Folded Dreams – The Beginning
By Pearl Kirkby
Copyright © 2002-2003 by Peggy Clapper-Twitty
© 2003-2015 PL Pearl Kirkby
All rights reserved
No part of this book may be used, archived or reproduced, in whole or in part, by any means whatsoever, without the written permission of the copyright holder, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews, as provided in the Fair Use Act, United States of America copyright law.
Published by PL Kirkby & Company
8131 61st Lane, Pinellas Park FL 33781 USA
Characters in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
ISBN – 10: 1519129048
ISBN – 13: 978-1519129041
PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
“…I will not forget.”
* * *
The child awoke that morning to pure awareness, a clarity she knew would never visit her again. She knew that, from now until the moment of her death, her memories would be only of the things she experienced from this day forward. She could sense the veil falling, slowly but ever so surely, over her conscious mind.
For these few remaining moments, though, she could yet remember her complete Existence. She felt the timelessness of her life, even that misty reality before birth when she was, somehow, never alone. She could see, as it were, the pages of that life as they lay open, waiting for the lessons of this new, physical, life to be penned onto their emptiness.
She looked through the railings of her crib, across the nursery and into the kitchen, where the two most important people in her life thus far, sat at the table, facing one another – her mother and their housekeeper – those two women who had cared for her from the day that she was born.
“I will never forget this sight,” thought the child. “Evelyn and Mother…they will remain, just so, imprinted forever in my mind. I will not forget.”
She felt again that veil which would finally conceal from her, her eternal existence through the eons, as it rapidly descended. But she was determined, in these last few lucid moments of memory, to find a way…to devise some kind of subliminal word or phrase…that she might lose as little as possible of her previous existence, that shadowy time from before and within the womb, right up until this morning, this hour, this minute.
Her tiny fists clenched the bars of her crib and she squeezed her eyes shut as tightly as she could, concentrating as hard as her will would allow.
“I have been alive in this physical plane for 6 months and I will never forget what I feel like – never forget what I’m seeing – right now.”
She felt the urgency of purpose beginning to break apart, like a cloud, drifting slowly away from her.
Desperately she clung to the last vestiges of her thoughts. She tried to pound this one final message into her memory:
“I will never forget what I know.”
Taking a deep, steadying breath, she opened her eyes once again and gazed with love at the forms of those two best friends, her mother and Evelyn.
They were silhouetted against the brilliant morning sunlight, as it streamed through the bay windows of the cozy little kitchen, saying their goodbyes before The Big Move.
“I will never forget this moment…”
The baby watched intently from behind the railings of the crib, as the two women grasped one another’s hands…and wept.
* * *
Like a cool, soothing mist, the veil of forgetfulness descended. The baby plopped down from where she had been standing, holding to the rails.
Something seemed to be missing from those dark brown eyes now, and only brand new innocence remained on her face.
Innocence, and a smile.
* * *
~ 1 ~
The child’s mother stood by her bed, hands on her hips, her face looking like a thundercloud had taken up residence between her eyebrows.
“Little girl, if you don’t quit kickin’ these covers off of you at night, you’re going to get sick!”
She snatched the sheet and blanket from the floor, giving them a shake to dislodge the dust bunnies it had acquired from underneath the bed.
“It took an awful lot of time and effort to sew these ties onto all of your sheets so that they wouldn’t get kicked off in the night…look at them!”
She held the sheet in a fist, shaking it at her daughter as she continued her tirade.
“You are the only one who sleeps in this bed and a body doesn’t ‘accidentally’ untie a double knot while they’re asleep! But here they are, untied, on the floor…and you’re sitting there telling me you didn’t do it?”
The little girl looked down at the floor. She didn’t know how they got untied. All she knew was that she had not done it – would not have dared to do so, especially since Mother had been so edgy lately.
She was very young, only four years old, but even so, she had understanding far beyond someone of her tender age. She knew, somehow, that her mother wasn’t really quite as angry about the sheets as she appeared, and nor was she really angry with her. Ever since Daddy had been sent on yet another business trip – this time out of the country – her mother had been more likely to rage at her children than to smile at them.
The little girl knew that the reason for the ties was as simple as a mother’s love, for every morning when Mother came in to wake her and her sister, she would find her huddled into the far corner of the bed, wedged against the wall and the headboard, shivering, with a runny, bleeding nose.
