Liz wakes up the next morning to yet another fist pounding on her door.
“People sure like to beat up my door lately.” Liz grumbles as she gets up out of bed, unlocks her door, and opens it.
“You seriously locked your door?” asked the person on the other side. Anna looks at Liz with wide eyes, a grin appearing on her lips.
“You're that scared of a little boy?”
“Shut up. Another little event happened last night. Rebecca had a horrible fit and Jimmy freaking growled at me.” Liz snaps, rubbing her face.
“Well aren't you snappy.” Anna raises her eyebrows, “I haven't heard anything about that. Though I just got here. I haven't even seen Margaret yet.”
Liz jerks her head up. Margaret is always the first to greet her returning workers. Where is she? Liz pushes past Anna, heading straight over to Margaret's room. When she finally gets to the wooden door, she lightly knocks on it. When nothing happens, she knocks a little harder, and puts her ear against the door, listening for any sounds of movement. Anna followed her, and is standing behind Liz, her face beginning to show signs of worry. Liz hears a little bit of movement before the door opens suddenly, making Liz fall over a little. Margaret stands on the other side, hunched over and pale as death.
“Are you okay, Margaret?” Liz gasps, placing her hand on the woman’s forehead, testing her temperature.
“Oh my! Did I sleep in? That's no good. I need to greet everyone. And look! I've already missed someones arrival! Welcome back Anna!” Margaret says hoarsely, managing a weak smile.
“You're not greeting anyone! Get back in your bed! I'll get you some water and medicine.” Liz orders, shooing Margaret back to bed.
“But I feel fine.” Margaret argues, but unable to fight back.
“You don't look fine.” Liz retorts.
“Something every woman wants to hear.” Margaret chuckles, settling back into bed.
“Now stay there! I forbid you to get out of bed without my permission!”
“You get so bossy when your worried.”
“She does, doesn't she?” Anna giggles from the doorway.
“I'll be right back.” Liz walks out of the room, heading toward the kitchen. When she gets there, she finds Jimmy sitting on the center island, drinking a cup of milk.
“Hello, Liz.” He greets in that sweet voice of his.
“Hey, Jimmy. Did you sleep alright last night?” Liz doesn't look at the boy, instead keeping herself busy opening and closing the cabinets, looking for cups and pills.
“Yes. How bout you and Margaret?”
Liz glances at Jimmy quickly, then fills up a cup. “Margaret doesn't seem to be feeling well today.”
“That's not good. Does she have a fever?”
Liz stops. No...she doesn't have a fever. Liz was too worried to really notice the coolness of Margaret's forehead.
“How is Zeke, Jimmy?” Liz asks, continuing with looking for the useless medicine. Jimmy hops off the counter, and strolls over to Liz.
“He's fine. He had a very restful sleep last night. Got a little hungry and needed a snack though. But don't worry, he found something.” he answered, looking up at Liz with a smile. Liz kneels down, placing her hands on her knees to keep them from shaking.
“When do you think I will get to meet Zeke? I've been wanting to at least say hi.” Liz asks, keeping a pleasant smile on her face.
“Do you really want to meet him?” Jimmy asks, his smile brightening. “People are usually too scared to meet him.”
“Why is that?”
“Because he's a demon.” Jimmy says, the smile never wavering.
A cold chill slithers down Liz's spine. Demon?
“Well...he can't be that bad. He did take care of you while you were in the woods, didn't he?” It is taking everything Liz has not to run out of the room.
“He sure did. I bet he will be glad that you're not scared of him. You should get some bananas for Margaret. Medicine isn't going to be much help. I'm going to go outside with the rest of the kids.” Jimmy pats Liz's hand before walking out of the kitchen.
Liz unsteadily stands up, supporting herself on the counter. She picks up the glass of water meant for Margaret and takes a big chug of it, trying to settle herself. Anna walks into the kitchen, stopping when she spots Liz.
“What happened to you? Are we out of medicine or something?” she asks, looking confused.
“Anna, go watch the kids. I'll be out there when I finish up with Margaret. Oh, and see if you can pick out which one is Jimmy.” Liz says, her voice muffled by her hands that were covering up her face. She then grabs another cup, fills it with water, and snatches up a banana.
“Okay...” Anna replies, slowly leaving. Liz walk out after her, walking back to Margaret's room, feeling exhausted. She delivers the water and banana, smiling and telling the sickly woman to call for her if she needed anything. She makes sure to grab her phone out of her room and gets dressed, before joining Anna outside.
Anna throws an arm across Liz's shoulders, smiling as she says, “So. I met Jimmy. He just seems shy. May be a little rude, but I don't see what has you so uneasy.”
Liz sighs, “He didn't talk to you, did he?”
“No...I said hi and he just went over and hid behind the playhouse.”
“Jimmy!” Liz calls suddenly, making Anna jump. The boy immediately appears from behind the playhouse, running over to Liz like a obedient puppy. He notices Anna's arm hanging around Liz's shoulders, and frowns.
“Who's she?” he asks, not looking happy with their friendliness.
