Previously, in The Earth’s End:
It’s 2062 and Malcolm and his family live on Mars. On the night before his twelfth birthday, he asks his father to finally tell him the story as to how they had to leave Earth and build a life on Mars.
Both his mom and dad tell him a haunting tale about what had made them leave their former planet. Slowly, a totalitarian state came to power, suppressing the people. An assembly known as The Quartet had terrorized and decimated the Earth’s population. The climate was adrift. But only one ship made it to Mars. Where are the other ships? And could the population of Mars City expect to stay save after all those years?
Suddenly, Mars City is hit by what seemed like a quake. Except it was another ship that roughly landed in Town Square. On the ship was the head of The Quartet, Maximilian Redfield. What is Redfield up to? And how has the Mars Settlement even been built? Find out in part 2: The First Settlement.
Miranda made a decision.
“Quick, follow me.”
She led them through their house and went straight to the pantry. She pulled some clothes hangers at random. Nothing happened. Miranda cursed and furiously worked her way through the closet. Suddenly, they heard a hissing sound. The back of the closet moved downwards, into the ground.
“Get in, everything we need is in there. Food, oxygen supplies, spare suits.”
Ralph and Malcolm followed her instructions. Once they got in, Ralph held out his hand to pull Miranda into the small room. Miranda hesitated. She looked at Ralph and shook her head.
“I need to work now. Take care of Malcolm. Wait till I get back and the coast is clear.”
“No, Miranda, you mustn’t, if it’s really Maximilian… Who knows what he’s capable of.” Ralph spoke aghast.
Malcolm was sniffing, but he tried his best to act courageously.
“Trust me, I know what I’m doing.” Miranda winked at Malcolm and blew him a kiss.
Miranda locked the closet door and went back into the living room to put on her suit. As she pulled it on, she realized she was shaking. She told herself to calm down. They were prepared for situations like this. She must trust her protocol. If only everyone in the village understood what was going on. If only they took the right measures to prepare themselves. With that last thought, she pressed a button to open the doors.
She stepped outside to stare into the face of her former boss. An ugly, emaciated face.
“Dad, I’m scared.”
“It’s ok, son, we’ll be alright. Besides, your mom knows what she’s doing.” Ralph said hesitantly. If he was honest with himself, he was scared too. Had his wife really prepared for a situation like this? What if the enemy had more guns than they had? What if they wanted to take over the settlement?
“Did you and mom know that voice on the square?”
“Yes, Malcolm. I’m afraid that was the voice of Maximilian Redfield. The leader of the Quartet.”
Malcolm’s eyes bulged. “He’s evil, isn’t he? He killed people!”
“I know.” Ralph looked at the door again.
“Dad, you haven’t told me what happened to the other ships, the ships that left with you.”
“Well, as your mom said, we lost contact with them once we were traveling towards Mars. If they would’ve arrived, we would’ve known. It could be that they landed on another part of the planet. In the years prior to settling here, several governments of the various countries on Earth, together with fLife and other companies, had already built small settlements on Mars. These settlements were equipped with materials such as some small houses, a plant, solar panels, and many of life’s necessities. We weren’t the only ones thinking of going to Mars. One company from what was known as England had already built most of our settlement. They wanted to offer commercial trips to Mars as early as 2035. So they had already built this small town.
Anyways, there were a handful of these towns when we arrived and it’s easy to contact each other. But we haven’t received any word since our landing on Mars. We’ve often sent messages to them, but we never heard anything back. Some men even have traveled there and explored the villages, but they were empty. We can only guess what happened to the others. And my guess isn’t pretty.”
“Do you think they didn’t make it?” Malcolm asked with tremor in his voice.
“I do. It’s either that or they visited another planet, but none was as ready to receive human occupants as Mars.”
Both stayed silent for a while. Hoping for a hissing of the closet door. To get some news. The room they were in was small, but light and white. There was a fridge with some food. In a cabinet were some cans of soup and sachets of porridge. There was a water tap and a little stove.
“Do you want some porridge, Mal? It’s breakfast time already.”
Ralph heated some water and grabbed a sachet of artificial oats. Malcolm was opening all drawers and cabinets. He was clearly looking for something. A loud ‘Aha!’ indicated he had found it. A remote.
He pressed the power button and on one wall a screen appeared. It showed their entrance and a part of the town square. It didn’t show any sign of life. No sign of Miranda.
“Dad, can you tell me more about the space journey? Since we have to wait in here anyway.”
“Hey, I know you. You used to work for me. I never forget the face of someone who left me.” Maximilian’s small, magpie eyes narrowed.
