Sometimes, the pain becomes too
much to bear. Sometimes, we have to withdraw, worrying those
who love us. And sometimes, we get lost on the way.
My first Thunderbirds fic ever.
Thanks a bunch to quiller, for pointing out the various plot
holes and proofreading this thing.
Chapter One: The Shock
life, I have seen many deaths. It comes with International
Rescue; while we save many, we cannot save all. And thus, I
have seen dying women, men, and children. I've seen their
screaming faces, full of pain and exhaustion, and I've
experienced – more often than I'd like – how the light slowly
left their eyes.
always the worst when they are children. They are so young,
their whole life lies ahead of them…so many experiences, so
many memories…and they will never be able to live. And I can't
do anything but watch how the life leaves their eyes, how the
last flicker of innocence dies and leaves a hollow body
strangers, but they are strangers with a face.
lying in my arms was a stranger with a name, a history and a
personality. That makes it even harder.
know how long we've been trapped here. I don't know how long
the water has been dripping on me, mixing with the blood and
sweat. I don't know where the others are. I don't know
don't care. It's just not important anymore.
like kids. They are, in some ways, like me. They take life
easier than adults do. It saddens me that I don't have any
chance to play with children on Tracy Island. Maybe in the
future, when one of my brothers marries and has children of
his own. I would love to tease and hunt them, to teach them
how to swim and fool around…be normal for a chance.
now, I can't see anyone doing that. We're far too busy with
International Rescue. And who would want to burden a wife – a
family – with the fact that we might die every time we leave
for a rescue? It's difficult enough for us as it is.
we don't really meet many girls.
he's so cold. His little fingers, still grasped in my hand,
are stiff and numb.
warm a little while ago.
quite honest, I was surprised he even survived as long as he
did. With his injuries, that was a miracle in itself. When I
entered this part of the building, I didn't expect anyone to
be alive. I basically waded through the dead bodies – all of
them children, none older than eight. A school. A classroom.
will haunt me for years. Why did it have to be a school? Why
not some factory with only a couple of workers?
dead children, so many families broken up, so much despair.
their little faces, all around me, staring at me with
sightless eyes - eyes that will never shine again. Broken
limbs, torn bodies, blood, so much blood amidst the dirt…A sob
rises in my throat. So many. And I couldn't save them. I was
too late. When I reached them, they were already dead.
exception of him.
heard the coughing, I was sure I was dreaming. Surely nobody
could be alive. Not in this mess. Not in this destruction. Not
with the ceiling that had come down.
was. Against all odds, he had survived, and he looked at me
with awareness in his gaze.
"…International…Rescue?" he had asked, his voice rough from
the smoke and the dirt.
only nod. Relief seeped through my body – there was a
survivor, and where there was one, more could be found!
remembered the standard rescue protocol and quickly made my
way over to him, through the debris, careful not to step on
floated through the room, coming from my watch, but I ignored
it. I was focused solely on the boy.
there." I quickly examined him and felt my stomach drop as I
realized the extent of his injuries. Several broken ribs,
probably a pierced lung, judging from the sound of his
breathing. Burn marks on both his arms. A cut on his head,
bleeding severely. His right leg, smashed to pieces. Not only
broken. Smashed. I looked at it once and knew it couldn't be
It was a
miracle that he was alive – and conscious as well. Pain burned
in his eyes and I cringed inwardly. I couldn't do anything to
help. My small first aid kit didn't have the necessary items
to deal with this kind of injuries.
screamed for attention - I dimly recognized Scott, shouting
something. There was a touch of panic in his voice. I realized
that I should probably answer, but I couldn't. My mind was
filled with images of the dead children, and with the firm
resolution that this one wouldn't die.
stupid. I knew the risks. I knew his chances. And yet I put
them in some faraway corner of my mind. I didn't think.
your name?" I asked softly, gently stroking his forehead. A
massive boulder lay over his midsection. Without the proper
tools, I wouldn't be able to move it, and my heart sank even
He replied. My hand stopped in mid-air and trembled. He was
named after my younger brother – and that made it even more
think of it, he even looks a bit like Alan. His eyes have the
same shade of blue and the wide-eyed innocent look my baby
brother always wore as a child. Even nowadays, fully grown, he
gets that look sometimes, and it makes me want to protect that
expression at all cost. Even though he's hot-headed and
stubborn, he's got an infectious smile, our Alan, and our
lives would be much duller without him around.
hair – this Alan - is a bit darker, though, something I'm glad
for. I think I would have broken down if it had been blond
that's cool." I grinned at him, although he probably couldn't
see it in the darkness. "My brother is called Alan, too!"
His eyes tried to focus on me. "Is…he…with…IR…as…well?"
our youngest member! Hey, maybe one day you can be a member as
know why I said that. Maybe to cheer him up? It seemed to
work, his mouth curled upwards at the corners. But it broke my
heart inside, because I knew…knew that this kid would never,
ever be a member of International Rescue.
tried to get my attention again. This time I held up the
watch, only to get bits and pieces of a garbled message. "…get
out…there…. yourself…answer…god dammit!"
about two seconds to realize what he meant when the ground
began to shake. Everything turned and I saw the ceiling
crumble. Afterquake? Collapse of the building?
it was, I reacted instinctively and threw my body over Alan.
He screamed both in pain and fear. Boulders crashed on my back
and I bit on my tongue to stop from crying out. It hurt, but I
stopped, and we were alone again. The little light that had
shone through the opening had disappeared and it was totally
little whimpering sounds and I sighed in relief. He was still
going to be okay." I tried to call him down and grabbed for my
Base, can you hear me Scott?"
Thunderbird Five, are you there John?"
the moment I realized that I probably should have told them
where I was before communications broke down.
sniffling and my heart went out to him. I had to calm him
buddies are somewhere out there. They will rescue us!"
"I know. I
wish I could help you…" Despair washed over my soul. I fumbled
through my pockets until I found the small flashlight I always
carry with me on rescues. I switched it on and immediately our
surroundings were bathed in light.
thing I saw was the dead face of a girl laying a couple of
feet away from me. Her reddish curls were tied back in two
ribbon-decorated pigtails. She wore a yellow jumper with a big
heart on its front. But her eyes stared into nothingness and
blood had trickled out of her nose.
in my throat when I saw her midsection. She had been nearly
cut in half by a huge stone that must have crashed down on her
in the first earthquake. Blood coloured the floor in an angry
averted my gaze and focused on Alan. "Come on, kiddo. Tell me
a bit about yourself." I urged, desperate to distract him from
the depressing surroundings - and myself as well.
he did. In the hour that followed, he told me about his life,
his dog Chester - who was smart enough for two - his two older
sisters, who spent all their time giggling, his mother who
worked in a big company and hated carrots, and his father who
was a farmer and had built him a swing in the garden.
