In celebration of the books finally finding their new homes, I have a bit of new writing to share. Ever wonder how Malkarai and Traphian met? Wonder no more! This is the youngest I’ve ever written these two. 🙂 Fun fact: Malkarai’s birthday is this November! Traphian was born in September of 2013, so he’s already nearly two.
“Heren! Could you come out here?”
The grizzled, scarred man stood up from his desk and came into the lobby outside of his office. There was a red-haired woman standing near the double entrance doors, holding a hand out in front of a fair-skinned blonde girl he’d never seen before to keep her from going farther into the room. The foreign girl was holding the hand of a black-haired toddler with a light brown skin tone.
“What is it, Penelope?” he asked, looking at the girl and the toddler. “Who is this?”
“I don’t know. She was down at the gate, asking if she could talk to someone.”
He walked up to them and asked, “How may I help you, miss? This is a private facility.”
She swallowed. “I know, I had heard that you take in orphans.”
Heren hesitated. “We do, yes.”
She looked down at the boy at her side. “I was hoping I could give him to you. He needs a safe place to stay.”
“We are not an orphanage, miss. We’re a government facility.”
“Could you help get him to an orphanage then? He needs a safe place to go.”
Heren looked at the boy until he looked back up at him. The boy’s eyes were completely black, from eyelid to eyelid. Heren’s brow knitted up slightly. “Are you abandoning him?” he asked her, looking her in the eyes.
She avoided his gaze and nodded. “I thought I could take care of him, but I can’t. My life is going a different direction and it’s better if he was taken in by someone else.”
“Is he your son?”
“Where did you get him?”
“I found him – but it’s not working. Please? Can you help him?”
Heren looked at Penelope briefly and nodded to the boy. “Could you take him, Penny? We’ll take him, miss. Could you please give me what information you have on him? What is his name?”
“Malkarai,” she replied as she let go of his hand.
“Do you know his last name?”
She shook her head slightly, avoiding eye contact.
Heren went to a side table in the lobby and picked up a pen and a clipboard. After flipping over the sheet of paper on it so a blank side was up, he handed the items to the girl. “Please write down everything you know about him. Name, any medical attention he’s received, age, where you found him, et cetera.”
She took the clipboard and shakily wrote several things down. “I-I never took him to the doctor.”
“How long have you had him?”
“How old is he?”
Penelope picked Malkarai up, looking at him. He looked back at her solemnly. “Malkarai? Is that your name?” she cooed.
He blinked and nodded slightly.
“That’s a very neat name.”
After the girl had handed the clipboard back to him, Heren put the board and the pen back on the table and put the paper in his pocket before motioning to the door. “Thank you. Let me escort you to the gate.”
The girl glanced at Malkarai briefly before turning to the door. “You’ll take care of him?”
“He’s in a government facility now. He’ll be taken care of.”
“Thank you,” she said softly.
Heren glanced at Penelope. “Take him to Mara. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
Penelope nodded and took Malkarai down a hallway.
“Here you go, here’s a window,” Mara, a middle-aged woman with her hair bobbed short, said as she handed a Lego window to a brown-haired boy.
He took the piece and then affixed it to a sizeable block house, his green eyes narrowed and solid brow knitted up in concentration. After putting a few more blocks on above the window, he picked up a car and tried to put it in through an opening, found it didn’t fit, and then pulled off one of the walls to make the building bigger.
Mara got up from the floor when there was a knock on the door. “Hello?” she said as she opened the door. “Oh, who is this?”
Penelope put the toddler down on the floor. “His name is Malkarai. Heren said to bring him here.”
Mara crouched down to Malkarai’s level. “Hello, Malkarai.”
He held up a hand and waved shyly.
“I’m Mara,” she said before motioning to the older boy sitting on the floor with the bricks, watching them now. “This is Traphian. Why don’t you go and play with him?”
Malkarai hesitated, but then went slowly over by Traphian, who watched him for a few moments before holding out the car he was trying to fit in the Lego building. “Want to play?”
Malkarai smiled faintly and took the car before sitting down.
Mara smiled and then stood up, looking at Penelope. “Where in the world did he come from?”
Penelope wagged a thumb over her shoulder. “This girl was down by the gate, said she wanted to give him up. Heren took him in. He’s escorting her down the drive.”
“Does he plan on keeping him?”
“I don’t know.”
“Is he wearing diapers?”
“Oh, uh, I don’t know. I couldn’t tell.”
“How old is he?”
“She said two.”
Mara went over by the boys and said, “Excuse me, dear,” before patting Malkarai on the butt. He gave her a quick glance, but then immediately went back to putting together Legos.
“Huh. Guess he’s already potty-trained. He must be an old two. But he’s so small…”
Penelope shrugged. “Traphian’s pretty big, I think.”
