Chapter 2- Erica’s ruin
I glanced at my watch. It was slightly before midnight. I opened up the window, and allowed myself to face with the sharp wind outside, as I sneaked out of the mansion, touching the soil with my bare feet. I snatched a glance outside. Last time I had installed a connection between Erica and I, and with Joshua around I had not dared to do it, but…
“Come,” I whispered in a commanding word, and soon I heard a wail from the couch at the garden.
I bent, and smiled. Erica lay on the couch, now with longer hair and brighter eyes. She was a short girl, but about one year old, sitting down with a slouched back. I scooped her up, and she silenced, leaning against my back and starting to doze, sucking on her thumb.
I brought her to my room, and set her to sit on my bed.
“Grow. Grow. Grow.”
I placed my hand on her head, which glowed bluish red. She stilled, staring, and started to grow taller, her hair growing longer and more blond, her eyes slanting slightly, her waist getting narrower, and her arms and legs growing longer.
“What happened?” she muttered. “Oh, dad, it’s just you.”
Guilt stabbed me. I had made her grow, so that she would be sixteen years old, old enough to fight. I had done a terrible thing to my own daughter- to hurry her growth spurt so that she can be a fighter early!
Erica glanced at me like I was odd. “Dad? What’s wrong?”
She was so much like Nicole that I was so stumped, and half of me wanted to scream that it was my fault, but I buried my face in my hands, shaking my head and smiling and almost crying. “No, sweetheart, nothing is wrong.”
I had implanted a memory of her with our family just like any other girl would have. What would Nicole say?
What Nicole did was simple, when I told her about it. She shook me by the collar, while Erica tried to calm her down.
“What have you done to her?” screamed Nicole, her voice hoarse and shrill, a wild look in her eyes.
Andy was trying to calm her down, while Sally was pulling her from the side, pulling her shirt, tugging impatiently, while Clare and Bill just stood there with their arms crossed over their chests, staring at me like I was a crazy person.
“Hey, come on, mum, what’s going on?” demanded Erica in the too-much-Nicole-like-tone.
“Nothing, darling,” she sighed, letting go of me, and turning to Erica with a weak smile plastered on her face. “Now, go to bed, and I’ll talk with your dad.”
She glared, and I muttered a soft apology before trailing her into the room.
As soon as Nicole entered the room, she flopped onto the bed and started to cry her heart out, wailing. I clenched my jaws. There was nothing I could say- how lame was this situation? Would I say ‘Hey, Nikki, I’ll bring her back, so calm down, eh?’ There was no going back, and Erica would be a scapegoat from her infanthood, which suddenly skipped to adolescence.
“You know what?”
Nicole, with her eyes puffy and red, sat on the bed and started to click furiously on her laptop. Then she connected it to the printer, and printed something out, and thrust it to me. I got it, and my eyes scanned over it, my jaws touching the floor.