Author Note: This originally appeared in Cellar Stories, my now out-of-print collection of YA shorts.
May 17th, 2019
Hey. It’s my birthday, and amongst the new console and games, I got a journal. Lucky me, right?
I may not be the brightest bulb on the tree, but I’m not stupid. I know what’s going on. My mother gave me a smile and said that maybe I could keep a record of ‘the new adventure’.
Here’s the deal.
My parents were too young when they had me – I know this because they’ve told me so many times.
It’s not even true really – plenty of people have kids in their late teens, but I suppose it was a useful excuse for anything. Why I couldn’t have the Christmas presents all my mates got. Why we lived in a pokey council house. Why my Dad couldn’t hold down a job for more than six months.
“Oh, Harry – we had you too young.”
I don’t want to sound brattish. I just didn’t like the fact they blamed it all on me coming along.
Now it’s a different story, of course. I’m fifteen as of today (Yay. Happy Birthday to me), and they’re in their early thirties. And having a new baby. Clearly not ‘too young’ now. (Hey – jealous older sibling in waiting alert…ha ha.) It’s not just different because of the coming soon sprog which I’m actually okay about – even if it does mean I’ll be a weirdly older brother – I’m already picturing in ten years’ time when some kid on in the playground picks on my brother or sister, and I turn up as a 25-year-old to kick the crap out of some 12-year-old that could be amusing, right? No – there are more differences than that – and the new kid isn’t going to have to grow up in a box size house in the worst part of town. A £4.3 million lottery win a year and a half ago fixed that: enough to buy a new home, for my Dad to give up looking for work (no comment) and for Mum and him to decide they wanted another child. One that they could “do things right for this time.” Yep – they actually said that: not even like it slipped out. No offence was taken, folks!
Another thing I’m to blame for – apparently something ‘went wrong’ when my mother had me (Their entire life from the way they told it to me over the years haha.) They didn’t know this at the time because they never wanted another one. But when they won the lottery, they did and found they couldn’t. They went to some pretty fancy private doctors, and they all said it was a no-go.
But apparently, money can buy a lot.
After all the ‘normal’ clinics saying there was no chance they started looking at ones that were…’ less normal.’ They didn’t talk about this to me (of course not…why would they???), but I’ve learned to ‘overhear’ things. What I know is they spent a lot of money, had some dodgy phone calls they made sure I couldn’t listen in on and then went away for a ‘romantic anniversary’ weekend away. Yeah, right. All seriously mysterious and wherever they went, Mum came back pregnant, and I don’t think it was the romance that did it. (I’m talking *** TOP SECRET ***CHEMICAL EXPERIMENTAL STUFF*** in case that wasn’t clear…)
So here I am, fifteen today with a new games console and a bunch of games to get stuck into and I’ve filled three pages of a new journal writing (on paper –with a pen even!) about my weird life and weirder parents that no-one will ever read. I suppose it’s cheaper than therapy…
But here we are – a month to go. Baby’s room’s ready, Mum’s getting HUGE (and ratty when you mention it), Dad’s getting freaked out and I’m just waiting to see how much chaos all this has on my life…because of course, it’s all about me, baby.
I’ll write more tomorrow.
Okay, so I’m useless at routine. FIFA 2019 kind of took over for a while there. To be honest, I only remembered about this today when my mother offered me the gremlin up for me to hold (May as well write that here because apparently calling him that is NOT FUNNY!!! HIS NAME IS BOBBY!!! Jeez, take a chill pill already, Mum)
I held Cone-Head and Dad took a photo of us, and Mum told me this was ‘something to write about in the diary’. Aaaaand that’s when I remembered you, my all-but blank journal. (Diary sounds altogether too unicorn covered 12-year-old girl stuff).
I didn’t drop the baby. That’s something. It (Sorry – can’t say IT either – HE) didn’t grasp my finger or wet himself – just kind of stared at me with his bright blue eyes.
So, I have a baby brother. And if my parents expect me to be the official keeper of record of his life, they’ve got another thing coming…
Things are entirely settled down at home. Everything’s back to normal, and I barely notice the new arrival.