“I wanted to be near my husband.” Miranda lied. “And I wanted to have the opportunity to work in space travel.” She tried not to look away from him.
Maximilian merely nodded, slightly amused.
“Anyway, welcome Mr. Redfield. I’m glad to see there are more survivors after all. For years, we believed we were the only ones. How did you manage to get here? What happened? Sorry for my questions, you must be exhausted. Do you want to sit down and have some coffee?” Miranda feigned some charm.
“Very well. Dalastoy, inform the others. Baxter, take two men and stand guard in front of the house. If there’s anything funny going on, you know what to do.” Maximilian spoke grisly.
Miranda gulped and could only wonder what those instructions entailed. She desperately wanted to know how many men and women he brought and if they were armed.
“This way, sir.” She opened the front door of the house. They waited silently in the vestibule until the front door closed. To Miranda, it felt like ages before the second door finally opened. She did not dare look behind her, into that gaunt face.
They took off their helmets and their suits. Miranda gestured for Maximilian to sit down on the couch.
“Make yourself comfortable while I get us some coffee.”
In the kitchen, she held on to the kitchen counter. She took some deep breaths to calm herself down, wondering how to best play the cunning man in the living room.
While she put the coffee maker on the stove, she snuck into her bedroom. Next to her side of the bed was a small device attached to the wall. It looked like a box of matches, but it was actually a walkie-talkie. She made it especially for communication inside the house and with some of her trustees. One of them was inside the panic room.
“Boys, I’m home. Stay there!”
After a few seconds, she heard Ralph’s surprised voice.
“Honey, where are you? Where is that sound coming from?”
“The matchbox under the stove.”
Ralph walked towards the stove and felt underneath it. His fingers touched a small object. It looked like a matchbox, only it was made of steel. Both on the top and the bottom of the box he identified three small holes.
“I got it. Is he with you? We saw you on the screen. I’ll come and get you.”
“No! Listen to me, you two must stay there. Ralph, you must do something. If you open the matchbox, you’ll see three buttons. Press the red one and wait. Then, Poppy should show up on the other end. Tell her we have a code 112 and that she should take the necessary precautions. I must go now, stay safe.”
Miranda walked back to the kitchen and brought two cups of steaming coffee to the living room.
“There you are. Let’s cut right to the chase. We have arrived and want shelter. I take it you are in charge?”
“Well, you seem like an intelligent woman. Then you’ll know what else I require.”
The moment she had heard that voice, she knew what was about to happen. He wanted control over the settlement.
“People will resist, you know. But I’ll guide you through our processes and grant you access. You’ll have to promise me one thing though, leave my people be.” Miranda tried to sound confident.
Maximilian looked at her intently and moved a bit closer to her.
“Naturally, miss Sloan, but it’s entirely up to them. If they comply with the new rules and their new leader, I don’t see any reason to harm them. People are scarce these days.”
The way he said the word ‘harm’ made Miranda cringe.
“By the way, where is your husband?”
Miranda was prepared for that question and casually said: “With a client.”
“Poppy, I don’t know what’s going on exactly. I know he is here, Redfield, and that that can’t be good. Not at all. Just follow her instructions. I don’t know what they entail.”
They were alone again. Ralph was still worried. Ever since he saw his wife enter the house with that man his stomach turned.
Malcolm had not touched his porridge. He did not like the sight of the strange man. What was he up to?
“How much longer do we have to stay here dad, shouldn’t we help mom?”
“We can’t, not yet I think. We must trust your mother; I actually think she’s got a plan for this. She’s an inventive and smart woman. I don’t think she’d ever expected him to arrive here, but she is prepared for people with bad intentions I think.”
“Then why don’t you tell me more about your travels to this place dad, as long as we must stay here.”
Ralph smiled at Malcolm. He was so calm. Had his son grown up since the start of their bedtime story? And then he remembered.
“Happy birthday! My god, I’ve totally forgotten. I’m sorry, Mal. I wish we could start off your birthday with cake and presents instead of being trapped here behind a closet.”
“It’s ok, dad.” Malcolm smiled faintly. “Tell me about the spaceship.”
“Well you’ve seen it, you’ve been inside it loads of times. It was big, and it could carry about 800 people. There were shared rooms and family rooms on board. As well as a cantina, bar, library, cinema, fitness room and even a small farm for the cattle. We were traveling for about nine months you know.
We left in a hurry as we told you earlier. There was no plan in place. We weren’t even sure if the ship could make it. We had months of testing ahead of us. All the passengers were scientists or engineers from fLife. There were barely any children aboard. There were only a couple of scientist families living on the premises. Most scientists and engineers were single. It wasn’t at all what we planned on doing. We had clear passenger plans in place.
