I was an average child; nothing special, but still the apple of my mother’s eye. I suppose most children are, at that age. Until the ‘accident’, I remained highly sociable allowing my mother to flaunt me and pose me as she saw fit. It wasn’t that she was trying to prove she was better or that I was prettier—it was mostly the fact that my mother was told she couldn’t have children. When I came along it was only natural that she would be proud, though I’m still not sure if it was of her or me.
That all ended on the night before the New Year. My mind still has so much confusion from that night. I remember the screams. I remember the fire that broke out at the front door. I remember the…creature that took the lives of my family.
And I remember that I survived, unscathed.
The neighbors thought I was some kind of supernatural phantom child, refusing to come near me until authorities came the next morning. By then, I was tired, hungry and very much disheveled. I told no one what I remembered. At the time, I felt it was all a dream—a nightmare I could wish away if I denied it long enough.
That was when he appeared: a man claiming to be my uncle, though I had no knowledge of him. He explained that he and my father disagreed about his lifestyle and that he had been barred from my father’s home.
“Barred or no, I can’t leave my niece to face the world alone,” He said.
Apparently it was easy enough to confirm his identity; my father had inherited my grandfather’s land, and the neighbors all remembered my father’s younger brother.
“From here on,” My uncle said to me, “I’m going to be your guardian, got that?”
“You don’t have t’call me ‘daddy’ or none of the sort,” He amended quickly, “My name is Jasper, so just call me Uncle Jasper or something like.”
I nodded again.
“Yea, lass?” Jasper glanced down at me.
Tears welled up, “I miss mommy and daddy.”
He looked completely out of his element; flustered, he kneeled down next to me, “I…I miss them too, lass.”
My tears fell unheeded, “Why did they have to go to heaven?”
He looked flustered again, “I…cause heaven called them. You can’t rightly ignore it when it’s your time to go.”
I started crying harder before he finally pulled me into a hug, “There, there lass. You don’t understand it yet, but you and I, we’re going to stop things like this from happening ever again.”
He was right; I didn’t understand what he meant just then. I was too young and his job all but a mystery to me.
You can bet your knickers that I understand it now.