Chapter 5: First Contact – part 1
Ashlynn stood at the foot of her mother’s bed and grinned. Mummy lie on her back with one hand on her tummy, sound asleep. She barely stirred when Ashlynn climbed up beside her. The four year-old rested her head on Mummy’s “bump,” stifling a giggle when she felt her baby brother kick in response.
“Hi there, Little Prince,” Ashlynn whispered. That’s what Mummy called the unborn baby out loud. She knew that her mother was vacillating—that was the new word that she’d taught herself this week—between Jacob and Nicholas. Her daddy, whom Ashlynn was allowed to call Daddy only in private, didn’t care as long as Mummy listened to him and didn’t “jeopardize” the pregnancy. Mummy and Daddy argued about that a lot. Ashlynn didn’t understand why.
Daddy wasn’t married to Mummy and he wasn’t even her real Daddy. He took care of Ashlynn, and sometimes she thought that he might love her a little even though she knew that he would always love Triptych more. He wasn’t the father of her baby brother either, no matter what other people thought. Her parents never copulated (although the words she heard weren’t as nice and she had to look them up in the dictionary once she figured out to spell them) and didn’t even share a bed. Mummy said that the situation was “all about convenience.”
Adults, Ashlynn decided, were complicated.
Ashlynn closed her eyes and reached with her mind as Mummy had taught her. Before the Little Prince Mummy had taught her to not touch others’ minds, so her first attempts at the opposite had been clumsy and frustrating. She couldn’t feel her baby brother without Mummy’s help. That made Ashlynn mad.
Mummy promised that control would come with practice, so Ashlynn practiced a lot. When Mummy was asleep or distracted by her work, Ashlynn would slip up close and reach with her mind. She didn’t need her mother’s help to contact her baby brother anymore. It felt different, too. A special different, like there was no one else in the world other than Ashlynn and the Little Prince.
Ashlynn held back another giggle when she connected with the little baby. He was awake and alert and maybe it was just her imagination, but he seemed happy to feel her there. She let him know that she was happy, too. Now don’t wake up Mummy, Ashlynn thought as hard as she could. Mummy and Daddy—my daddy, not your daddy, I don’t know who your daddy is, I’m sorry—but Mummy and Daddy had a fight and she didn’t sleep a lot last night. She’s really tired today and cranky, too. So, if you don’t wake her up, I’ll tell you—
Something foreign brushed Ashlynn’s mind. She froze physically and psychically, torn between waking her mother and finding out what the something was.
It came again, sliding past her toward the baby. On instinct Ashlynn shoved around the something and wrapped her awareness around the Little Prince.
The something recoiled, radiating anger. Panicked, Ashlynn reached for Mummy.
The something was faster.