All The Queen's Puppets (Prologue)

April 23, 2010
By , Woodbridge, VA
It was raining- hard. Thick, round droplets pelted my rough skin as I stepped just outside the low over hang of Saint Erick’s. Hunched over, my father still towered over my five year old self.

“Gwen,” Father begged, shivering slightly, “come back inside.”

“No!” I frowned, scooting further from the lofty white building.

Since the moment I had learned of Lucy I had stayed away from my mother as much as possible. I feared that I, plagued with such asymmetry and rough features, may mar her perfection.

“Gwendolyn, please!”

I nearly giggled as sheets of rain distorted his dark features, petulance forgotten.

“Carry me.”

“Yes ma’am!” Father gave his usual goofy salute and swept me up with a wave of his long arm. His brown leather jacket felt warm and soft as my arms flung around his large neck. That’s how I remember my father- warm, soft, and large.

Patients scattered out of the way as we lumbered through the great Plexiglas doors. At 6’7” Father was impressive to say the least.

“Pod or ladder?” he asked, stopping at the floor directory.

Ladders were stairs, but I didn’t
know that yet. “Pod,” I grinned.

Five seconds, and eight cramped limbs later we reached the nineteenth floor. I was excited, despite my fears.

“You ready?” Father asked, excitedly, placing his palm on the ward room door. Because of my tantrums, this was his first time seeing Lucy too.

“Uh huh.” I pulled my ear nervously.

“One,” Father teased, reaching for the knob, “two.”

“Daddy!” I whined.

“Three!”

I burst into the room as if it was Christmas morning, the countdown only having amplified my excitement.

“Hi Mommy!” I blurted, hopping onto her smelly blue bed.

“Hello sweet.” Mother flashed me a tired half smile, her green eyes dulled by the hospital lighting. She shifted the mess of yellow blankets in her arms. “You want to see her?”

I needed no invitation; I was face to face with Lucy before my father could even reach the bed.

Mother and father discussed business in hushed tones as I sat in fascination of my little sister. Their voices sounded far too distressed given the occasion, but I was far too distracted to notice.

Placing a chubby finger on Lucy’s pale skin I uttered a phrase that few people would ever be bold enough to admit- “She’s strange.”





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