The snow fell lighter than it usually did. It was no longer trying to cause chaos for its own sadistic amusement, and instead was content with merely being another obstacle in someone’s life. The snow accepted being rolled over by the minivan, submitting to the windshield wipers instead of attacking them.
The man behind the wheel of the minivan drove in silence. The road he was on was the one on which he lost his son. Yet, it was as well the road where he was going to gain two children.
Orphanages were becoming rarer by the day, so it was uncommon to have one so close to town. The orphanage was on the left of the road, and its parking lot was barely full. The snow was light enough that the parking lines could still be seen. The man parked close to the entrance and walked in. The waiting room was empty and only a few minutes passed before he was called.
“Mr. Heisenberg?” A female voice called from the adjoining room, lightly and with a tinge of confusion, “They’re ready.”
Standing with the caseworker were the twins he had adopted, a girl and a boy, named after toys. He put on a warm smile when the twins were led in. A family of three was just what his empty house needed.
“Ann, Andy, you remember Mr. Heisenberg? Today’s the day he takes you home.” She let go of their hands. Both children had auburn hair, trimmed neatly to end right below their ears, tan skin that looked pale in direct light, and hazel eyes, though the boy wore an eye patch over the left one. They could not have been more than eight years old.
“Hey there,” He warmly said, squatting down to see Ann at eye level, “are you and Andy ready to go home?” She blinked at him.
“We can go home.” Ann responded. Heisenberg kept his smile as he stood up.
“Have a good life.” The female caseworker waved goodbye, a vague frown on her face. Heisenberg felt warm inside as he lifted new children into the minivan, instead of driving off alone. Ann crawled in without much help, but Andy accepted the assistance. Ann took off her shoes the moment the car started. Andy looked down and avoided eye contact. The minivan started down the road. Heisenberg’s grip tightened as he drove, but the tightness and the snow lessened as the car rolled into town. He almost turned on the radio to make the atmosphere more comfortable and drown out the silence, but Ann piped up.
“I can tell you things you haven’t told me yet.” Heisenberg smiled, deciding to humor her; he assumed she wanted to impress him.
“Your son had hazel eyes.” She told him, and he tensed up. He definitely had not told her that. Heisenberg didn’t notice Ann’s glance over to her brother; he was trying to think through the situation logically. He had hazel eyes, so she could have guessed from that. He wouldn’t have been surprised also if she had heard about his son through the orphanage, as the caseworkers were chatty. That all made sense and he tried to calm down.
“He’s buried at the cemetery a mile away from home.” Ann announced as well. She looked at her new father through the car mirror, expecting a confirmation of the two statements she made. He didn’t say anything, but noticed the look and nodded. Ann accepted this and started looking out her window.
Heisenberg told himself to calm down. Ann probably only assumed that, it being the only cemetery in town.
The car stayed silent until it pulled into the driveway. The house wasn’t very large – a simple two stories and a small yard in both front and back. It was big enough to raise a family in. Ann jumped out of the car without a care and began running in the yard, not bothering to put her shoes back on, or even wait for her brother to get out. She wanted to see the new house immediately. Heisenberg made sure to help Andy out of the car before looking for Ann.
Heisenberg went chasing after her and demanded that she put her shoes back on. Andy followed after them. Ann seemed especially fascinated by the backyard. Ann liked the feel of the snow under her feet, so she refused to put her shoes back on when asked. Instead she ran around the backyard some more, letting Heisenberg chase her. But soon enough the chase would stop.
“Please put your shoes back on,” Andy requested of her, holding out the shoes. It was the first time Heisenberg had heard him talk. Ann slid to a stop. She seemed to respect Andy’s request. Ann took the shoes from him and put them on, only to kick them off the moment she got into the house. Heisenberg shook his head a little and followed her in, with Andy right behind.
Heisenberg didn’t realize how late in the afternoon it was until he checked the clock. It was already a quarter past two. “Did the two of you have lunch already?” he asked his the children.
“No.” Ann answered distractedly, more focused on the upper floor than her new father figure.
“Do you want to eat now or later?” He questioned.