Unfortunately, all things combined this morning into the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back, and Mother had erupted into an angry outburst. How she wished she could avoid being the catalyst for her mother’s angst.
Whatever the cause, Mother would come into her and her sister’s room every morning and the ensuing scene would be repeated, just like clockwork.
This morning, like all of the others, the little girl simply hung her head and said aloud, “Yes, ma’am.”
To herself, she silently resolved, “I am 4 years old and my mother doesn’t believe me. I will never forget this moment in time, nor how I feel…”
Dejected and hurt that her mother doubted her, she was determined to get to the bottom of this mystery. And so it was, when she was getting ready to go to bed that night, she told herself that she must wake up the instant she felt those covers slipping off. She half suspected that her older sister was just trying to get her into trouble, as she always did, but tonight, she vowed, she would find out for sure.
Going in to kiss Mother goodnight that night, she told her of her plan. Mother only said, “Don’t be ridiculous, child; just make sure you stay covered up tonight. No more runny noses, alright?”
* * *
It was in the wee hours of the morning, when the moon had disappeared beyond the horizon and the sky was at its darkest, that the child became aware of a rustling in her room. She tensed as she felt something bump against her bed; straining her ears, she could hear faint whispers. On the bunk bed above her, she could detect the slow, deep, even breathing of her sister’s slumber.
Someone else was in the room! A short stab of fear clutched at her heart, causing it to jump so violently that it seemed to lodge in her throat.
Almost immediately, the debilitating fear was replaced by an indignant anger that only a four year old child can summon. She focused every one of her senses in a sublime effort to locate the intruder.
Her mother had made sure that every single one of the little ties on her sheets had been secured with a double knot, as she always did. These ties that were supposed to be helping her avoid the annoying sniffles and horrid bloody noses every morning, were so tightly fastened that they should have stayed in place no matter how much she thrashed about in her sleep.
Only now, someone was at the side of her bed, working at them…untying them.
She sat bolt upright in the bed, clutching her sheet to her chest, as some…thing…tried to pull them from her stubborn grasp. Finally, the child’s anger exploded into the supreme rage born of violation.
“HEY!” she yelled. “Stop that! Who are you! You go away! Get away from me right now!” and she kicked out as hard as she could, making contact with something that felt solid.
But no, it couldn’t have been solid, for she felt her foot enveloped in a damp, cool mass of what could only be described as cotton candy. Solid, or merely dense.
There. But not.
The faint rustling stopped. The whispers ceased. Impenetrable darkness seemed to descend around her. Even the air took on a deadened quality. It was as if all sound had been absorbed and the pressure of silence was bearing down upon her eardrums.
Had the world just stopped turning? Had not time itself just come to a sudden standstill? Then, just as quickly as the sensations had appeared, they also vanished. The world began to turn on its axis once more, time resumed and sound again returned.
She heard her sister let out a whimper and, from her parent’s room, Mother cried out something unintelligible.
(Why couldn’t they hear her shout? Why didn’t they wake up? Why wouldn’t they help her?)
There in the twilit room, she strained her eyes until they stung, trying to see who was by the bed. The effort was useless, until an eerie, yellowish glow began to pervade the darkness. At first she assumed that it was a trick of that odd light, for surely her eyes couldn’t see what she thought was before her; staring in amazement, mouth in a perfect “O”, the little girl saw, gathered along the side of her bed…
At least, in the midst of her shock, that was her first impression. As she peered at them more closely, she realized that, though their features bore an odd, primate resemblance, they were, in actuality, a group of decidedly pint-sized, thickset men, very much like Snow White’s seven dwarfs from the Disney movie.
Unlike those colourful, animated characters, however, these creatures (for how could they really be men?) moved as if entranced and were dressed in strange, dull clothes that seemed to suck even the ambient light from the room.
Each one of them looked intently at her, appearing a bit surprised that she spoke. Or were they, perhaps, only caught somewhat off guard at being interrupted in the midst of whatever it was they were up to? Whatever the case, her reaction seemed to cause them discomfort and confusion.
“Why have you been pulling my bedclothes off of my bed at night?” she demanded in a fierce whisper.