He told me
that he hates math, but likes English, because he can invent
stories and loves reading. He told me – full of pride – that
he won the story contest and received a bag of sweets. Then he
started to retell the story because I asked him to, but his
voice became weaker and he had difficulty breathing.
started telling things, because I didn't want him to think
about the pain and the fear. I told him about my brothers, and
about Alan, whom he resembles so much, and how Alan used to
tag behind me when we were little.
I told him
about our island and the colourful birds near the pool. I
described the Thunderbirds and what they could do.
the Mole. And he loved Thunderbird Four. I promised him to
take him on a tour under the sea, given we'd escape this
elated. I felt like crying. I knew that this boy would never
get the chance to see my ‘Bird.
time, I could sense the life fleeing from his body. I could
see how he struggled to stay awake. I could hear the rasping
sound in his chest, and when he finally started coughing up
blood, I knew that there was no hope left.
at me with his clear blue eyes, understanding dawning in them.
"I'm…g'ing…to…die…not?" he asked.
welled up in my eyes but I refused to let them fall. "I fear
so, yes. I'm…sorry."
do you say to a kid that's lying in your arms and dying? There
are no words to describe how I was feeling at that moment.
"I…don't…want…" he started and whimpered in fear.
It's okay." Carefully, I hugged him closer. "You see, it's not
that bad. You will just close your eyes and drift away. Maybe
you will meet some angels, who knows…they always say that good
people become angels, and I certainly think you qualify for
His eyes were half closed. "D'you…know…anyone?"
flared up in my chest and I had to wet my lips. "I knew…a
wonderful person. She died a long time ago…but if there are
angels…if angels exist…then I'm sure that she's among them.
Because she was gentle and kind and caring…"
my eyes. "My mother."
that, Alan." I smiled despite the fact that my heart was
breaking to pieces. "You do that. And remember to visit me
occasionally once you've got your wings."
"Then…I…can…see…your…'bird…" A smile flickered on his face and
he shuddered. I felt his body tense up in my arms and then all
energy seemed to drain away. His eyes glazed over and lost all
last shuddering breath, little Alan died in my arms.
know how much time passed since then. I have been sitting here
forever, cradling his cooling body in my arms. I'm surrounded
by dead children and sometimes I imagine I can hear them
whispering. They are telling me the stories of their lives,
their dreams, their hopes. That little boy in the corner, he
looks a lot like Virgil. Maybe he wants to be a musician once
he grew up. And the girl with the curly hair? She wants to be
a doctor and heal other people.
because she told me. She said that then she can heal all
people and make them better, and then her mother doesn't have
to cry anymore.
whisper and giggle and stare at me out of their sightless
I know I'm
losing it. It was too much, all at once. I can't deal with it.
I didn't want Alan to die. He didn't deserve to die. Up until
the last moment, he was fascinated by International Rescue, by
me, and yet I couldn't do anything to help him. I failed, but
he still admired me. Until the last second. Until his last
ago given up crying. I don't have any tears left. I just sit
here and stare. Try to ignore the voices.
whispering around me. Whispering me to join them, calling for
me, blaming me, screaming in pain, wanting their parents…
their pain, with a burning intensity I never though possible.
I love children. They tell me of their games, of their pets,
those jokes only children can laugh about, their favourite
movies, their dreams. So many dreams.
says that he wants to become an astronaut and walk on the
moon. The next wants to climb on trees for the rest of his
life. And the little boy there, yes, he wants to play the
saxophone, because his grandfather played it and he wants to
be as good as him.
dreams. So many broken pieces. And nobody there to pick them
never been one for philosophy – that's more John's area – but
now I find my thoughts flying away. I don't mind. As long as
it distracts me from reality, I don't mind. I don't want to
see the destruction around me. I don't want to hear their
voices. I want them to be alive. I want little Alan to be
alive and grow up like my brother. I want him to go home and
quarrel with his sisters and play with his dog and sit on the
swing on his dad's farm.
out there is a family who will cry bitterly tonight, because
there's nobody to fill the hole in their hearts.
get me out of here.
I stare at
Alan's face. Not even in death he looks peaceful. Lines of
pain destroy the look of innocence, and I know that he didn't
die an easy death.
tear my gaze away, even when I hear noises behind me. Probably
the other children, calling for me - again. Maybe their
ghosts, maybe they came back to haunt me because I couldn't
help them. Maybe they hate me. I wouldn't append them. I hate
myself right now.
wish I could give you your life back. I would gladly give
mine. I can't stand to see your eyes like that. I can't stand
the feeling of your dead body. Nonetheless I cradle you
closer. Your soul has left, but your body is still there.
I wonder –
are you flying away now? Did you get your wings? Are you in
some wonderful place right now and talking with your mother?
love to think so. It somehow makes reality a bit nicer. You
can keep my mother company and tell her your wonderful
stories. And she can sing you her song, like she sang to us
when we were little. I don't remember much of her, but I know
that her voice was beautiful. I can almost imagine her
comes closer and I hear indeed a voice, but it doesn't belong
to my mother. Someone is calling my name in a deep bass.
understand. There's no one here beside me and the children.
Just me, surrounded by ghosts.
of my mind registers soft words spoken behind me.
good, look at all this destruction…"
be the most disturbing thing I've ever seen, so many corpses…"
classroom must have been full of kids! Jesus, the poor
nobody alive in here…but…wait…look, over there!"
A beam of
light sweeps through the darkness and finds me. I blink. The
light of my torch had nearly died, so I'm not used to the
sudden brightness. It hurts my eyes. Instinctively, I draw
Alan's body closer to me. The ghosts won't get him. That I owe
him at least.
They call my name both in relief and concern. I ignore them. I
don't want to hear anything. They are ghosts.
places a hand on my shoulder. "Gordon…" He gasps when he sees
the corpse I'm cradling. They whisper something I don't
understand. I don't care. I can't leave Alan.
hands try to pry my fingers away. "Come on, he's dead, you
can't help him anymore…" The words are meant to be helping,
but instead they hurt like a knife. He's dead. I can't help
him. I couldn't help him. How useless. But I cannot let him
frustrated sigh escapes the person beside me as I cling to
Alan with all the power I've left – which is not much.
there's a second person at my side who holds my arms. Many
hands tug, until my fingers loosen and the body slips out of
my arms. My arms fall down weakly, hanging leadingly down by
sides. They can do what they want. I don't care anymore. It's
too late. You can't save him. Nobody can save him. He's dead.
