Zaccarias Longferd

December 31, 2012
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Celebriah was lined up next to the other orphans, her head downcast, her long black hair hiding her face, and her hands behind her back. She knew she would not get picked. She was not a very good child. She was told this every day since she came to live there. She was always in the background and was always blamed for the bad things that happened around the house. Her “caretakers” were a superstitious lot, and since Celebriah’s mother had died in childbirth and her father had run out before she was even born, she, naturally, was bad luck. Deep down, she knew that she was just as horrible as everyone said. Despite that, or perhaps because of it, she was an honest and observant young girl for being only twelve.

On this particular evening, as Celebriah stood next to the other kids, contemplating all the reasons she would not be picked, the children were in a particular kind of suppressed frenzy, for the one that was looking to adopt a child was none other than Zaccarias Longferd. What was so very special about him, you ask? Well, he was a very rich man, and was rumored to be a very, very kind, despite his dark, scary clothes and Gothic mansion. A better parent could not adopt you. Everyone stood a little straighter, answered politely when asked a question, and looked a little more… boring. Zaccarias was looking for a very special child, one that would ease the driving pain in him. He had begun to despair at how very much the children were the same. But as he looked down the line, he noticed Celebriah, with her black hair and slumped appearance. He could tell she would be perfect for his, uh, way of life, if she could correctly answer a few questions.

Celebriah felt a dark shadowy, presence descend on her. She peeked through her hair at the man in front of her. He was impeccably dressed, if dark, but she did not mind. He wore a black suit without a tie and a black silk shirt. She looked up into his warm green eyes, as he asked, “What is your name?”

“Celebriah,” she answered.

“Unusual. What is your favorite color?”

“Black,” came the answer as she looked back down at her ratty shoes. They used to be black but were now a dishwater gray-brown. Celebriah always got the hand-me-downs.

“Unusual. And your blood type?”

Her head shot up to his eyes to see if he was joking. Though his eyes were still kind, she could tell he was serious.

“That’s a weird question, sir.” she replied through narrowed, suspicious eyes.
“Well, I have been called a weird man numerous times, my dear.” He said seriously.
Deciding to trust him, she answered, “I am not sure... I am only twelve. Ask my keepers.”
Her caretakers glared at Celebriah as they said, “O Negative.”

He smiled, “I think we will get along fabulously.”

His voice, though it did not change, sent shivers of foreboding down her spine. Still looking at her, he said to the parents, “I like this one. May I adopt her?” Though it was in question form, his voice was not questioning.

“Are you sure you don’t want one of the other, younger children? This one always causes trouble. She has a dark stain on her soul.” Came the sneering reply. Celebriah’s head dropped in shame.

“Even better,” the man replied, finally looking at the caretakers. “I love children with spirit and mischief in their eyes.” Celebriah looked up in astonishment.

His eyes intensified on the man and woman, as he commanded, sickeningly polite, “Please?”

“Very well.” said the women, as if she had a choice, “Since the girl is an orphan, there are only a few papers you have to fill out and not such a long wait. You can have her in a week. Children, you may retire to get ready for bed.” She shuffled around, looking for the papers.

After the children retreated, with a slightly angry expression, Zaccarias said, “I would really prefer to have her tonight.”

“Not possible,” the man replied.

“Then tomorrow,” Zaccarias said, decisively.

The woman looked up from the papers she had just found. “Why are you so anxious to have her?”

“I have always wanted a child that would fit into my lifestyle perfectly. Now that I have, I can not wait to have her.” His voice was honey-smooth, persuading.

“The fastest you can have her would be on Thursday,” the man says, after a couple of minutes deliberating.

“Then I shall wait until Thursday.”

Thursday came about sunny and warm. Ugly. Celebriah stood in the parlor, listening to her foster parents drone on and on about how she “must be good and not make Zaccarias mad and bring her back here.” Stars forbid, they should have to deal with her again! After her caretakers exhausted that subject and her new parent still had not arrived, they decided to retire for some light snacks. When he still did not arrive after 3 o'clock, Celebriah began to despair and her “caretakers” began again to yell at her and call her a “devil child.”

Around sunset, there came a knock on the door of the manor. Again, Celebriah got the shivers. ‘ What is wrong with me? !” she thought, “ I am not even worthy to have this man adopt me, and all I can think about is this feeling of foreboding? I am lucky to even be considered for adoption, devil child that I am! Still, maybe there is a reason I feel like this. After all I did notice the look in his eyes when he spoke to about my blood. It was almost…hungry.’

When Zaccarias collected Celebriah’s things and bid farewell to the caretakers, they got into the car. “How young are you, Celebriah?” Asked the man.

“ Young? I have never heard anyone phrase that question quite that way. I am 12.” She replied.

“I phrase it that way because no one wants to be reminded that most of them will eventually die and they are getting closer and closer to it.” He glanced at her, “Some more than others.”
Nervously looking away, she tucked a stray piece of hair behind her ear. “How young are you, Mr. Longferd?”

He smiled and it seemed that the world’s years were in his eyes. “Old, my dear, very old. And call me Zaccarias, after all you are now in my care.”

When they got to the mansion, she noticed a speck of blood on his collar. “Mr.- I mean – Zaccarias, why is there blood on your collar?”

He tensed. “Forget you ever saw it.”

“I can not,” she answered honestly… stupidly.
He looked at her and smiled. She gasped in horror . “ Little girls who wish to live to a very, very old age should learn to not notice certain thing.” and he pounced.

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