And if you believe that, I’ve also got a date with Carly Williams once my trial at Man City finishes…
How does a little thing take so much energy from everyone considering he does nothing but eat, toilet (Note – we’re all saying ‘toilet’ like it’s a verb now. Even my Dad said it when we were sitting watching TV the other night. “Can you pause the film, just need to toilet…?” He wasn’t even trying to be funny…), cry and stare at the world?
Anyway, baby bro seems healthy (his lungs certainly are) and alert. In fact – ‘alert’ is an understatement: the little guy stares at everyone and everything in a seriously intense way. It gets a bit freaky at times. Mum says I slept the whole time, but Bobby doesn’t seem too keen on that idea – he spends the entire time trying to fight it because he’s so nosy about what’s going on.
Are all babies this weird?
There’s something seriously messed up with my baby brother and not in a health way – I don’t mean that and would never tempt fate by writing it even as a joke, but Mum’s bought loads of books about child development (because apparently she didn’t remember having me) and has a long list of things a baby should be doing when they’re a month or two months old and all that. She and Dad got very excited when Bobby raised his head while he was lying on his stomach for the first time and bunched his little hands into fists. Apparently, that was ‘advanced’. That’s not the messed up bit – what is, is that he’s still staring in a majorly intense way – the books say he should be able to focus on things about 8-12 inches away. Yeah right – Bobby focuses on EVERYTHING – me walking around the room, Chewbarka (Yeah – I named him – and I think it’s an excellent name for a husky) when he’s running around the garden.
Me and Chewie seem to be Bobby’s favourites – and he makes these weird noises when he watches the mutt. I took a look at mum’s charts. They say Bobby should be able to make ‘oo’ and’ aa’ noises between 1 and 3 months. To hell with that – Bobby sounds like he’s going to say ‘Dog’ any day now. Yeah, I know – maybe it’s me that’s messed up.
Okay. I’m not messed up.
Baby Bobby said ‘Dog’ two days ago.
He’d been watching Chewbarka running around in his usual demented way for an hour. I mean proper watching. Moving his head watching, sitting up straighter (also not supposed to be able to do that but that’s NOTHING compared to this) when Chewie ran out of view, smiling and laughing and pointing and all that stuff. But when I opened the back door, and the mutt ran inside Bobby kind of looked down at him, and said “Dog.”
I freaked out and screamed for Mum and Dad, who were upstairs. They came running downstairs thinking something seriously wrong had happened and when I told them they laughed and said it was just a freak accident and I’d have to wait a year or so before that happened for real like I was some brain dead moron.
In movies, I know what would have happened – I would have tried to get Bobby to repeat it, and he’d have said nothing – I’ve seen it enough times. Not Bobby though. He glanced down at Chewbarka rolling around on the carpet said it again – a bit mushy with him not having teeth or anything, but definitely “Dog.”
Yeah – your turn to freak out Mum and Dad. Things have been a bit crazy since then, and I’ve only just found time to scribble this down. Better get back downstairs now and see if he’s reciting Shakespeare yet.
So I thought my parents freaked out last week? Well, that was nothing compared to today.
Because today Bobby looked down at Chewie and pointed right at him and said in his weird baby voice, “Chewbarka”.
Everything went insane – mum screamed, and Dad spat his coffee all over the place. Chewie backed away a step or two. Bobby just looked around at us, one at a time, as if to say, “What’s the big deal?” (He didn’t SAY that, but you get the point – by the time he reaches a month old I think he probably will.)
What the actual you know what is going on here?
Weirdness Alert now at Defcon 3.
So after last week, I wanted to phone the papers. World’s Cleverest Baby, and all that. Mum and Dad? DEFINITELY not in favour. They’ve been whispering to each other a lot. I haven’t heard exactly what they’ve been saying but guessed it wasn’t about our next holiday – a guess proven right when I listened to my father on his mobile. He was talking to someone from the clinic – what clinic? Well, I’m guessing the one they went to for their ‘romantic break’. I couldn’t tell exactly what he was saying but hearing words like ‘scared’, ‘freak’ and ‘drugs’ gives me the idea he wasn’t planning on a five-star Trip Advisor review on the place.