Like all the others. Dead. Everybody. Even me.
it feels like it.
injured." Somebody murmurs by my side, but I ignore him. "And
in shock. Shit. How long has he been here?"
all the time we've been looking for him."
hours? Damn. It's like being imprisoned in a tomb! I can't
stand being here, and it has only been a couple of minutes!"
judging from the temperature of the body, the boy must have
been dead for some time. He…probably died in his arms."
beside me sucks in his breath and the grip on my arm
intensifies. "Shit, Gordon…I'm so sorry"
Meaningless phrases. Of course you're sorry. We're always
care. Just leave me in peace. I really, really don't care
anymore. I just want to close my eyes and drift away.
Gordon, let's get you out of here." The two ghosts lead me
away and I follow numbly.
machine rumbles. Vibrations course through my body. There's a
spot of dirt in the left corner, maybe an inch over the
ground. Very interesting. Of the many spots in my life, this
one must be the most…well…spottiest spot I've seen. I should
know; after all, I've been watching it for the last twenty
minutes or so.
very good spot, you see. Excellent camouflage. At first I
thought it was a spider. Really! But it gave itself away. It
didn't move. Or maybe it's one, maybe a hibernating spider? Do
that my mind is turning in circles and that, even worse, my
head is filled with rubbish. Come on, which sensible person
would think something like that?
But then again, I've never been really sensible to begin with.
I know why I keep concentrating on the spot. I don't want to
remember, that's the brutal reality. I don't want to see the
images, don't want to deal with them. Because it hurts.
silly thoughts doesn't hurt. My refuge. My rescue.
I'm glad that the others can't read my mind. They're still
there. Well, at least I think so. I haven't really paid
attention to them. I know that they are around, of course, but
that's all. I can hear them shuffling and doing, well,
whatever they're doing. Sometimes they're talking. Whispering.
. But I don't listen. If I listen, then I remember. I don't
want to remember…I don't want to see their faces…
I did. I failed. They're all dead, because of me. I should
have been faster, I should have done something, anything…if I
at least could have saved Alan…
now I can see them again, I don't want to see you, please go
away…The faces. So many of them.
girl, nearly cut in half. The boy near the door with the
horrible burns in his face. And Alan, dying right in my arms.
All their dreams. All their hopes. Vanished.
ghosts, whispering and laughing in my ears. I squeeze my eyes
shut. I don't want to hear them. Please, leave me in peace!
touches my arm and it stings. It tears me out of my reverie,
something I'm grateful for. With blank eyes, I stare at my
eyes and notice the blood. My blood? Alan's? I don't
know…don't care. Let it be mine; I deserve to be hurt.
they doing? Oh yes, I remember. Standard procedure. They're
cleaning the wounds with antiseptic.
bother with me. Really. You don't need to.
They are worried; I hear it in their voices. They are afraid –
because of me. Suddenly, I feel bad, but I can't bring myself
to speak. Maybe I should tell them about the spot in the
corner; maybe that'll cheer them up. But no sound comes over
my lips. Sorry, guys. No can do.
places a blanket around my shoulder and leads me to a
different part of the plane. Gentle hands press me down in a
seat and strap me in. "We're going home now, Gordy," a deep
voice rumbles close to my ear. "Don't worry, everything will
what are they thinking? Nothing is fine! Those kids are dead.
DEAD, do you hear? You damn liar! They're never going to laugh
again…their tears are dried forever, their dreams shattered!
What does it matter that I'm alive? They're dead! Dead!
I want to
scream, want to shout, want to run away, but everything stays
inside and instead, I see their faces, hear the voices,
giggling in my ears…whispering to me, telling their stories…
don't want to hear you! Go away! Leave me in peace! I'm only
imagining you! You're not REAL! You're dead, and nothing is
ever going to be fine again.
Gordon. You have to calm down.
only my imagination playing tricks on me. I've been on so many
rescues, seen so many deaths, it shouldn't affect me that
much. I should be used to it!
can you be used to death?
I try to
block them out, but they are still there, always, lingering at
the edges of my awareness, just waiting for a weak moment.
conversation around me continues and sometimes snippets enter
my brain, but they don't really make sense.
worried, that's not like him…"
shock, you know…"
been trapped with all those kids for hours, anybody would…."
think he's going to be okay?"
talking about me again. Probably believing that everything is
going to be fine. Hah. They don't know anything. What about
Alan? And his dog, Chester, he's going to sleep alone
tonight…and tomorrow…and the day after…
I want to scream, I want to cry, but somehow, I'm like dead
inside. As if a big black cloud has carried me away. I still
feel the pain, but I can't…do anything about it. Everything is
black. Hopeless. Drowning me, suffocating me.
I close my
eyes, but their faces are there. Blood. Destruction. Soulless
eyes. Broken bodies.
I want to
scream, but no sound escapes my lips.
I want to
cry, but my eyes stay dry.
I want to
run away, but I'm frozen on the spot.
paralyzed, I'm numb.
that's the word. Numb. I'm numb to the world around me. I'm
drifting, and the only things I hear and see are the children,
their ghosts walking through my soul and leaving their marks.
Their whispers in my ears, their stories, their dreams, and
Alan in front, his blue eyes shimmering with unshed tears.
Chapter Two: The Prison
nobody is talking to me, I drift in silence. The darkness has
enveloped me like a cloud and I feel almost content. As long
as I don't have to remember, I'm fine. I just ignore their
voices, then I don't have to feel anything. The numbness is
still there, but I don't care. Nothing is really important
won't let me.
to me, touch my arm; try to get me to look at them. Why can't
they understand? I can't respond, can't talk to you. I don't
care. Just leave me in peace, okay? Let me stare at my spot on
the wall and drift. I like drifting.
of the machine stops, and I know that we're there. Home. The
word has a foul taste to it.
never see his home again.
coming back again and I squeeze my eyes shut, willing the
images to disappear. Slowly, they crawl back into the depths
of my mind and I sigh relieved. They can stay there forever
for all I care. As long as I don't have to see them.
I want to
cry but I can't.
Gordon," somebody lifts me up until I'm standing. For the
first time, I look at the other person.
Virgil. The Virgil who reminds me of the little boy in the
corner. Or did the boy remind me of Virgil? Either way, it
doesn't matter. I see his face, but at the same time, I see
the blood, the dirt, the darkness. Things I don't want to see.
he sounds so helpless and I know that it's my fault. "Please
talk to me…you're making me worried."
voice floats through the air. I see a blonde head and blue
orbs – Alan – and close my eyes. I don't want to see him.