Mara looked past Penelope as Heren walked up. “Oh, there you are. Are we taking in another one, Heren?”
Heren leaned against the doorframe as Penelope stepped to the side of the door, inside the room. “I don’t know. He’s too young.”
“Traphian’s only two years older.”
“Traphian was a special case,” Heren said.
Hearing his name, Traphian was watching and listening to the adults.
“Yes, but it sounds like this boy’s a special one too. Why’d she bring him here?”
Heren hesitated. “She said it was because of his eyes. She didn’t think an orphanage would take him.”
Penelope made a face and Mara frowned. “Because of his eyes? Orphanages don’t discriminate like that. What’d she think they’d do, euthanize him? Children aren’t pets.”
He sighed. “Yes, well, people don’t just abandon children because their life is going another direction either.”
Penelope scoffed softly. “Yes, they do.”
Traphian looked at Malkarai, who was sitting quietly, building with the Legos and not looking at any of them. The younger boy was sitting near him, but still far away enough to be playing independently. Traphian looked up at the adults. “What about his eyes?”
Mara knelt down by him. “He’s a dark, dear.”
“His eyes are black instead of white.”
Traphian looked at Malkarai and then his brow knitted up. “So what?”
“So, some people don’t like it.”
“Well, they’re stupid,” he said firmly. Traphian stood up and looked at Heren, his brow still furrowed. “Keep him.”
Heren lifted an eyebrow, bemused. “’Keep him?’ Oh, you’re giving me orders now, short stuff?”
Traphian’s expression just got more resolute. “Yeah. Keep him. If people are gonna be mean and stupid to him outside, keep him. I’ll keep him.”
Heren snorted and Penelope snickered.
Traphian stomped a foot. “I’m serious! I’ll keep him.”
Malkarai looked up at Traphian and then to the adults, watching the exchange silently.
“He’s not a pet, dear,” Mara said. “Toddlers can be pretty silly, but he’s another little boy.”
“Good. He can be my little brother. I wanna keep him.”
Mara looked up at Heren, who was still looking in Traphian’s fiery eyes. “What do you think, Heren?”
“I’ll talk to the rep. It’s up to them. I’ll have to ask for more funding.”
“He’s out of diapers, if that helps.”
Heren snickered. “It does, yes. In the mean time, find some of Traphian’s old clothes and give him a bath before tonight. We’ll get him to the doctor for an examination as soon as we can.”
“I’ll let you know if he can stay as soon as I can talk with the rep,” Heren said, waving a hand over his shoulder dismissively as he headed down the hallway.
Traphian sighed, his brow still knitted up, before turning and sitting down by Malkarai, who handed him the car and then pushed his building up towards Traphian’s.
Traphian smiled and then put a few blocks and then a crow’s nest on top of Malkarai’s building before finding another car and giving that to him.
Mara glanced at Penelope, who shook her head with a smile as she turned to go. “Heren better talk fast.”
The next day, Mara opened the door to Traphian’s room when there was a knock on it. “Yes?” she asked.
“Hey,” Heren said. “I got the final word from the rep.”
“Oh? What’d he say?”
Traphian stood up from the edge of his bed and put an arm around Malkarai’s shoulders, pulling him to his side as he stared guardedly at Heren.
Heren smirked at Traphian’s actions and said, “Well, not that the miniature marauder over there seems to be giving us any choice, but he said all right.”
Mara sighed in relief. “Really?”
“Yeah. He wants to see if a dark is more successful if we have them from a young age.”
She frowned. “That’s his reasoning?”
Heren shrugged. “The rep always thinks from a business perspective. We’ll try and start his training when we start Traphian’s.”
“That’s next year.”
“We can start simple.”
“Does he talk?”
“I don’t know. He’s smart, but he’s really shy.”
“How do you know he’s smart if he hasn’t spoken?”
“His understanding. And if you watch the two of them play you can tell.”
“You think he was abused?”
She shook her head. “I doubt it. He’s little, but I think it’s genetic. The shuffling and abandonment is probably why he’s quiet.”
“All right. Well, I’ll check in again regularly. I’ll have someone bring another bed up for him. You can use the same card to get him his own clothing and bedding.”
Mara smiled. “Okay. Thanks.”
Heren just nodded before leaving.
Mara shut the door and turned to the boys. “Hear that? You get to stay with us, Malkarai.”
Malkarai looked up at her, and Traphian hugged him close to him, frowning. “I said I wasn’t gonna let them take him anyway.”
She laughed. “I know. We’ll go and get you some things tomorrow,” she said to Malkarai. “Do you mind sharing a room for a while, Traphian?”
“Not if it’s with my little brother.”