There was no answer. Indeed, the only indication that they had heard her was a collective turning of their flat, blank faces in her direction. But the movement was more as if in response to some random noise, rather than one of actually hearing and understanding her question.
As they regarded her…or rather, as they faced her…she realized there was no real awareness in the half dozen pairs of black eyes that were turned her way. She gave a great shudder, but steeled her little will to continue.
“I don’t know who you are, but you’ve gotten me into a lot of trouble, and if you don’t cut it out and go away right now, I’m gonna call my mother and tell on you!”
The little “monkey men” looked perplexed. More whispers ensued as they seemed to consult one another. Then they were silent, heads cocking, in unison, to one side as if listening to a voice she could not hear.
They all turned toward her again. Slowly, the one who was closest to her, reached out his hand and pressed a stubby finger to her arm.
There was one dreamy instant in which she became vaguely aware of the presence of another little girl in the room – a girl with long, dark hair, who had been observing the goings on from a shadowy corner.
Gradually, the room around her, including all of its strange inhabitants, began to dissolve. As she fell into an unnatural and dreamless sleep, the little girl was able to grasp one last bit of awareness, and she whispered to herself,
“I am 4 years old and I will not forget…I will not forget…I will…not…for…get…”
* * *
Mother stood looking down at her youngest daughter. Once again, the ties had been loosed, all the way down to the foot of the bed, on both sides.
There lay her child, in a single beam of morning sunlight, curled into a fetal position at the farthest corner of her bed, wedged between the wall and the headboard. She was clutching one corner of her sheet to her chin so tightly that the little, sharp knuckles were whitened. Even so, she looked peaceful in her sleep.
As she studied her daughter’s bedclothes, she noticed a solitary, long, straight black hair trailing from one of the ties, all the way to the floor.
And she saw the bruise blossoming on the top of the child’s forearm.
She transferred her gaze to her daughter’s very solemn, very serious and very white face.
“The monkey men won’t be back.”
…and an odd chill ran through the mother’s frame.
* * *
~ 2 ~
It may have been two weeks later; perhaps it had been two months, or even six months which had gone by. The only thing that is certain is that it was again the wee hours of the morning – that time when the moon has set and only the twinkling stars are giving their light.
Ever since the incident with the bed sheets and strange visitors in the night, the little girl’s morning runny and bleeding noses had ceased. She no longer woke up with the sniffles, and nor was there any more problem with her staying covered up during chilly nights.
However, also since that time, she had been unable to remain asleep beyond a certain hour without rousing herself.
It had become her habit that, without fail, she would awaken suddenly, get out of her bed, check on her sister, then move on to her parent’s room.
She would softly touch each of her loved ones in turn, as if to reassure herself that they were alright. No shadowy corner escaped her searching eyes before she exited any room.
Satisfied that her family was safe, the diminutive Watcher would continue her self-appointed task of making a complete tour of the house, checking, first, the living room and front door, then on through to the kitchen and back door.
That done, it was back through the house in reverse (only, don’t ever look very closely into the plate glass mirror in the hallway, because that’s just too scary when the lights are out; some nights you can see eyes hovering behind your reflection – and sometimes your own eyes looking back at you, blink…before you do…).
Once all of the rooms had been thoroughly inspected, she would finish with a short stop in the bathroom before going back to bed, her task of keeping her family’s security intact complete.
Most times, the nightly circuit yielded nothing more than a few prickles up and down her neck, as if she was being watched. There were some nights, however, that this would not be so, as she would soon discover.
There was one time that, at the end of her ‘Watch’, the little girl made her usual last stop in the bathroom. She closed the door behind her so that when she turned on the light, the glare would not disturb her mother’s slumber, which was restless on this night.
She stepped up onto the little stool that Daddy had placed there, just for her, and flipped the switch to the vanity lamp. Avoiding looking at herself in the mirror over the sink, she turned around…and gave a short, sharp scream.
Her heart pounded hard enough to rip out of her chest, for there, just behind the door, was a little girl, about her own age. At first she thought she was wearing pajamas, but who ever heard of pj’s shimmering like crystal? The child’s feet were bare…but wait…
“Well, this can’t be right.” It was a mere wisp of a thought, as she registered the fact that those bare feet were also floating about two inches above the bathroom floor…….
————–(End of extended excerpt)————–