And Bobby? Well, another day, another party trick. There’s been no crying today. There HAS been a bit of pointing. To himself. Or, more accurately, to his mouth. Not random, baby shoving fingers in mouth to suck on. More of a ‘Hey mother of mine, I’m feeling a little bit hungry. Do you think you could rustle up something to eat?’ type pointing.
We had a visitor today.
‘Just one of Dad’s friends’ apparently. Yeah right. One of Dad’s friends who had a strong European accent and acted like he was a government spy who’d travelled a long way to be here.
For ‘a friend’, he didn’t seem too…friendly. More … clinical (Yeah, that’s a pun). He spent most of his time with Bobby and even though I’ve spent at least as much, if not more, time looking after baby bro, I wasn’t allowed anywhere near the room when Dad’s pal was here. He stayed about four hours, and when he left, he didn’t have the calm, Doctor like look on his face he’d had when he arrived. He looked freaked. I knew the look – Mum and Dad have had it for the last couple of weeks and –who am I kidding? I’ve had it every time I’ve looked in the mirror.
Me? I stayed upstairs, playing FIFA. And when I say ‘playing FIFA’ I mean I was on my laptop researching private clinics specialising in experimental antenatal procedures. I didn’t find anything, and I’m a lot better on Google than my parents so I don’t know how they did, but I have a feeling my parents did something shady to get the help they needed to bring little Bobby into this world.
Okay so there’s a ton I could and probably should write, but I’m not sure where to start.
I’ve been kept busy looking after Bobby.
Mum’s been tired and gets more freaked with every new word Bobby comes out with. And he’s been coming out with A LOT over the last few weeks.
First, there were words, and then there were little phrases. Some of them were a bit mushy mouth, but like I said earlier he probably doesn’t have all the fully developed bits yet BEING LESS THAN 3 MONTHS OLD!!! But he certainly knows what he’s saying.
There’ve been a ton of phone calls, and I’m guessing if I looked at my Dad’s call history, there’d be a lot of European phone numbers there.
Bobby and I have been watching a lot of TV. He’ll watch anything. And I mean proper watching – not like baby gazes. If I haven’t made that clear yet – my brother watches EVERYTHING. He likes to snuggle up against me – his tiny body on my chest while we watch together. He likes Nature programmes best. Not so bothered about cartoons. News programmes are fine. Documentaries of any sort seem okay.
Apart from the fact he started talking at a month old, he’s a pretty quiet baby. (Yeah right, Harry – quiet APART from stringing phrases together…I know, it sounds crazy, but he IS) He doesn’t cry much, and when he does, it seems to be frustration, not tantrums. Keep him fed when he points to his little mouth, change him occasionally when he taps my arm almost like he’s telling me he needs it, and let him fall asleep when he finally gives in to it (and the little goober still fights it as much as he can…), and he seems happy. The only time he’s not happy is if there’s something on TV he doesn’t like. I’m careful what animal programmes we watch: he’s not scared, I don’t think – he just doesn’t seem to particularly like the deaths on some of them. I KNOW that’s crazy l – I’ve looked it up and there’s no way he should be able to make out more than shapes; he certainly shouldn’t recognise a baby antelope being ripped to pieces in the circle of life…but he seems to.
Mum’s trying her best. Bobby will rest on her, holding her finger and making the occasional baby noises. But the weird thing is he never makes those sounds when it’s just him and me. I KNOW this sounds stupid but it’s like he does it because she expects it. If that’s the case, it’s working because Mum seems to fall for it, but honestly? I don’t think she’s comfortable about being with us. I’ve seen her taking pills a couple of times when she hasn’t realised I’m nearby. I’m guessing, but I think Dad’s ‘friend’ brought them with him.