Miraculously though, everything was on board already. Well, more because of your mother’s foresight I have to say. We were already testing if the animals could live on the ship. The library had been filled. Food was already on board as well as equipment, uniforms, bedsheets, etc. The only thing was, we hadn’t tested the engines yet.
But we had to go because of the sandstorm. The ascent into the sky was unnerving. Our pilot couldn’t see anything through the thick sand outside. Luckily, he only had to go up. The only thing was when the rooftop of the plant finally opened it would let in the sand too. My guess is that the ships we left behind could never be used again. I had an eerie feeling that we might be the only ones to be able to travel to Mars.
Miranda was fearless, I clearly remember her voice echoing through the entire ship when we launched. Trying to calm everybody and talk them through leaving our planet, family, and friends behind. We–.“
Ralph stopped talking as he saw his wife and Maximilian walk outside.
“You haven’t answered any of my questions, sir.”
“Neither have you answered mine. Let me tell you what, I’ll answer one if you do.”
“Ok, but I started. So you have to answer me this: how did you manage to get here?” Miranda regained her confidence now that they were standing outside again.
For a brief moment, Miranda saw a glimpse of anger behind those small, dark eyes. Miranda beckoned him to follow her and they both walked on into the square. From the newly arrived ship, as well as the houses near the square, they could identify people peering about, curious as to who the other people were.
“It’s a shame you left us all those years ago. I can imagine you could have done great things for the company. Very well. Early in the year of 2051, the sandstorm died down. We suffered many casualties within the company from the devastation of the sandstorm. People who tried to travel to their families, people who didn’t have enough food, electricity failures, and the like is what got most people in the end. One would be safest staying put in their companies since most had emergency supplies stocked.
We knew of your plant with the ships of course. Ever since the old Bagsby died, we were better able to penetrate his silly company. I have to give it to the old man, he was ahead of his time, thinking of preparing the spaceships.”
“That was mostly my doing actually.”
Mr. Redfield raised his eyebrows and smirked.
“You keep surprising me, Ms. Sloan. So you would understand that we took over fLife and that particular division. We had all our – and your– employees working on recovering the ships. The ones who survived at least.
I must insist Ms. Sloan, where are we going? Should I take some of my men just in case? You’ve proven to be quite a resourceful woman.
“We’re going to the town hall. We need to speak to the members of the cabinet. I can safely assume they’re already there, waiting for my instructions, it’s not every day a ship lands in the middle of our square. Almost hitting our own vessel. But you were talking about repairing the spaceships we left behind and I would like to believe it wasn’t an easy task.”
“Indeed Ms. Sloan, it wasn’t. The sandstorm had damaged them. In hindsight, I wonder if we could have left Earth faster if we would have built new ships entirely. Twelve years is a long time. And we needed to go since Earth had proven to become even more inhabitable. Luckily, we closed the plant door after we had removed all sand and unnecessary materials from it. Over the last ten years, more natural turmoil ensued. Many lives were lost again and again. I had close to 200 people working on the ships. I’ve arrived with 78 including me. You do the math.”
“I take the working conditions were far from comfortable.” Miranda said suspiciously.
Redfield scowled and looked at her intently as if he was trying to break into her thoughts.
“Enough,” A hint of irritation sounded through his harsh voice. “Now you answer me this, how did you manage to survive?”
“You’ll have to be a bit more patient, sir. We’re here.”
They stood in front of a large round blue dome. The half circle glass door showed people glancing at them from behind it.
“Have it your way Ms. Sloan. I have a knack for false politeness. I have a feeling I have to be cautious, so you’ll forgive me if I hold you hostage when we enter.” Maximilian pulled a gun from one of his suit pockets. He pressed it against Miranda’s helmet as they approached the door. Behind her, she heard other footsteps approaching.
“Ralph, Malcolm, can you hear me?” Miranda whispered into the palm of her hand, where she hid the matchbox.
“Miranda, what’s going on, are you alright?” Ralph suddenly stood up, worried.
“I’ve no time. Ralph? I need you to do something for me. Please get the book on Greek History and find the chapter on Troy. In it is a letter, you must–.“
That was the last the boys heard of Miranda.
“What is this? Nostalgia?” Maximilian said repulsed as he threw the matchbox aside. “What are you up to? I leave you for one second… Ah, I presume you are the cabinet members, welcome. Now, you are all dismissed of your duties. This settlement is mine.”
