “So, are you prepared?” Dan asked.

Delilah turned her focus to Dan and walked over to the edge of the bed, and sat down. “Prepared?” Delilah’s brow furrowed with confusion.

“Yes. Are you prepared?” Dan asked again.

“Prepared for what?” Delilah asked.

“From what June told me, tragically, who will care for her? I assume it will be you.” Dan replied.

Delilah remained silent for a while. She contemplated what Dan was saying. Just an hour ago, all she could focus on was escaping, not being a parent to a possibly orphaned child. Delilah crawled up the bed and laid her back against the pillows and headboard. She brought her knees to her chest and placed her chin on her knees. She wrapped her arms around her legs and closed her eyes.

Delilah had a lot to think about. She hadn’t been prepared to become a parent that night. She was used to the uncertainty that being a Prohibited required, but this? This was not what she had signed up for. She had a purpose in life, which was to help bring Prohibited into the world, not raise them. She knew nothing of being a parent. Especially to another form of unique Prohibited, whatever that was. Too much, she thought. It was just too much to think about right now. So, she didn’t. She opened her eyes and saw Dan staring back, waiting for her response. “I don’t know, Dan. I just don’t know.”

Dan leaned back into the chair. “Fair enough, my golden girl. Fair enough. Well, you two are safe for now. We aren’t on anyone’s radar. The Intruders won’t come looking for you here. We’ll eventually get you back home, but until then, June is going to go crazy having you and the baby here. She’s extremely mothering.” Dan smiled as June entered the room.

“Well, I’d have to be to take care of your cranky butt.” June interjected as she held the bottle in her hand. “Alright, scoot on over, old man. I need to feed the baby.”

Dan stood up and leaned against the drywall as June slowly raised the baby in her arms and headed for the chair. As she sat, Dan took great pride in his wife’s nurturing.

“Were they able to name the baby before everything happened?” June asked while she placed the nipple of the bottle in Violet’s mouth. Violet began vigorously drinking the formula as she slept.

“Her name? Um, yes, they gave her a name.” Delilah hadn’t even thought to tell them about Violet’s eyes.

“Well, what is it?” Dan asked.

“First, I need to tell you something. I don’t even know how to say it other than just saying it, I guess.” Delilah raised her head from her knees.

Dan looked over at Delilah as June continued to watch the baby eat.

“Tell us what?” Dan looked concerned.

“Her eyes. Her eyes aren’t gold.” Delilah began.

Dan stood up from the wall with a alarmed look. “There’s never been a Normal born to two Prohibited before.”

Delilah nodded her head. “She’s not a Normal.”

Dan looked more confused than ever. “Then, what is she?”

“I don’t know, Dan. Her eyes are violet.” Delilah waited for Dan’s response.

June instantly raised her head and looked at Dan and back at Delilah. “They aren’t gold?”

“No.” Delilah replied.

“Wow. Okay, so, wow.” Dan ran his hand through his hair and looked down at the sleeping child. “violet?” He continued.

“Violet. Bright Violet. They are beautiful.” Delilah proudly admitted.

“So, what does that mean? Dan?” June looked for Dan to give an acceptable answer.

“I have no idea. Delilah, are you sure?” Dan immediately questioned.

“I’m sure. Just wait until you see her eyes. They’re breathtaking.” Delilah responded. But Dan didn’t seem comforted.

Dan sat at the edge of the bed and stared at Violet. He observed her, not knowing exactly what it was that he was looking for. He had the same questions Delilah and June had. She was special; that was clear, but how was she gifted?

“Did she protect Adelaide during birth?” Dan asked while still focused on Violet.

“She did.” Delilah replied.

“Did she have to protect you?” Dan asked.

“No. Not that I’m aware of.” Delilah responded.

“So, you and the baby were in a separate room from her parents when the Invaders entered?”

“Yes. And they named her Violet, by the way. They thought it might be a bit cliché, but they both felt it fit her perfectly.” Delilah informed Dan.

“It’s a perfect name for this perfect baby.” June whispered as she watched her drinking from the bottle.

