The bullet entered David’s upper left arm. Howling in rage as his shot went wide of its intended target. Before David was able to shoot again Shon launched himself at his father knocking him to the floor. Evelyn grabbed the gun from David’s fingers. Holding it with shaky hands Evelyn pointed the gun at the man who would have killed her infant son.
“Honey,” Shon shouted trying to get her attention “It’s not worth it Evie. He can’t hurt us now.” Shon struggled to stay on top of his father’s bucking form. Mark added his weight to keep David pinned to the floor.
A shrill cry coming from the doorway caused Evelyn to jerk out of her daze. “I shot him …. I shot him….” Dana keened “I couldn’t let him hurt my baby brother. I couldn’t….” Dana turned fearful eyes towards Evelyn. “Please don’t send me away. I’m sorry. I don’t want to be bad anymore. Please I’ll do anything. Just don’t send me away.” Dana fell to her knees crying.
Dropping the gun from her numb fingers, Evelyn went to Dana. scooping up the child into her arms Evelyn rocked her saying “It’s alright,” she soothed “no one’s going anywhere.”
“I’m …. I’m sorry,” Dana gulped “I didn’t want to hurt Gilbert.” Pointing towards David “he … he …. he said I had to. All aliens are evil he told me.” Sobbing louder “I’m sorry I believed him. I don’t want to hurt anybody. Not anymore. Please help me be good.”
Once the police arrived on scene they arrested David on several counts of kidnapping and attempted homicide. Evelyn wondered how long David would be locked up for this time and hoped it would be for life. Approaching the officers and paramedics huddled around Shon she knelt beside Shon “you’re shoulder, how bad is it?”
“I’m fine ….” Shon began to placate her only to find himself cut off by his lieutenant.
“He’s going to the hospital to have that shoulder taken care of,” the lieutenant said glaring at Shon “and no argument.”
Raising his eyebrow at him Shon fell silent seeing it was pointless to argue. “Fine but leave an officer here in case my family needs anything.”
“Already way ahead of you,” his lieutenant told him. “Mr Olivia will be going back inside for a very long time. Evelyn I hate to intrude but that young boy would be better off here under your care until we can trace his family.”
Overhearing them Mark interrupted “I don’t have a family anymore … he killed them.”
Putting a hand on his shoulder Evelyn said “your wrong. You’re family is here. We’ll be your family now.”
“You don’t even know me,” Mark mumbled overwhelmed “what if that man’s wrong and I’m not his son?”
“You’d still be welcome,” Evelyn told him “where else will you find another family of aliens where you’d fit right in?”
“I don’t want to impose,” Mark interjected not trusting his good fortune. He was still amazed he was alive when he expected to be dead. Now he had an opportunity to belong to a family where he would actually be understood and fit into. Things were finally beginning to look up.
A tug on his hand had Mark looking down at a little boy with light hair. “Mark,” Robbie said “just say thank you.”
Looking at the little boy Mark smiled a little “okay thank you,” he finally said turning to Evelyn.
“Good,” Evelyn hugged him close. “I hope you don’t mind sharing a room.”
“Doesn’t matter I don’t sleep,” Mark mumbled.
Looking at him in consternation Evelyn smiled “of course you don’t. I should have known that.” Laughing at herself she began to shake in the cool morning breeze.
“Are you alright?” Mark asked in concern.
“I’m fine,” Evelyn reassured him “I’m just reacting to everything that has happened. We’re fortunate to be alive.” She wrapped her arms around herself taking int he scene around her. the police, the ambulance as it drove away with Shon. She wished she could have gone with him to the hospital. Shaking her head she knew Shon would be alright without her. The children might not be. They all clumped together, their eyes round and scared. Her eyes fell upon Dana She saved them. Gave Shon the opportunity he needed to tackle David. What were they going to do with her?
Could she trust her not to hurt anyone else? Was her actions the result of her being manipulated by an evil man riddled with hate? She couldn’t ignore what she’s done in the past. She couldn’t hold her actions against her either. Time. She needed time to see if Dana could gain her trust again. She couldn’t do that if they sent her away. It might even reinforce her low opinion of herself. ‘No Evelyn thought I can’t give up on the child . There’s some good in her. I just have to build on that.’ Gathering the kids together Evelyn said “come on let’s go inside and get some sleep.”
Shaking their heads they stood frozen where they were. Eyes alert and scared. Smiling gently at them Evelyn opened her arms wide as they ran to her. Clinging to her for strength “it’s going to be alright,” she soothed. She looked at Mark over their heads seeing him holding the baby. She smiled saying “thank you.”
“I can take the baby and put him to bed if you’d like,” Mark offered.