Mum and Dad try to play with Bobby – doing the ‘normal’ sort of baby stuff like taking one of his little cuddly toys (which he has zero interest in when he’s with me), and playing ‘peekaboo’ with him but they gave up when he ‘guessed’ right every time they’d say “Where’s Mr Bunny?” and hide it behind their back. Me? I’m thinking of taking baby ‘bro to where that con-man in town does the Find the Lady card trick because I reckon seeing how Bobby knew where Mr Bunny was every time we could clean up. Anyway, add it to the freakout list which is getting longer by the day. After a while they just sort of handed him back to me and went to make dinner together (because they’ve always done that and it’s not suspicious AT ALL, duh.) Bobby smiled at me with, what I have to admit is a cute little smile as if to say, “Right, can we get back to Blue Planet?”
We had an argument today – I’ve hardly ever rowed with my parents in my life, but this was not a good one, and things have definitely changed for good now.
Bobby and I were watching TV as per. He’d been a bit grizzly earlier- muttering to himself as he’d tried to rise from the sitting position he’s mastered. (Online research: average baby walks between 9 and 12 months. Obviously, a 3-month-old can’t walk because their legs aren’t developed and their motor skills are still pretty much nothing. But Bobby clearly hasn’t read those ‘rules’ because he just got really red in the face as he tried to get himself up. TBH it looked to me like he was angry at his body for not being doing what he wanted it to.) So we’re watching the 24-hour news channel because Bobby’s tuckered himself out in the Olympics preparation stakes and is in his usual lying position on me. My mother and father were going in and out, doing whatever it was they spend so much time doing these days – mainly phone calls.
Bobby was talking to me – single words and short phrases, describing what he was seeing on the 72′ screen in front of us (and being absolutely right in recognising everything; train, hospital, policeman – I’m serious). Occasionally, he’d ask “Why?” at something, and I’d answer him – just for the sake of him hearing my voice but then I realised he never asked ‘Why?’ when our parents were in the room. Mum had popped in, pinching his cheek and laughing (not forced AT ALL mum…) at his giggles (even MORE FORCED baby bro? That’s what it seemed like to me…I swear). When she left again, I turned Bobby on my chest, so he was looking up at me.
“Bobby?” I said in my best sing-song talking to baby voice, “How come you don’t ask me WHY when Mum and Dad are in the room?”
Now OBVIOUSLY I’d said it as a joke. So I was a bit surprised when he glanced across at the door as if to make sure it was shut and then looked back to me and said in that baby voice. “It’s easier.”
And when I say ‘kind of surprised’ what I mean is I seriously thought my heart was going to stop. My brain certainly did. And Bobby just gave me a little smile and turned back round to the television and didn’t say anything else.
So here’s the scene – and even as I’m writing this my hands are shaking so much I probably won’t be able to make it out later – not that that matters – it’s not like I’m ever going to forget it.
We were watching the news – me still just sitting there stunned from what had happened and suddenly Bobby starts screaming. His body goes rigid against me, and he cried like he was going to bring the house down. I seriously don’t know how so much noise came from such a tiny pair of lungs. Mum came running in from the kitchen, grabbing Bobby from my chest as if she could soothe him better than me, Dad running behind asking what’s wrong, what happened and I shrugged, no clue what’s happening.
“Man. Dead. Blood…” Bobby screamed, the words mushy and babyish, but way clear enough to understand.
Then – right there on the TV the politician giving a speech to the gathered crowd suddenly collapsed, a massive fountain of blood erupting from where he stood. The crowd went mad, and the camera jerked over in the stampede, and the screen cuts to one of those ‘temporary fault’ screens.
My mother went mad, asking what the hell I was showing him stuff like that for, and I just stared. My mouth had stopped working again like it had ten minutes ago when Bobby had answered me. It was my father who twigged and touched my mother’s arm, saying her name again and again when she didn’t stop shouting at me. My father, who said, his voice shaking, that what we’d just seen on the TV had been broadcast live.
So it turns out now my little brother can see into the future.
And my mother’s acting like it’s MY fault???