“So, she wasn’t able to save them because she wasn’t with them?” Dan was trying to figure out what additional gifts Violet had, if any.

“No, she wasn’t able to. I wasn’t able to. Jacob wasn’t able to because I’m assuming he was in the bathroom.” Delilah said in a low disheartened tone. “We had no clue the Intruders were coming. Only a few people knew we were there. I just don’t get it.”

“Well, we don’t have to figure it out tonight.” June replied as she brought Violet to her shoulder so she could burp her. “We’ll find out in time.”

Dan continued to scan Violet for any movement or feature that would give him a clue as to what made her different. “June’s right. We should all try to get some sleep. I’ll go get you some clothes, Delilah. We have plenty of donations for you to choose from.” Dan left the room and walked the steps leading to the concealed door through the upper floor.

June continued to pat Violet’s back as she looked lovingly at Delilah. “You must be exhausted.”

Delilah looked up at June and took in an exhaustive breath. “I am.” She took another breath and pushed her hair from her face. “I must look like a mess.”

“You look beautiful. You look like a hero to me.” June said in a low whisper as she smiled.

“I don’t feel like one. I just hope Jacob and Adelaide survived.” After a few moments of silence, Delilah got up from the bed and walked to the bathroom. Dan appeared on the stairs with clothes in hand.

“Here you go.” Dan handed her the clothes. He reached for the back of her head with his hand and placed a kiss on her forehead. “You make us all proud, golden girl.” He then walked into the bedroom and sat on the edge of the bed facing June as Delilah went into the bathroom.

June now cradled Violet in her arms. She placed her finger in Violet’s petite hand. Violet’s brow furrowed. She slowly squinted her eyelids open to reveal her glowing violet eyes.

“Dan, look!” June whispered excitedly. Dan looked down to observe Violet scanning June’s face. They watched as Violet opened and closed her eyes while adjusting to the dim light. Violet squeezed June’s finger tightly. Violet was fed and burped and fulfilled as she gazed upon June curiously. Dan looked on in amazement.

“What do you think June?” Dan asked, not taking his eyes off Violet.

June’s eyes concentrated on the bright eyes as Violet squirmed in her arms. “I’m not sure, Dan, but I do know this. I feel it. She has the gift, but there is something extraordinary about this one. I can feel it deeply.” June continued to move her finger up and down with Violet’s hand gripping tightly. “It’s very profound. There’s no fear or anxiety. Love is amplified greatly.” June looked up at Dan. “It’s beyond soothing. She’s unique. I’m feeling no insecurity. It’s pure love and peace. It’s unlike anything I have ever felt with a Prohibited before. It’s stronger than Genevieve. It’s that powerful.” June placed her gaze back onto Violet’s fragile face. “She is a new hope for all Prohibited. I can feel it.”

Dan absorbed what June was saying as he watched them bond together. Time passed as they simply watch the unique child. Eventually Delilah walked into the bedroom, having showered and wearing dark gray sweat pants and an oversized t-shirt. Her hair slicked back. She looked relieved and complete again.

Delilah pulled up the sheets on the bed and poured herself under them while she propped the pillows for comfort. She was half sitting, half lying down. June got up from the chair and took Violet to the changing table to change her diaper. Violet had not fussed one bit this whole time. She was a perfect baby. Delilah yanked and tugged on the blankets to get herself comfortable for a good night’s sleep. Dan stood up and walked towards the door and turned to face the room.

“Well, ladies. I’m off to bed. I’ll set the alarms and cover the back entrance. I’ve checked the camera’s already. I don’t think we’ll have any visitors tonight. Get some sleep, Delilah. June, you going to be long?” Dan asked with confidence that she would be.

“I think I’ll stay down here with Violet and Delilah for a while. I want to make sure they both get some sleep.” June replied as she buttoned Violet’s onesie and wrapped her in the blanket.

“Okay. Love you all. Goodnight.” Dan replied as he turned to walk up the stairs.

“Goodnight.” Replied Delilah and June.

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