“Yes please,” Evelyn said trying to keep from thinking what could have happened if it weren’t for one young determined little girl. “Be sure the baby monitor is on.”
“I will,” Mark said as he walked inside. Dana followed him into the house. Looking up to Evelyn she asked “can we trust him?”
“I think so,” Evelyn replied wondering if she could trust the little girl who asked the question.
Dana nodded saying “I guess he’s in the same boat I am, needing to prove he can be trusted.”
Lifting the little girls chin up Evelyn asked “you do understand why we can’t trust you, right?”
Nodding “I hurt Gilbert and I caused a lot of trouble.” Dana hung her head “I’m sorry. I’ll be better. I can be good.”
“I know you can,” Evelyn hugged her tight “it just won’t happen overnight. It will require a lot of work on your part to change, if that’s what you want to do.”
Nodding in determination Dana said firmly “I can and I will.”
“We’ll see,” Evelyn said unconvinced. Turning to the other kids she ushered them further into the house.
Looking at his mother Robbie said “we don’t want to go to bed.”
“I know but you’re all tired,” Evelyn told them looking at their little faces. Mark came down and picked up Terrell who was half asleep already.
Terrell cried out in fright as the strange boy took him. “Hey it’s alright little man. I’m you’re Uncle Mark.” He smiled warmly at the little boy. His tone soothed and calmed the toddler. Terrell soon snuggled into Mark’s arms letting himself fall asleep in the boys arms. Mark smiled at Evelyn “two down and three to go.” He turned to carry Terrell up to his room.
Evelyn sighed “alright if you aren’t tired lets read a story.” The kids nodded agreement as they spread out on the floor. Evelyn went to the bookcase to select something to read hoping that her voice would sooth them enough to fall asleep.
Sitting on the couch Evelyn began to read.
Robbie and Don huddled together while Dana sat alone. Taking pity on his sister Don offered “you can join us Dan, if you want to.”
Looking at them Dana blinked in surprise unsure of his offer. She knew Don was sincere but she felt awkward accepting. She had been so mean to him in the past. Why should he be nice to her now? She looked at Evelyn realizing that she was being watched. She didn’t mind that too much, she knew she would have to prove to everyone that she did want to change. Being good was going to be so much harder than being bad. It had been fun seeing how much she could get away with. Being good was going to make her think differently. Maybe being bad was just her nature. Blinking again she smiled she wouldn’t know until she tried “okay thank you,” she said snuggling close to her brothers.”
Evelyn smiled in relief. It was a small step but it was a good to see her take it. She hid her smile as she continued to read. It didn’t take long before their eyes closed and were fast asleep on the floor. Mark spoke from behind her “do you want help carrying them to their rooms?”
“No I think I’ll just let them sleep on the floor.” Evelyn spoke quietly not wanting to awaken them. Getting up she motioned for Mark to follow her. “How are you at chess?”
Looking at the chess board Mark smiled “my dad and I played all the time. I would ….” He stopped talking realizing he would never get the chance to play chess with his dad again
Reaching out Evelyn squeezed his shoulder “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to bring up bad memories.”
Wiping his eyes “not bad just sad. I’ll never get a chance to tell them how much I loved them.”
“I’m sorry,” Evelyn repeated watching as the boy set up the board. “Want to talk about it?”
“Not really,” Mark mumbled “they were good people. They didn’t deserve what that man did to them.” He looked down at the chess board.
“It’s not your fault,” Evelyn told him as she moved a chess piece.
Nodding Mark moved a piece to counter her move. “I know but if he didn’t hate me so much or if they hadn’t adopted me they would still be alive.”
“Don’t think like that,” Evelyn chided him “they adopted you because they wanted a child. They chose you and it didn’t matter that you looked like them or not.”
“You’re right but it was that difference that killed them,” Mark said with downcast eyes.
“No your wrong,” Evelyn said looking up “they died because of one man’s hatred. It wasn’t your fault.”
Mark shook his head “he kept telling me if they hadn’t fought him he wouldn’t have had to kill them. They tried to protect me. They died because of me.”
Evelyn said gently “they loved you. Their love for you moved them to protect you. Don’t let that man’s twisted hate taint their love for you.”
Sighing Mark looked at Evelyn “I know you’re right. I just wish they weren’t dead.”
“I know,” Evelyn got up and hugged the boy. “You have us now. We understand more than anyone else could what it’s like to be both alien and the target of that man’s hate.” Rubbing his back “Thank you for helping subdue him without your help he would have overpowered Shon. I don’t want to think what might have happened if that had happened.”
“You’re welcome,” Mark mumbled “Thank you for letting me stay with you.”