Memories of the rescue wash over me and I feel sick.
my arm, but I flinch away. No! Don't touch me! The last person
who touched me died in my arms…
they saying? They're talking about me, leading me out of
Thunderbird Two, but their voices just drift past me. I don't
want to concentrate. I don't want to listen. I just want to
curl up in a dark corner and never come out again.
are there, waiting. My father is there, looking worried. When
he sees me, he immediately engulfs me in a bear hug, but I
don't respond. I don't want to be comforted; I don't deserve
it. He lets go and says something, but my mind is far away.
They are standing around me and I can sense their frustration,
but…but it's not important.
someone takes my hand and leads me away.
like a little kid again.
brought me here after someone examined me and treated my
wounds properly. I must have fallen asleep during the process,
because I woke up here, all alone - something I'm glad for. It
gives me time to think about everything. The darkness is still
there, the numbness…I can't seem to focus, and every time I
lose my concentration, I can hear the whispering…
starting to realize that something is not right here. I
shouldn't be feeling so detached. Maybe it's some form of
shock. If yes, then it's a particular shock I've never
I look at
my hands. They are clean now, but still full of scratches and
the fingernails are broken. My vision flashes and I see my
hands tearing at the stones lying on Alan's body. A shiver
runs through my body.
don't want to remember.
around me is so cold. And dark. Reflecting what I'm feeling
whispers, their voices - Alan's above all, telling me his
story which won him the contest. An innocent story full of
laughter and giggles, and I can understand why he won. In a
world full of cruelty, it's nice to read a story with a happy
end. Because real life is not like that.
/ So tell
me," the fairy glowed a little brighter. "What is your deepest
dog looked at her with mournful eyes. "It's a silly wish."
are silly unless you think so. Now tell me. I'm not going to
laugh, I promise."
a moment of silence. And then, a bark, almost as soft as the
wind: "A family."/
run through my head like a mantra. Alan whispers and his voice
is so close, I can almost imagine his body…feel his flesh in
my hands, his blood on my skin…
But when I
open my eyes, I'm alone again and my hands are empty. Alan is
gone. The children are gone.
me to eat.
I stare at
the full plate in front of me and a nauseous feeling rises in
my stomach. I'm not hungry and the thought of food makes me
sick. But they plead to me, ask me to, going as far as to try
to force the food down my throat. I refuse and shake my head.
worried voices drift around me. Like yesterday, I can hear
snatches of the conversation.
to eat, he didn't eat anything yesterday either…" Scott,
always the mother-hen.
obviously doesn't want to." Virgil, always rationally.
Come on, take a bite!" Alan, as always, trying to take the
bull head on.
even shake my head, hoping that they will leave me be if I
ignore them long enough. Especially Alan. I can't look at him
right now; he reminds me so much of the lost life in the
want to be alone. Don't you realize this? You can't help me.
Only I can hear the voices. Only I can hear the whispers.
just a dog," the man said and walked away. "Animals don't feel
anything." The dog whined and didn't know what to do. Even
though he was an animal, at this very moment, he felt as if
his heart would break/
get the words out of my head.
life, I have seen many dead people. Some of them horribly
distorted; some of them haunt my dreams even now – but I dealt
with it. I cried, I had nightmares, I swam, I ran – whatever I
did, there was a way to live with it.
Why is it
so difficult this time? Why do I keep seeing them?
I went in
there, but I came too late. I couldn't protect them. They
fail? When I came, they were already dead.
tell me that it wasn't my fault. Wasn't it? Could I have done
Why do I
still feel guilty?
you stop talking to me? It's not going to be fine. Nothing is
fine! Stop lying to me. Please! Nothing will change, even when
I start talking. They are still dead – I'm not God, I can't
say the magic word and they'll be alive again!
family…they are so worried about me. One of them even
mentioned getting professional help – apparently, there's a
name for my kind of behaviour. Something-traumatic or another.
Whatever. Do what you want. I don't care.
against it. The risks are too high. Security, as always, is
the deciding factor. Great. Security won't bring those kids
back to life, either.
he argues, it's not even a day yet. Give him time, I heard him
say, family might be all he needs.
They don't know anything. They think it's easier for me when I
talk about it. But they don't understand. They don't know that
it's different from other times. In all my life, I've never
felt such numbness, such devastating blackness and loss. It
paralyzes every fibre of my being, freezes me in place and
makes me unable to communicate.
I want to reach out, but there's a wall.
drift. It's odd; it's almost as if I'm watching myself from
above. I can see my feet – they're walking – but I don't feel
it. I can watch myself wander around the house, sit somewhere
and stare, but, well, it's as if I'm outside my body.
weirdest feeling I ever encountered.
wherever I go, I'm always followed by their voices. It's like
a nightmare; childish voices, distorted almost beyond
recognition. I know that it's only in my mind, but that makes
it even scarier. Am I mad? Because those voices can't be real,
so I must be imagining them, and people who hear voices are
usually stir crazy.
I try to
ignore them, but they're always there. Whispering, taunting,
pleading, and above all of them, Alan – telling his story for
the umpteenth time.
it that I, just because I'm an animal," thought the little dog
sadly, "I'm not allowed to have feelings? Am I not as good as
the others?" He laid his head on his paws and whined softly.
Thick tears rolled down his furry cheeks. Just as he was about
to cry himself to sleep, a little light appeared above him,
voice chirped. "You look as if you might need some help." /
away from the house, somewhere where I can find peace and
solace. Their concerned gazes and whispers were starting to
annoy me, so I fled.
is the perfect place to be alone with my thoughts. Longingly,
I stare at the waves. The sun is setting – already? Another
day passed and I didn't even notice. It's as if I'm walking
through a dream; time and place are not important. The
sunlight glitters on the waves, panting bright patterns on the
water that dissolve immediately. A soft wind tussles through
whispers come closer.
with a tingling feeling all over my body. Deep inside, I've
been waiting for this too happen, knowing that this numbness
is too good to be true.
floating anymore; I can feel myself returning to my body. I
flex my arms, stare at my hands. Are those really my hands?
