Gods and Monsters

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Teddi and her two friends were already changed and flying down the steps when Elizabeth Donovan emerged from the back of the house, wearing a frown. "What on earth is going on?"

Harper, who stood by the door, waved congenially. "Hello, Mrs. Donovan."

"Harper, dear, how is your mother?" Elizabeth said, feigning a polite air. Each girl knew she was more interested in what Teddi had to say than how Harper's mother was handling her migranes.

"She's fine. Teddi, I'll go and start the car."

When Harper was gone, Teddi's grandmother began tapping her foot and looking expectantly at her. "Theodora, I demand you tell me what is going on this instant."

"There isn't time for that. Is grandfather at the courthouse?"

"You know he is," she replied. "Now tell me what has you so frantic."

"I'm sorry, grandmother. I have to go."

"I'm sorry, Mrs. Donovan," said Laura as she followed Teddi quickly out of the house.

*~*

Hours later, Calvin watched the water drip from the sink in the corner of his cell. A semester of college under his belt, a raise and hefty tips to fill his pocket, all ruined by his unruly temper. But that Hugh Morgan had it coming to him. People like him were vile and judgmental and lived for no other reason than to put other people down. Calvin would never understand it.

The plopping sound the faucet made thundered at his temples, having grown louder at every passing second. Hugh had been released in the custody of Samantha as soon as he'd gotten there. She'd nearly talked Ben into pressing charges, but for some reason his old friend turned enemy refused.

"Okay Wynne," said the fat-faced officer who'd nearly thrown Calvin into his cell earlier, "follow me." The man opened Calvin's cell with a grumble and a shake of his head.

Calvin frowned. "Where are you taking me?"

"If I had it my way, up the river, but that's not what they want out there," he said, leading him through the station.

"Gee, thanks," Calvin muttered.

"In there," he pointed toward a corner office.

"What's in there?"

"Don't be an idiot. Just get in there," he said, pushing Calvin ahead.

Calvin narrowed his eyes as he backed into the doorway of the corner office and had a filthy reply ready at his lips until a sharp but familiar voice halted him.  He turned to find Miss Pinchley with the last person he wanted to see, Dr. Zeke Jessup. 

"You and Theodora Donovan have been very good at keeping your private lives private," said Miss Pinchley.  "When she wrote that story and helped my boys, I thought she handled it with utter charm and grace."

"Of course, she did. But I don't understand what that has to do with what's going on here."

"Calvin. They called me because they didn't know whom else to call."

"That makes sense, but what doesn't make sense is him," Calvin said, looking darkly at Doc Jessup. 

"Calvin, you're not a boy any more," said Doc Jessup.

"I can't, Miss Pinchley. You know I can't--"

Calvin fisted and unfisted his hands.  Images of his mother screaming wildly as Doc Jessup took her away the morning after his father had been shot flooded his mind. 

Jessup's face had been cold and expressionless.  Calvin ran away to his tree.   Riley stalked the woods for hours looking for him.  When Calvin returned the next morning, the doctor and Riley were there waiting. Riley told him he had to go live at the orphans home, and that he couldn't take care of him.  Calvin tore up the house, raging and breaking things.  Then he locked himself in his room where he found his grandfather's old white whittled goose. Carve Your Own Destiny.  He clutched the figure to his chest, sobbing through wretched hiccups when they finally beat the door in.  It took three months for Riley to write Calvin. By then, he'd stopped caring. By then, he wanted to forget.  But now, he could see in Doc Jessup's eyes that he was not going to get his wish.

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