Things are pretty mad full stop – and I don’t just mean in our house. If anyone gets to read this in the future maybe, it means the world wasn’t destroyed by that moment, but when you get one of the most prominent politicians in the world assassinated live on TV, it has an effect. The news people are talking about potential war breaking out: no-one’s admitting who did it, but everyone’s talking about ‘extremist threats’ and ‘counteraction’.
Bobby’s been crying pretty much since it happened – he hasn’t spoken a single word since. He cries and grizzles and thrashes when we lay him down until he eventually passes out exhausted.
It’s a pretty crazy world at the moment, and no-one seems to understand what’s going on.
With those two words, everything changed again.
I said no-one understood? I was wrong – my almost-four-month-old brother does.
He told me this morning when I was changing his nappy – my mother finally allowing me to spend time alone with him again. Don’t get me started on that. There are more important things.
Bobby told me ‘he understood’. I didn’t have to ask what. I knew. He’d stopped crying. It was as if during the night; sleeping whatever weird sleep he has, he just put the pieces together.
The problem is he hasn’t got the words to explain it. If he had, I’m guessing he could tell all those experts guessing who really killed that politician. (YES, I know that sounds insane, thank you for asking)
Mum is having a breakdown. That’s not me dramatic. I can tell just by looking at her. My Dad doesn’t seem far behind her. His phone rang non-stop for weeks. A day after the thing on television it stopped, and by the look of him, he thinks that’s worse.
Something happened today that’s, oh…I don’t’ know… probably worth mentioning.
Bobby spent the afternoon trying to crawl. Yes – blah blah. Too young. Six months etc. If I haven’t explained it yet, ‘normal’ is not in play around here.
By his own standards, I’d say Bobby has been a bit slow. After a couple of hours of frustrated grunting and groaning, Bobby managed to crawl a few feet. His little face was turning purple with strain, and if my mother hadn’t been lying down to rest upstairs; she’d probably have tried to stop him. If she had maybe the pictures wouldn’t have fallen off the wall: their wedding picture, my baby photos, the one of me holding Bobby a month ago.
But here’s the thing – they didn’t ‘fall’. Those suckers jumped like someone had given them a monster shove that knocked them three feet from their hanging place.
Bobby, all concentration on his crawling, didn’t seem to notice.
So I’m adding Psychokinesis or Telekinesis to my own list of ‘What Baby Can Do’. I don’t quite get the difference: I just know it means he can move stuff with that weird mind of his and that THAT little skill isn’t ANYWHERE on Mum’s ‘progress chart’.
Good job I don’t suffer from sibling rivalry isn’t it?
Bobby found it this afternoon.
He’d spent the morning crawling: not as much as he wants to – I can see that, but presumably as much as his biology and physics and stuff let him. Even so, around three this afternoon he pulled himself up onto the side table by the sofa where I was sitting and pulled one of the little drawers under it so hard it came flying out, him falling backwards with it. I didn’t have time to react. Not until the drawer went flying and Bobby fell back onto his little arm. I heard the crack even over the crash of the drawer landing. I scooped Bobby up as my father burst into the room – if it had been my mother, she might have noticed the angle Bobby’s arm was hanging at as he bundled himself into my chest. I don’t know why I draped my loose hanging shirt over him.
No – that’s not true, and if I’m writing this down, I need to at least be honest with myself.
There was a blip of light in my head – not words exactly, but something that told me to do it. And in that blip, I knew it was no coincidence or accident that Bobby had pulled the drawer out. He’d done it because he’d known what was in there. My father was staring – not at Bobby, who was crying but not ‘broken arm levels of crying’ (I broke mine when I was eight and howled like a banshee). No, my father was entirely focused on the box now visible stuck inside the drawer lying on the floor.
All three of us in the room knew what it was.
Only one of us had somehow known it was there.
Dad went VERY white. Ash grey would be closer Then he swore. A lot. Then he went into a kind of madness. He ran upstairs, to where my mother was sleeping.