Full of cuts and bruises?
first time since the rescue I start to take in how I look. My
clothes are messy, my hair unkempt and my whole body covered
similar to waking up; I become more aware of my surroundings,
like the singing of the birds and the hoarse cries of the
gulls. The tingling creeps through my limbs, reaches my
fingers and toes. I can almost feel the soot and the dirt of
the rescue on me and I take a deep breath, trying to get the
stench of death out of my nose.
doesn't leave. The noise in my ears becomes louder and it
evolves from the sounds of the birds into words…words out of a
big and strong, I want to fly a Thunderbird as well…"
tear trickles down my face, but I don't wipe it away. It's
like a release, as the last bit of numbness leaves my body.
like a slap in the face, hot and burning. The numbness, the
drifting, it's all gone. All of sudden, reality slams back
into me with such a smacking force that I forget to breathe.
down on the sand and hug my knees, like I used to do when I
was younger. I don't know what happened to me, but now the
pain is there, raw and hot like a knife of burning steel. I
curl up in a ball, but the pain doesn't go away.
for you, Alan, and for those others kids. I'm crying because I
couldn't help you, because I saw you die, because you'll never
get the chance to fly a Thunderbird.
because I loved your story.
drifting any longer. I can feel the time, ticking away, with
every fibre of my body.
sinks lower and lower, until finally darkness settles over the
island, matching the darkness in my heart. Another day has
I wish I
could have known him better. He sounded like a nice kid, and
he was very brave.
start to walk back to the house. It's late and the others will
be worried. Now, that I'm more in tune with my surroundings, I
realize what I have been doing to them. I don't understand it,
really. I kind of withdrew in my shell. I didn't want to deal
with the pain…oh gosh, it still hurts, why does it hurt so
physical wounds, but even after my hydrofoil accident, I never
felt this bad. It's a pain that tears at your soul, and there
are no medications against those.
wrong with me? I don't know. Even now, I don't feel compelled
to talk. The pain, the despair, it's too intense to describe.
I was just drifting, like…like an astronaut in space. Is that
why John likes being an astronaut? Because nothing else
matters when you're drifting outside of time and space?
Suddenly, Scott appears in front of me, but I didn't even
notice him. I gaze up, startled, and stay silent.
brother smiles shakily; he's unsure, doesn't know how I'm
going to react. "Are you okay?"
say something – I know he's worried because I'm not talking –
but I'm too tired. Speaking takes effort, energy I don't have.
There's nothing to say, anything. Words are just empty when
they are used to describe feelings. So I only nod, briskly.
should come back now," he says softly. "It's getting late."
To the house, my home, my family, my room - my sanctuary. I
try to smile, but I fear I'm not making a good enough result –
Scott doesn't even seem to notice. Instead, he starts walking
back via the beach, looking over his shoulder to check if I‘m
talking, eh?" he already knows the answer, but he tries
anyway. That's Scott for you; never give up, despite how bad
the odds. "You know, you can't keep that up forever. It's not
good, and we're worried about you."
His eyes –
blue as well – seem to stare right through me. "We miss you,
Gordon; and we want to help you, but you keep shoving us away.
Please, don't do that."
pleading? That's a new one. I feel bad at the despair in his
voice, but I can't talk – it's like my lips are sealed shut.
And so we walk the rest of the way in silence.
you?" the little dog asked in wonder and stared at the light.
giggle flew through the room. "Can't you see that, silly? I'm
a fairy!" /
a subdued affair. I'm eating, but I'm not really hungry. But I
couldn't stand the fretful look on Grandma's face, so I took a
couple of bites. Amazingly what it takes to make my family
happy. As soon as they saw me eating, they started smiling.
Gee. Normally they complain because I eat too much.
the day, I never listened to their conversations, but now I
find myself understanding what they say. They are talking –
what else – about me.
him, Dad, we have to do something." Virgil argues, casting a
worried glance at me. "That's not like Gordon. He never, ever
behaved like that."
true!" Alan adds, nodding empathically. "Usually, Scott and
Virgil are the brooding ones, but never Gordon! When something
bothers him, he swims his laps in the pool – but he hasn't
even gone near the water since he got home!"
Father's face is taunt with worry. "I already asked Brains to
research the phenomena; he says it's a traumatic disorder that
can occur after a shocking and emotionally painful event. He's
going to look for different methods of healing."
to look at me. "Why aren't you talking to us, Gordon?" he
asks, his eyes wide and blue. "You could at least nod and
shake your head, try to communicate in some way! It's like a
living corpse is sitting…"
Dad cuts in sharply.
have laughed if the situation wasn't that pitiful. Of course,
that's so typical Alan. Open mouth, insert foot.
again, I try to say something, anything…but nothing happens.
I'm really beginning to worry now. Before I didn't want to
talk; but now, I want to, but I can't!
Might as well follow Alan's advice. Communicate non-verbally,
eh? Slowly, I stretch out my hand and touch Alan's elbow.
Immediately, his head darts around and he looks at me.
"Gordon?" he asks, incredulously, with a touch of hope in his
like to answer, to crack a joke, but I seem to be mute – so I
settle for smiling at him and shaking my head. I hope he
understands what I mean – I'm okay, and he doesn't need to
worry. At least for now. I don't want them to worry; I need to
deal with my own demons first.
that lightens Alan's face is definitely worth it. Suddenly,
he's beaming, and I'm reminded of the little kid he once was,
so excitable, so cheerful and full of spirit. I'm glad that he
hasn't lost those attributes; he can be a pain in the ass –
I'm the first one to admit that – and sometimes he's just
downright annoying, but he's still my little brother. And for
that, I love him.
weight that was settling over the table seems to lift somewhat
and I return happily to my dinner. I can even taste the food.
have come out, glittering in the dark blue night sky, so
is sleeping, but I snuck out of my room. Nightmares wouldn't
let me come to rest, the ghosts of the rescue haunting me
every time I close my eyes. After a glance at my watch – two
in the morning – I got up and, almost out of habit, grabbed my
standing in front of the pool, dressed in my Speedos,
wondering what the hell I'm doing here. The water seems to be
calling to me, luring me. Swimming has always been my refuge,
glide into the water and welcome the cold, wet feeling on my
skin. I need this. I start the first lap with breast stroke,
and then I change to crawl. It's soothing and soon I find
myself in the same trance that made me swim hundreds of laps
for practise when I was in the Olympic team. While the body is
working, my mind can float free and I feel totally at peace.
Breathe. Stroke. Stroke. Breathe. Stroke. Stroke. Breathe…
is calming. It's strange; all of sudden, I can think about
what happens. I remember the rescue, I remember the little
kids and it hurts.
I wish I could have saved you. You deserved a better life, you
deserved to be happy, but instead, you had to die…
Alan, I listened to your story and yet I couldn't do anything
to spare you the pain.
mind, they are talking to me. What did Alan say? Maybe he
became an angel…I'm not a religious person, not at all. But
somehow the idea that he might be somewhere else, with all the
other kids, in some eternal, happy place, makes it a little
much destruction. So much blood.