“This is Anna. She my co-worker and best friend.” Liz introduces.
Jimmy narrows his eyes, before stepping in between them and hugging Liz possessively.
“She's ours.” he says, glaring at Anna. Anna's eyebrows shoot up in surprise.
She shares a glance with Liz before saying, “Just because I'm Liz's friend doesn't mean I won't share. We can both be her friend.”
“No” he snaps, burying his face into Liz's side.
Liz pats his head, “You can go back to playing, Jimmy. I just wanted you to meet Anna.”
He pulls away, nods, and goes back to hiding behind the playhouse.
“Okaaay...” Anna drawls, “Now I know what you mean. What did he mean by “ours” anyways?”
“He has a little friend named Zeke apparently. Jimmy says he is a demon.” she admits the last part, feeling like she just betrayed Jimmy's trust. But she needed to tell someone, and her friend was the only one she trusted to lean her shoulder on. They have known each other for 3 years, having both been brought to this very orphanage at age 15. While Anna is taking online college courses to be a nurse and actually has a life, Liz has decided she will stay at this orphanage for the rest of her life. Since the orphanage is so secluded, she feels that it would be rude of her, being without a life, to keep the other co-workers from having weekends off. She also doesn't want to leave Margaret alone, since she feels as if she owes the sweet lady for raising her. After suffering through high school, Liz decided to live in seclusion, but Anna doesn't understand this, and is constantly trying to get Liz to go places with her. She wouldn't since she is far more pretty with long black hair, green eyes, and a doll-like face. In comparison with brown hair, blue eyes, and boring facial features, Liz was plain. She also has absolutely no social skills, and if anyone ever spoke to her at school they got to witness her hiding skills.
“Demon?! Is he not scared? Wait, why am I acting like this is true? We need to take this kid to a doctor or something!” she gasps, being a little too loud.
“Shh! He might hear you. The only reason I told you is because this is all getting too much for me. Even if he is a little different, I can't go treating him like a whack job.”
“You're too nice. This is why he is so attached to you.” Anna frowns, glaring at Liz.
“You think so? But he was staring at me before I even said one word to him.”
“It's written all over your face. If you got a little tough on him I bet he wouldn't be so anti-social. Now that I think about it, you are the worst person for him to attach to! You can barely talk to anyone else your age! Talk about terrible influences!”
“Thanks.” Liz rolls her eyes.
“Always here for ya, buddy.” Anna winks, smiling. Liz can't help but smile back, feeling better than she has since the dark child appeared.
“Speaking of anti-social...” Anna begins, and Liz sighs.
Suddenly, a child screams. Anna and Liz jump up, searching for where the sound came from. They didn't have to look hard, for a group of children have gathered, surrounding something. The two immediately run over to the group, gently pushing children to the side. When they are finally able to see what the fuss is about, they both gasp. David is on the ground, crying his eyes out while a very angry Rebecca glares down at him. Her eyes are darker than usual, and full of hate.
“What did you say about my dress?” she asks, her voice bittersweet.
“Rebecca! What are you doing?” Liz rushes over to David, looking at Rebecca in confusion.
“He called my dress ugly.” she answers, staring at Liz blankly.
“And? That doesn't give you the right to...do whatever you did.” Anna joins in, unsuccessfully scolding Rebecca.
The little girl looks up at Anna, scowling. “That was pitiful.”
“Rebecca!” Liz snaps, gaining the child’s attention. “What.Did.You.Do?” she pronounces each word, locking the girl in a glare.
Rebecca's eyes widen innocently, “I just pushed him. I don't know why he is crying like a baby.”
“Anna, take Rebecca to her bunk. Kids, go to the play room.” Liz orders, giving her attention to David. Jimmy appeared at Liz's side at some point, and is looking at the little boy with interest.
“Hmm. Looks like the witch finally snapped and struck him with her wickedness.” the pale boy says, poking David with a stick that came out of nowhere.
“Stop that. Did you see what happened, Jimmy?”
“Yes. She hit him with this stick.” he replies, showing her the stick he had been poking David with.
“David,” Liz gently shakes the little boy, “Is that what happened? Did Rebecca hit you with a stick?”
“Yes.” he sobbed, rubbing his back. “She was hittin' me on the back with it. Sayin' if you guys weren't gonna give me a whippin' then she would.”
Liz helps David inside, setting him on the center island and looking for the first aid kit. When she pulled up his shirt, sure enough there were red streaks across his back. She tries to clean him up with as little pain at possible, before helping him down and telling him to join the kids in the play room. She hops up onto the island, and rubs her face. She seems to be doing that a lot lately. She also seems to be in the kitchen a lot too. With a great sigh, she stretches her arms above her head, thinking of today's events. Margaret's health, her talk with Jimmy about his demon named Zeke, Rebecca suddenly becoming violent...now that Liz thinks about it...wasn't Jimmy sitting on the center island earlier? He is about the same size as David, so he wouldn't be able to get up on it without help. Even she has to do a little hop to sit on it. So...how did he do it?