I sat down as gently as I could with Bobby in my arms, trying not to move him any more than I had to, as I looked at his arm to see if it was as bad as I thought it was. He was crying – but gently. Impossible as it is to say for a three-month-old baby with what looked like a broken arm, he seemed…calm.
“I sleep now.” He said, “You Pack. Leave.”
Am I a monster for putting my broken-armed baby brother down on the sofa alone and going off to my bedroom to throw clothes into a rucksack? Because that’s what I did. But the honest truth is I only remember this now. Five hours later. As I write this in the back of Dad’s car as we escape into the night, Dad driving, Mum asleep in the passenger seat as she has been since Dad carried her out to the car, leaving me to put Bobby, also in a deep, deep sleep into his baby seat and Chewbarka into the back – Chewie who would generally go crazy thinking it was ‘walk time’ but just trotted out and hopped in. Looming over Bobby in his baby seat like some doggy defender.
We’re escaping from whoever Dad thinks is coming to the house. I’m guessing they’ve realised they’ve created something powerful. Something they want. And they’ve decided to come for him.
But they don’t know everything: I don’t think they know the half of it. They don’t know, for example, that my baby brother’s arm isn’t broken any more. Even if they’d watched it repair itself, little movements under the skin as things knotted themselves back together as he slept, as I did half an hour earlier, I’m not sure they’d believe it.
They don’t know something compelled me to pack, something that knew there was a danger.
They don’t know something seems to have changed my pet dog that I’ve spent a year unsuccessfully trying to teach to ‘sit’ and ‘beg’ into a trained protection machine.
There’s a lot they don’t know.
So little time to write, so much to write about.
I’ll keep this short.
We drove nearly 24 hours straight. I told my father to throw his mobile phone from the car window into the back of the track passing the other way to stop anyone tracking us. I don’t know why I thought of that, but he did.
We arrived at the cabin early in the morning. Hungry baby. Crazy mother. Tired Dad nodding off at the wheel a few times. Dog’s body language suggesting he’d rip the face off any stranger who came near his little friend…
I’d been to the cabin once before when I was about 10: the only holiday we could afford because my parents’ had me too young’. I’d hated it because it was in a forest miles from civilisation and there was no internet. So all the reasons why we’d come here now.
Bobby was fine at first – his arm was healed as if it had never happened, but I knew it had. I’d heard it.
Mum, when she finally woke, wasn’t great but once the pills wore off managed to pull herself together enough to look after Bobby a bit. My Dad went for supplies, and when he came back, he looked even more worried than he had when he’d left. I don’t know what he heard or saw when he was out there and didn’t bother asking. He wouldn’t tell me. But Bobby would.
It was on the second day Bobby started to get sick. I thought it must be his arm and was about to tell Mum and Dad what had happened when that mind blip lit up again. Not just a blip now though – there were words: Bobby’s words and clearer than when they had to come from his baby’s mouth.
“Say nothing, Harry… I need… to … think….”
So my brother is definitely telepathic as well as everything else. And somehow I wasn’t even that surprised. What I was, was worried – as Bobby got weaker throughout the day, and his eyes flickering behind his closed lids and his face twisted in pain. My mother started to really lose it then: screaming at my father and me that we had to take him to hospital. As they argued about what to do and where to take him another blip flashed in my head. Short. Simple. Determined.
Eventually, I managed to persuade them to wait. To see how Bobby was the next day. My mother was still insisting we had to go NOW as she gulped down her tea – the only thing we’d been able to get her to eat or drink. She ranted right up to the point she fell asleep. I pretended I hadn’t seen my father slip the pill into her drink. The same way I pretended I was looking for a lighter in his bag to start the cabin’s candles but really took one of those same pills and crushed it into hot chocolate I made while he was fussing over my mother. I’ll be kind and say it was his exhaustion that meant he fell for precisely the same trick he’d played in my mother minutes ago, but I’m not sure. I think it was a sub or semi-conscious excuse to avoid making decisions. Whatever, he let me stagger him to the bed next to my Mum moments before he passed out, both of them snoring softly.