I feel something well up in my throat. I stop at the side of
the pool. Waters splashes on the ground as I lean on the side
and hide my head in my hands.
so sorry, I didn't want you to die, I tried to save you, but I
was too late, there was no chance left when I reached you…
It was an
earthquake, a frigging earthquake! Taking so many lives, so
much destruction, and I in-between…
fairy laughs it sounds like a bell…
wet is running down my cheek. I touch them gingerly. Tears? Am
I crying? I didn't notice. But yes, I am crying, the sobs
wracking my body. Gosh, I couldn't save them, and now their
ghosts are haunting me.
know how long I've been in the water and crying, but it seems
endless. The water splashes softly against my skin, the only
reminder that I'm still alive. I can't move, I'm caught in my
memories, torn between seeing the images of the past and
facing reality. I don't know what to do, I don't know what to
feel…I thought I was okay, but obviously I aren't. The pain,
the despair, the darkness, it all comes out, and I cry, cry
and sob until my eyes are red and swollen.
someone lays his hand on my shoulder and I'm caught totally
unaware. I flinch away, for the touch brings back unpleasant
memories and stare at the intruder. It's in the middle of the
night – everybody should be sleeping.
he is, kneeling on the floor and looking at me with concern in
his eyes. His hand on my shoulder is a warm and comforting
presence on my cold body, the only link to reality that stops
me from going stir crazy.
I open my
mouth, but once again, no sound comes out.
seem to mind. Instead, he pulls me closer and out of the water
as if I wasn't a full grown man myself. I don't struggle;
somehow, it feels good to be pulled up like this. As if a hand
was guiding me.
tell you that it's no good to keep everything bottled up?" his
deep voice rumbles and then he hugs me. I can't help it; I hug
him back, trying to disappear in the huge arms like I used to
do when I was little.
what kind of comforting influence my father has on me.
Suddenly, I feel safe and warm. But to my horror, the tears
start to surface again. I try to hold them back; I don't want
to cry, it's pathetic, and besides, I need to deal with it on
my own, like I always do…
you have to," Dad whispers, as if he has read my thoughts.
"Sometimes even the strongest of us have to break down. It's
okay; you're not the first one and you certainly won't be the
words, gently spoken and full of caring, are like a release. I
let everything go and drown myself in my sorrow, aware of the
strong arms around me, keeping me safe.
fairy?" the dog asked in wonder. "But I thought fairies don't
what everybody believes," she sang, her eyes sparkling. "But
we are as real as you. The thing is, most people can't see
his head and frowned. "Why not?"
pure of heart can see magic." /
again, I don't know how long I've been crying. When I finally
draw back, exhausted and ashamed, he just smiles at me.
still not trusting my voice to speak. There's a flicker
of…something in his eyes, and I fear that I disappointed him
again. Stupid me! Why am I not speaking? So I concentrate,
commanding my tongue to obey my orders.
manage to stutter and feel utterly appalled at the fact that I
can't even pronounce one word properly. "T-t-hank-k-s…"
that's better. You had me worried there – it's not like you to
withdraw." He ruffles my hair.
It's hard to talk, but I manage. I realize that I'm getting
cold. Even though we're on a tropical island, it can be quite
chilly at night, and I've been in the water for hours.
me shivering and pulls me up. "Come on, let's get you inside
room for any argument as he pulls me into the living room,
hands me a big towel and tells me to dry myself. Then he
disappears in the kitchen and starts working – on what, I
haven't got the slightest clue.
don't care. There's a warm, fuzzy feeling in my chest and I
intend to keep it there. So I sink back on the couch and rub
my freezing fingers and toes until they're finally warm again.
take long and he comes back, holding two steaming mugs and a
Does he expect that everything better just because of some
comfort food? That may have worked when I scraped a knee as a
kid, but now…? They're dead, and even the best cookies in the
world won't change that fact.
He sees my
wary gaze and smiles. "I thought we might as well be
comfortable," he explains and presses one of the mugs in my
fingers. "Because you're going to tell me everything."
Oh. Now I
understand. Tell him? About Alan? About the ghosts that are
spoken about my problems. I'm not like that; I find my escape
in humour, in tricks and pranks. But my humour has died and
left an empty shell behind. This time, my usual retreat
doesn't work, for there is nothing humorous in this situation
at all. I'm lost, I didn't know what to do, and that was why I
Remember all what happened, even the cruellest details? No. I
don't want to do that. Their images are haunting me as it is,
I don't want to add to that.
It's an order, plain and simple.
I stare at
my hands, seeing the blood on them – Alan's blood, my blood –
and close my eyes. "D-d-difficult…" I manage, my voice
is on my shoulder again. "But you have to talk about it, son.
It's destroying you from the inside, don't you see?"
I see it.
I know it. But that doesn't make it any easier.
n-name…was…Alan…" I begin and remember his sad little face.
"And he…loved writing…told me his story…"
Chapter Three: The
pure of heart can see magic.'
this story. I love the story little Alan told me before his
death. It holds a special place in my heart, and not only
because I heard it under such dramatic circumstances. No, the
story has its own appeal. It is…innocent. Untainted.
far too many tainted things in my life, and my innocence has
long been lost. Maybe that's why I like the story so much.
Maybe because it shows me some part of the world I no longer
belong to – the world of innocent, child-like laughter, of
dreams and laughing eyes, of wishes, magic and sparkles.
don't lead a bad life, I have seen a lot of bad things, and
those tend to leave scars. Every time a person dies in my
arms, a little part of my soul dies with them. Dad always
tells us not to attach ourselves, but he knows as well as the
rest of us that this is impossible. In order to save life, you
need to care; and if you care, you're going to get hurt. Way
of life, and we've all come to grips with it, sooner or later.
sometimes, sometimes something takes a big chunk out of your
soul and then you're left to pick up the pieces.
that's what happened to me. John told me it was because I
bottle things up; I'm the prankster and therefore not prone to
depression, but even I can't escape the despair that catches
up with you after an especially bad rescue. I don't explode
like Alan. I don't get into moods like Scott does. I don't
play the piano over and over again, until the rest of the
family is ready to kill me. And I don't hide behind my books.
nasty, witty pranks on the (more or less) unsuspecting members
of my family.
still a difficult thing. I don't know why, it's just that I
don't see the need for it. Dad says it's alright; I should
take my time, nobody is pressuring me.
they're worrying, and now that I've come back from the mental
plane I've been on over the last days, I notice the stares.
they were happy. I remember Sunday – the Sunday after my
conversation with Dad. I slept late and when I came down to
the kitchen, it was already time for lunch. I said ‘Good
Morning' – imagine, something as simple as that – and I swear,
my brothers jumped up and hugged me, smiling and laughing
happily all the way. It was then when I realized how much they
cared and how much my silence had bothered them. Of course, I
felt guilty. Who wouldn't? I tried to explain, but I was
lacking the words, so I gave up. They wouldn't understand
Dad understands, though. He watches me with this knowing look,
and I can't help feeling that he knows what I'm feeling,
because he felt it once himself, when Mom died.
brothers made a big deal of fussing over me – especially
Scott, he's extremely bad that way, like a mother hen – and
trying to get me to talk. I quickly got fed up by their
attitude and disappeared to my room. Even though I'm talking
doesn't mean that I'm completely back to normal. There are
still things I have to deal with.
ghosts, for example.