“Do you have any cereal?” Ann questioned back in a sing-song voice, twirling a little. “We could eat cereal and explore at the same time.” She went off to explore around the staircase. Heisenberg thought about her suggestion. It would be good for them to learn more about the house. He opened up one of the cabinets – finding only Raisin Bran.
“Do you like Raisin Bran?” Heisenberg turned to ask Andy. Andy just shrugged. He went off in the direction of his sister, as if her opinion worked as his own. Heisenberg decided to make the cereal anyway. Ann soon wandered up to him, presumably at her brother’s asking. Heisenberg didn’t bother asking if she liked Raisin Bran; he instead just handed her two bowls.
“Do you know why Andy wears that eye patch?” Ann suddenly asked, accepting the bowls. Heisenberg shook his head. “It’s because he doesn’t have an eye under there.” She told him without missing a beat. “It was the wrong color and he didn’t like it. So I ripped it out for him.” She turned and ran off at that statement.
Children say weird things all the time to get attention, Heisenberg reasoned to himself. Ann probably just wanted to freak him out a bit. That’s all. He made a mental note to himself to reschedule the doctor’s checkup a little sooner. And to ask Andy about his eye patch.
Andy eventually got tired of wandering around and sat down to eat his cereal. Ann ran up and down the staircase while shoving cereal in her mouth. Andy sat in a corner eating his cereal and watching her. Heisenberg sat down next to Andy, hoping to talk to him about his eye.
“That’s a nice patch you have there.” Heisenberg commented, and Andy instinctively covered it. “Why do you wear it?”
“It’s to hide nothing.” Andy replied bluntly.
“If it’s nothing, then why are you hiding it?” Heisenberg laughed a little.
“I’m hiding it because it’s nothing.” Andy got defensive. He turned his face away from his new father. Heisenberg noticed this and stopped laughing.
“You know, just because your sister says something doesn’t mean you have to go along with it.” Heisenberg assumed this one-eye gone story was what was going on between them. Andy stood up angrily.
“That’s not why!” He began to storm away. Heisenberg didn’t expect that reaction. Unsure of what to do, he called out Andy’s name. To his surprise, Andy stopped and turned to look back at him. Still unsure of what to do, Heisenberg just said the first thing he could think of.
“You know what? Just don’t worry about it. I wasn’t going to make you take it off or anything.” That didn’t fully quell Andy’s anger, but he seemed to appreciate the thought behind the statement. “Here, I’ll take your bowl.” Heisenberg took the bowl, and Andy gave him a very small smile. He smiled back and went to retrieve Ann’s bowl as well.
Ann continued to run between the staircase and the glass porch door. Eventually Ann paused, staring through the glass into the backyard and Heisenberg stopped to take her bowl. It wasn’t empty yet, so she finished it off and handed it to him. Heisenberg politely thanked her.
As he went to wash the bowls, Heisenberg realized that he had not yet eaten his own cereal. As he ate, Heisenberg began to think about things. Was it right of him to jump into a conversation like that so quickly, especially one that made his new son uncomfortable? Should he be concerned with what comes out of his new daughter’s mouth, or should it be chalked up to attention-seeking child ramblings? He let these thoughts and others consume his mind until he finished washing his bowl.
The new family ended up playing board games for the rest of night, only stopping for bedtime. At first they attempted to play Monopoly, but Ann lost interest when she wasn’t allowed to be the banker anymore. Sorry was the next game attempt, but Andy took it too literally. Finally they settled on Scrabble. Ann actually enjoyed the game and it was calm enough that Andy didn’t have to take it too seriously. This game went on for hours, with Heisenberg winning each round, much to Ann’s dismay, until the clock had reached 8 o’clock, the children’s bedtime.
The children had gotten their own room, somewhat. It was the guest room converted. The room only had one bed; however the twins were fine with sharing. Heisenberg gave a small thought to giving them the room at the end of the hallway. But no, that was Christopher’s room.
As with getting into the car, Ann crawled in without much help, but Andy accepted being tucked in. He snuggled into the pillow and tried to go right to asleep, and Ann appeared to do the same. Heisenberg smiled at the silence. He turned to leave, but Ann called out to him. He looked back at her, and she asked, “Did you adopt us to replace your old family?”