Bobby was lying on the small bed in the corner of the room. When I sat on it and looked at him, he opened his eyes – the blueness of them so bright now they didn’t look normal. When he spoke, it was directly into my mind.
“I know what I have to do.”
I asked him what he meant, me having to verbalise it but speaking quietly.
This body is not strong enough.
I started to tell him he’d grow – get bigger…but he smiled his baby’s smile even while the voice in my mind spoke.
This will be the hardest part. For me. For them. And for you. Are you strong enough?
My nose started bleeding. Probably because I don’t have Bobby’s brain size to cope with what he was doing. It didn’t hurt, but it was tiring. I nodded.
So now I’m sitting writing this with my Mother and Father in a drug-induced sleep next to me. My four-month-old baby brother is sleeping alone in the bedroom next door. There is a large husky dog who is sitting on guard outside of his closed door. My dog. Who I raised from a puppy but who, if I was to try to get in that door would, I think, not let me.
I’m seriously tired now. I really don’t want to know what ‘the hardest part’ meant. But I’m going to have to stop writing now before my eyes close completely.
This is the first time I’ve had a chance to write since the hard part.
And it was hard – harder than I could have dreamed.
Mum’s screams woke Dad and me, and we tried to calm her, but she was already pulling at the bedroom door, screaming for Bobby.
Chewbarka moved away from his sentry’s position, no longer apparently needing to guard the door that we pushed open.
I can’t know what my mother thought she was looking at in there because she never spoke again. All I hope is that in her last moment of sanity she didn’t believe it had harmed Bobby.
The thing was a mass of greyish tissue, veins and skin, lying like a half-deflated basketball. It had what might one day become arms but were now just nubs sticking from that wet, gloopy mass. Arms hadn’t been its priority. Because mostly it was head: a big, pulsing cranium, all the better to hold that vast brain in. Its ‘face’, if you could call it that, had a small, puckered hole below what looked like gills – presumably more effective to breathe. Its eyes, beautiful blue were the only thing I recognised of Bobby, and looked at the four of us, blinking sideways as they focused. The forehead of that big, wet skull pulsed, a strong vein underneath it sending who-knew-what signals to that brain and when it spoke, its voice was wet, the organs inside presumably still forming.
“This is better for what I need…” and then it held those little nubbin arms out, like a baby asking for a cuddle.
My mother fainted dead away. My father stared in horror at the thing in front of him, unable to move. Chewbarka sniffed at the air and, apparently content with proceedings, trotted away from the room.
So it was me who picked it up, feeling it press against my bare chest as it nestled in for comfort and in my head, is voice clear in my senses, was effortlessly communicating now.
It’s been five days since the change.
Three days ago Bobby told me our parents were dead.
My father took my mother’s unconscious body and headed for the nearest hospital. We told him not to, but he didn’t stop- he couldn’t even look at us.
I know he could have stopped him, but Bobby let him go.
We waited until night and then left the cabin, Bobby clamped to my chest under the thick winter jacket I pulled tight and Chewie trotting alongside us – never venturing too far away.
Bobby told me where to go, and we rested in an empty cabin five miles deeper into the forest. Bobby grew stronger and as he did, so did I – him feeding off my body but feeding me back through his thoughts.
They tracked down my father and mother at the hospital. Bobby’ saw it’ and showed me what happened in my mind.
It was tough to see.
Bobby says they’re looking for us now.
It doesn’t matter.
Bobby says that in one more day he’ll be strong enough for them to be powerless and I can feel it’s true.
If they’re stupid enough to come for us, they won’t live to regret it – Bobby has come a long way from making pictures fall of a wall.
We’re travelling now: the three of us, making our way to a small European country. I don’t know how we’ll get a half-wolf across the borders, but Bobby does. There’s a little town there, and twenty miles from the town is a minuscule village. Close to that village is a hidden clinic. Only a handful of people know it is there. Bobby knows.
We’re going to visit an old friend of my father’s.
We’re going to carry out some experiments my brother Bobby has some rather brilliant ideas about.
And I’m going to record them all in my journal.