You see, I
can still see them. The kids, I mean. Sometimes, when I'm
lying awake at night, I can see them standing in my room, just
looking at me.
that I'm just imagining them – I'm not stupid, after all – and
I reckon that they'll disappear once I've managed to deal with
it all. After all, their ‘visits' become less and less.
told Dad, I need to deal this on my own. Use the old-fashioned
Gordon method of rock-hard determination. Or, as Scott likes
to call it, bloody damn stubbornness, excuse the swearing.
worrying them again, and I don't like that. I'm talking, but
I'm not talking much, and I haven't cracked a single joke yet.
So, of course, my stupid brothers are worried and they can't
keep nagging me about it.
the worst, because he seems to be able to see right through
me. When he came down from Thunderbird Five – saying he needed
to see me for himself – he came to me immediately. I was
shocked; Thunderbird Five on automatic? Just because of me? It
showed me once again how much my family was worrying about me.
I'm not talking, and it seems to be the end of the world, at
least for them.
said, John came down and we were lucky – no rescue calls
during that time. But he walked into my room and fixed me with
this intense gaze he sometimes gets, the one that seems to go
straight through your soul.
not okay." He then stated.
immediately. "I'm fine."
you're not.", his handsome face was calm and he seemed to read
me like an open book, whilst I was unable to detect what he
was thinking. "It's still bothering you."
shrugged, not knowing what to reply. He was right after all;
and I don't like to tell outright lies. Er, alright, let me
correct that. I don't like to tell outright serious lies. I
might be a prankster, but I'm not a fool.
John did his mind-reading trick again and drove me right in
the corner. Luckily, he seemed to realize that and smiled.
"I'm not going to ask about it, because I know you – you've
always handled your problems on your own, and that extremely
well. But always keep in mind where you can find help once it
gets too much."
and I realized once again what a wonderful family I have.
Really. They seem to know me better than I do – at least most
of the time. There are things that I prefer to keep for
myself, thank you very much.
anyway, as wonderful as they might be, they can go on my
nerves sometimes. Because they worry so much. Why can't they
stop worrying? I mean, Scott even came to my room and wanted
to talk to me! Can you imagine that? I just stared at him and
threw him out again. He said he's worried, that I haven't been
my usual self. Duh, as if I wouldn't know. Nobody would be his
usual self when he's seeing dead kids all over in his mind.
been tip-toeing around me all the time and nobody dares to
mention anything about the rescue.
to terms with it. Really, I am. I couldn't save them, I
realize that now. They were already dead when I came, and
Alan…well, Alan was doomed from the start. That doesn't lessen
the pain, but it lessens the guilt.
Gordon, what'cha doing?" It's Alan, sneaking up on me. Well,
not really sneaking, I just haven't been paying attention.
"Thinking." I reply curtly. I know that I've been avoiding my
younger brother like the plague. It's just that they look so
similar, and it hurts…but if I ever want to get over it, I
have to deal with that as well, so I smile shakily and force
myself to look at him.
concern shining in his eyes. "You okay?"
fine." My standard response over the last couple of days. I
should tattoo it on my forehead, might stop them from asking.
seem fine to me, Gordo." He says honestly and plops down
beside me. "I mean, you're so silent. It's weird."
lot on my mind."
He's silent for a while, which is something new – my little
brother is so full of energy that he rarely keeps still.
him die, didn't you?"
widen and I stare at him in shock. So much for my tip-toeing
around theory. But I shouldn't be surprised; Alan has always
been the brutally honest one in our family.
didn't you?" he presses on.
There's nothing else I can do, for my throat is suddenly
I close my
eyes. I can clearly see his face…his eyes, staring at me with
wonder and hope, a hope that wouldn't be fulfilled. I wonder
what Chester is doing. Would the dog miss him? Certainly.
"Yes." I finally croak. "He…talked to me."
I look at
my hands, searching for the appropriate words. "His name was
lips form an ‘Oh'. "Is that why you've been avoiding me?"
feel that he deserved more explanation. "He even looked like
you. And then he died."
really worried, you know."
at me and gnaws his lower lip. His gaze is calculating and I
can almost see the wheels turning in his mind. Then a
tentative smile lights his face. "It's alright.", he says
softly, and suddenly doesn't appear like the kid brother at
all. "Everyone needs some time to hide. Even you."
What does he mean? I'm confused and I say so.
searches for the right words. He's not a big talker, my little
brother, and he finds it difficult to voice his thoughts. "You
are strong, Gordon – have always been. We all have our ways of
dealing with tragedies. Scott broods. Virgil paints or plays
the piano. John gets all melancholy and hides in his room or
on Thunderbird Five. I…get angry. And you…you play pranks.
It's as if you decided to fight the pressure with laughter –
your barrier against tragedy is humour. But sometimes, our
methods to deal with tragedy aren't enough. Sometimes I'm so
angry that I might burst, but it doesn't help at all. Then I
need someone else to help me – Tin-Tin, or you, or even Scott
in his mother-hen fashion."
you trying to tell me?"
sighs. "I'm not very good at this, am I?"
I shake my
head, amused. It's heart-warming how my little brother, who
despises emotional talks, is trying to help me by doing
just…it's alright to hide for a bit. It's okay to cry. It's
alright to run away…if you come back, of course. And you
decided to come back, so…so you shouldn't feel guilty. It's
the way things are."
at me sincerely, my partner-in-crime, and there's so much
affection on his eyes, so much open love, that I can't help
feeling humbled. Gordon Tracy and humbled…that's a day to mark
in my calendar, mind you.
you." I whisper, and I mean it. "Thank you."
welcome." This brother of mine smiles shakily, unaware of what
he's just done to me. He lifted a weight off my shoulders, he
and the rest of my family. Suddenly, I feel as if I can do
this, and I know that things are going to improve from now on.
at night and I lie beside the pool, flat on my back, staring
at the star-lit sky. Tracy Villa is peaceful and serene. I can
hear the water of the pool, sloshing around my feet and moving
gently with the wind. It's so nice and peaceful that the
dangers of a rescue seem to come from a different planet. It's
impossible to believe that somewhere on this planet, people
are dying, children starving and catastrophes wreaking havoc.
Yet I know it's true, and it makes me appreciate this simple
beauty even more.
well. Soon, I'm to return to duty again, and then this peace
will be over, but for now I can….
The scream sounds almost girl-like and echoes through the
snap open and I turn around to see what's going on. Virgil has
appeared on the veranda, but obviously he hasn't been the one
screaming, since he's looking all confused. He hasn't seen me
yet, and I don't announce my presence.