“Of course not,” Heisenberg said without thinking. He tried to put a warm smile on his face. “I thought it would be nice to make a family with someone who needed it.” Ann nodded at that statement and rolled over, a signal that he could leave. “Goodnight,” he said, leaving. The smile left his face once he got to his own room. True, he had adopted the twins because he was feeling lonely, but how would Ann know that? Was he not hiding it well? He tried to shake the thoughts out of his head. He needed sleep.
Ann looked up at the ceiling, then at her brother. “So I told him that I ripped out your eye.” Andy looked at her. She turned to look at the ceiling again. “He didn’t believe me.” She continued to look at the ceiling. After she heard Heisenberg’s door close, Ann sat up. “I’m going now,” she said. She was up and out of the bed before Andy could say anything. “You’ll agree with me, I promise,” she assured her brother as she scampered out of the room. Andy knew she was right.
Ann made it out of the house silently and started down the sidewalk, almost floating. The cemetery was only a mile away. The snow felt good against the tips of her toes. The mile went by quickly. The grave was easy to find. ‘Christopher Heisenberg’ the stone read. It was easy to dig up and rip apart with her claws, which she could easily transform from her fingers. She was careful not to rip it apart too much, for she had to rebury it, after the body was taken out. She opened up the boy’s eyelids to reveal hazel eyes, and then closed them again. Dragging the body weighed her down, so she felt the snow all over her toes instead of just the tips.
Heisenberg couldn’t sleep because he had a bad feeling. He decided to check on the children. Opening the door to their room, he was stunned to find that only Andy was there. Heisenberg looked over his shoulder at the bathroom – empty; he was worried now. Heisenberg shook Andy awake, “Where’s your sister?” he asked. Before Andy could answer, glass shattered downstairs. Heisenberg rushed towards the sound. Andy groggily sat up. He guessed it was time to agree with his sister. He followed his new father down the stairs.
Heisenberg couldn’t believe what he saw. His dead son, used as a battering ram to get through the glass door, was inside of his house. His new daughter, who suddenly had claws for fingers, leaned over him. She gestured her brother over, and he obeyed. Heisenberg rushed over to his son. He wanted to say something, but no words came. Ann was already explaining.
“To bring him back, we need a sacrifice.” She slashed her brother’s arm with her claws, and opened the dead child’s mouth. The blood fell into it, and the body began to jerk. Heisenberg gasped, and Ann removed Andy’s eye patch. Heisenberg didn’t notice this, as his son’s dead body was beginning to breath. The body looked around, confused. He saw Heisenberg and tried to make a sound, but he was hugged up to his father’s chest. Heisenberg did not understand how his son was alive, but right then he didn’t care. His son was alive and he started to cry joyfully. This reunion was destroyed suddenly when Ann repeated herself, pointing at Christopher. Heisenberg’s joy turned into confused terror, and he croaked out loud, “… Sacrifice?”
“Andy needs a new eye,” Ann clarified, pointing at the boy’s empty left eye socket. Heisenberg gasped, more frightened than before, holding his newly alive son even tighter.
“You don’t need him!” He cried out, fear and confusion filling his voice. He didn’t understand. “I have hazel eyes! Use my eye!” He didn’t understand. The child-demon shook her head.
“It has to be his. A sacrifice for a sacrifice.”
“Why didn’t you take it before you brought him back?” Heisenberg was crying again, now more in fear than confusion.
Ann frowned, “It’s not much of a sacrifice if the one making it doesn’t know they are. That defeats the point.”
Before Heisenberg could argue more, Christopher was yanked away from his arms and had one eye ripped out. Christopher scream of pain was quickly reduced to heavy breathing. Ann dropped something in the socket to dry up the blood and stop the pain – a creamy substance. He desperately looked around with his one eye. Heisenberg grabbed him again and began screaming apologizes. He wanted his son to live again, but not like this.
Ann finished placing the new eye into Andy’s socket, letting him get used to it. Ann smiled at Heisenberg. “Now everyone is happy. You have your son, and Andy has an eye.”