“This way Wyn!”
“Coming pappy!” She ran after him as fast as her nine-year-old legs would carry her, trying to catch up with her grandfather’s longer stride. “How much longer do we need to stay here?”
“I just have another meeting and then I’ll take you home. I can’t believe your Father just dropped you here.”
She halted in the long sterile hallway of the Institute her Grandfather owned. She could feel her lip trembling at the mention of her father.
The August older man sighed and crouched so he was level with her. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that. I’m just frustrated with him that’s all. Never think I don’t want you here. I’m hoping that one day you’ll run this place.”
Bronwyn shot her grandfather a huge grin and threw her arms around his neck, nearly knocking him to the ground.
“Yes, but before we go in here you need to make me a promise that you don’t speak of what you see when we go downstairs. You want to protect your future investment don’t you?”
“Yes! I won’t tell I promise.” She said eagerly. He chuckled.
With that, he was up and moving. She followed him down an exceedingly long flight of stairs until they reached a circular room with two doors.
Her grandfather spoke again. “You can’t come into the meeting with me, so you go in that room. "
She nodded and did as he asked, going into the room on the left. The door swung shut behind her and she heard it lock, but didn’t think much of it.
It was probably to keep her from wandering around. Her Grandpa was paranoid like that. She turned from the door and felt her eyes widen.
There was a huge glass wall a few feet from the entrance, and behind it was soil and foliage. It looked like a mini forest.
It was the most magical thing she’d seen and she was immediately curious. She waited for several minutes but when nothing happened she shrugged, her attention waning and made her way to the office chair that seemed to be the only piece of furniture besides the desk and computer.
She tried to turn the computer on but it needed a password, so ultimately she just ended up spinning around and around in the office chair with her eyes closed. It was so eerily quiet in the room that she could easily make out every creak of the chair as she spun; so it stood out like a sore thumb when a stick cracked.
She halted in her spinning and opened her eyes to find herself looking at the door. She waited for her head to stop spinning and turned to look at the glass wall. She jumped out of the chair and stood up so fast she needed another moment to regain her balance. Standing behind the glass was a very large man. He was naked.
If that wasn’t enough to freak her out he looked completely wild. He was staring at her like he’d never seen anything like her before. When he didn’t move she moved towards him. Something told her she shouldn’t be scared. After all, he was behind that wall wasn’t he?
“Hello?” She murmured. He cocked his head to the side slightly, eyes glinting. She moved even closer to the glass. “Can you talk mister?” He crouched down, much as her Grandfather had done. Most people thought she was far younger than she actually was because of her elfin features. He simply stared at her some more and then shook his head no.
“Oh. I’m sorry. Did something happen to your voice?” After a long pause, he nodded.
“Are you sick? Is that why you’re in here?” Another nod.
“How come you don’t have any clothes?” He just shrugged this time.
“I know you can’t tell me your name, but mine’s Bronwyn. Everyone calls me Wyn though. I’m sorry you’re sick. I don’t have any medicine.” He favored her with a small smile.
She had a feeling he didn’t often smile. She smiled back at him and looked around restlessly. It was hard to talk to someone who couldn’t talk to you. She noticed a small door that looked a bit like a doggy door but smaller and she got an idea. After all, Grandpa told her she’d be running this place one day. Surely she could start helping now?
“I know! I don’t have any medicine, but I do have Mr. Fluff.” She reached into her backpack and pulled out a stuffed wolf with blue eyes and white fur. She hugged it in her arms tightly.
“Mr. Fluff always makes me feel better when I’m sick, or if bad stuff happens. He’s fluffy and soft. I’ll leave him here with you, but you better take care of him okay?” The man’s eyes were full of some emotions she didn’t understand. “Do you promise?” He nodded. She put her hand up against the glass.
“Okay, since you’re behind there we can’t do a pinky swear. So we’ll have to do a hand promise on the glass.” She put her hand up to the glass. “Do you solemnly swear to take care of Mr. Fluff and never rip him or throw him away?”
He put his hand on the glass on his side and nodded once. Satisfied, she made her way to the little serving hold and put Mr.Fluff carefully inside, then closed it.
Just then, the door opened and her Grandfather walked in.
“Ah, I see you’ve met or longest-standing resident.”
“How come he has no clothes?”
“He’s very sick my dear. Clothing will not help his condition.”
“Oh. He seems sad.” She felt herself frowning.
“That’s because he’s sick darling.”
“What’s his name?”
“His name is Bayne. Now we need to go. Your mother is getting worried about you.”
“Okay, Grandpa. Nice to meet you, Bayne!” She waved enthusiastically until her Grandpa took her by the hand and led her out of there.
For Bronwyn life went on.
For Bayne, the only thing he had to sustain him was the stuffed wolf a kind-hearted child left for him, and the hope that not all was lost after all.