He calls, having identified the screaming voice. "What's
TO KILL HIM!" The voice shouts in reply and draws nearer.
happened…." Virgil's voice trails off as he sees his brother
and he starts snickering. "Oh my."
Not Funny." Scott grinds out between gritted teeth and finally
steps into the light of the veranda.
bubbles inside me, when I see his face that doesn't have its
usual, tanned colour, but is spotted instead…green and purple.
can't contain his laughter. "Scott, you should see your
face…what the hell happened?"
seen my face, thank you very much, and I don't KNOW what
happened, because I simply washed my face…"
didn't! I tried again and again, but it only got worse!"
look at the soap?"
didn't…" Understanding glimmers in his eyes and he grimaces.
"That stupid brother of ours! He exchanged my soap for some
stupid joke soap! I swear, I'm going to kill him!"
is getting all red, which makes it even funnier, since the
colour clashes with the green and purple dots and smears.
like a Martian and I say so.
whirl around, finally spotting me at the pool. I smirk,
knowing that I've been caught. "The look suits you, dear
brother of mine." I call, standing up, ready to run. "I'm sure
it's going to be very impressive on the female population."
little…" He growls and runs down the steps of the veranda. "Of
all the stupid things to do…" He rushes towards me, and I
expect to be punched, thrown in the pool, attacked, anything –
but instead, I find myself engulfed in a bear hug.
expression on my face must have been hilarious, forcing Virgil
to laugh even louder, as he follows his brother.
glad to have you back, Gordon!" Scott whispers and draws back,
looking at me fondly. "For a while, we thought we had lost
We share a
moment of understanding. "Well, for a while I was lost," is my
noticed." Pain flickers through Scott's eyes. He hates it when
he can't help his brothers. It must have been hard on him,
seeing me withdrawing from everyone.
nods seriously. "A Gordon with no sense of humour is no real
Gordon. And – even though I know I'm going to regret it – I
missed your jokes. As silly as they are."
grin spreads over my face. "So that means that I can make up
for the lost time?"
little brother. I missed you, but I didn't miss you that
you have to survive your punishment first." Scott grins. "Or
did you think we'd let you off the hook?"
I look at
him and then at Virgil, both grinning madly. "Hey, two against
one is unfair!" I back away, looking for an escape route, but
they're crowding on me.
luck for you."
no such thing as fairness between siblings.", Virgil adds for
I see the
wicked gleam in their eyes. Before I even know what's
happening, they've got me between them. I yelp as they drag me
towards the pool, but against the two of them, I stand no
chance at all. There's the rushing of the air, as I'm suddenly
the good thing about living on a tropical island is that the
water is never cold. But I still don't like being thrown in
the pool with my clothes on.
and glare at the two laughing idiots. "You're going to regret
that!" I threaten.
think so," is Scott's amused reply.
stretches out his hand to help me out of the water. He should
know better than that, really. Before he knows what's
happening, I've pulled him in the water as well.
you right!" I cry and splash some water at him.
at me and then starts laughing. It's such a carefree laughter
that I can't help joining in. Laughing frees your soul, they
say, and I must admit, it is true. The worries, the concern,
the nightmares, they haven't gone away, but the burden is a
bit lighter to bear. And I know that, as long as I can still
laugh, everything is going to be okay. Because I'm not alone,
because I have my family, because life is good.
everything's going to be okay.
just a dog," the man said and walked away. "Animals don't feel
anything." The dog whined and didn't know what to do. Even
though he was an animal, right now, he felt as if his heart
"Why is it
that I'm not allowed to have feelings?" thought the little dog
sadly, "Just because I'm an animal? Am I not as good as the
others?" He laid his head on his paws and whined softly. Thick
tears rolled down his furry cheeks. Just as he was about to
cry himself to sleep, a little light appeared above him,
voice chirped. "You look as if you might need some help."
you?" the little dog asked surprised and stared at the light.
giggle flew through the room. "Can't you see that, silly? I'm
he couldn't believe his eyes. "But I thought fairies don't
what everybody believes," she sang, her eyes sparkling. "But
we are as real as you. The thing is, most people can't see
his head and frowned. "Why not?"
pure of heart can see magic."
not pure." The dog replied confused. "I'm just a dog."
shook her head. "There's no such thing as ‘just' a dog, or
‘just' a human. Don't you know that everybody is special? I'm
special. You're special. Even the cockroach over there is
special! What other people say doesn't matter. You're special,
and I'd say your heart is definitely pure, because you can see
really understand. The little dog had never been clever. He
couldn't read. He couldn't add, or divide, or multiply. He
didn't know any big words. But he was a gentle soul. He looked
around the dark alley in which he was stranded, the cardboard
box he was sleeping in.
me," the fairy glowed a little brighter. "What is your
at her with sad eyes. "It's silly."
are silly unless you think so. Now tell me. I'm not going to
laugh, I promise."
a moment of silence. And then, a bark, almost as soft as the
wind: "A family."
The fairy smiled mysteriously. "So, tell me, what is that, a
the dog looked up. "You don't know?"
there are different types of families. I wanted to know which
one you'd like."
and shivered. It was freezing cold and his wet fur didn't keep
him very warm. "A family is a place to belong. I'm not very
clever, but a family…well, they're like friends, only closer.
People who love you. People who share your pain, and your
happiness. People you can turn to. It's just…a family…a family
is home." His voice trailed off. "I'm sorry, I cannot
you explained it very nicely." She smiled and twinkled a
little more. "Now, are you ready for your wish to be granted?"
a fairy after all! It's our job!" She sparkled even brighter.
"Be prepared!" With those words, she began to glow, bathing
him in a warm, golden light. Fascinated, he couldn't tear his
gaze away, until he had to close his eyes, because the light
was too bright. When he opened them again, no one was there.
shadows crept back into the alley, leaving the little dog
alone and shivering. He still didn't understand what had
happened. Lying down again, he resigned himself to a long and
cold night in the abandoned alley, when suddenly he heard
look! There's a dog!" A child shouted excitedly.
"Oh my," a
deep, older voice answered. "He must have been abandoned. Look
at the poor thing! I bet he's cold."
we keep him? Please? Please?"
now, don't be impatient. We have to take him to a vet first,
and then we can see. We certainly can't leave him here like
hands slowly touched his fur and he closed his eyes, enjoying
the brief warmth of the touch. "Look, he's not wild at all!"
the child – a boy – said admiringly. "He seems nice."
certainly is." The deep voice chuckled. Someone wrapped him in
a blanket and then two strong arms lifted him up.
a name, doesn't he, Dad?"
shall call him Chester! And he's going to be my friend!"
dog smiled. He was home.