Dalastoy and Baxter stood beside Mr. Redfield, their guns pointed at seven scared women.
“Miranda, what’s happening? Do something!” Poppy spoke in anguish.
“I am afraid Miranda will be otherwise engaged the next couple of days. But not to worry, we will take good care of your former mayor.” Maximilian winked at Miranda, followed by a nasty grin, his lips curled up unnaturally high.
Ralph rummaged through the books. He grabbed the copy of Greek History. Malcolm was standing on his toes trying to see what might be hidden in the book.
Ralph hurriedly flipped through the pages, desperate. After a couple of minutes, he still did not find what he was looking for. He threw the book on the floor.
“What have they done to her? Why did she stop talking?”
Then Ralph had an idea as he sped to another room, leaving Malcolm behind.
Malcolm picked up the book and looked through the index, looking for anything that might deal with Troy. There was a whole section about Troy spanning over a hundred pages. Troy families, politics, civilization, timelines. Carefully, he went through the sections. When he arrived at a page on which a wooden horse seemed to be drawn, a small post-it was attached to the page. Two words were scribbled on it: Earth Replica.
“Dad, I think I have an idea about what mom meant. Dad?” Malcolm was shocked to find his father standing in the living room, holding a gun in either hand.
“Well, I guess it’s my turn again,” Maximilian spoke coldly. “How did you manage to get here and survive?”
“Do you honestly think I’m inclined to tell you what happened? You’ve tied me up in my own office! Sort it out yourself. Fuck you.” Miranda snapped, not looking away from those dark eyes.
“How dare you defy me? Suit yourself.” Maximilian closed and locked the door. He put on his suit again and stepped outside.
Dalastoy handed him a speaker. Maximilian spoke through a microphone in his suit. The sound of his shrill voice echoed across the square.
“Dear people of Mars, come to greet your new leader. Assemble on the square in five minutes for registration. And I mean everyone must assemble.”
Maximilian waited anxiously. He had waited for this moment ever since they ascended from Earth. Slowly, people started gathering on the square, surrounding the now two spaceships. Maximilian’s henchmen walked around with tablets to register all the inhabitants. A trembling Poppy and other members of the former cabinet helping them identify everyone and showing the registered list of inhabitants. Maximilian looked around manically. He wondered who would be the husband of the bitch.
“Sir, we are missing four people from the list. What should we do?” Baxter spoke throatily.
“Leave that to me, gather everyone around.”
Redfield was taking his time to look at the population intently, to make them feel ill at ease. Then he spoke. “Welcome my citizens. I’m glad you’re here. I see you’re worried, and I get that. But don’t be afraid. As long as you do what we say, your life could be great on this wonderful settlement.
I have your former mayor in detention. She has been most uncooperative, which I do not tolerate. Please know, that if I’m being disobeyed, there will be consequences.
It took us over a decade to repair your former ships and prepare to leave Earth. You haven’t left behind a very hospitable planet you know. I am proud to say that I’ve arrived here with 78 trustworthy and skilled people, whom I carefully selected myself to accompany me. As you can see, they’re all equipped with beautiful firearms, for our and your protection.
Now I need the first thing from you. Hospitality.
Ms. Poppy, how many houses do we have here?”
“120.” Poppy said shakily, avoiding his gaze.
“Manners, Ms. Poppy, manners. I’d like to ask you to set up your spare rooms or hand over your own bedrooms for my people. I will be needing the school building. Going to school is no longer necessary. We will provide the children of the future with some proper education in due time.” He watched the horrified and agitated people, enjoying the power he had over them.
“Now there does seem to be a problem. I am four people short. Anyone care to say who they are and where they are? Poppy perhaps? Come over, dear.”
Poppy slowly made her way towards Maximilian and his men, looking around nervously.
“Hand me the list.” Redfield said impatiently.
“Hmm, ah yes that was to be expected. She has a son too, what a gift!”
Maximilian switched on his microphone. “Listen to me very carefully, and I’m talking to the four missing people, Ben, Sue, Ralph, and Malcolm. If you are not here in ten minutes, dear old Poppy will not be able to be a part of our community any longer.” He nodded to Dalastoy.
A shot was fired, followed by a scream so loud, even Miranda could hear it. Dalastoy shot Poppy in her right foot. She fell down, still screaming. Someone sped to her aid but were roughly pushed back by Baxter. Unrest lingered across the square.
“The next one goes through her brains. Tick, tock.”
Ralph and Malcolm were searching furiously in Malcolm’s bedroom. The rough landing of the second ship had shaken his room up. Between the rubble and mess, somewhere, should be the small Earth replica. The stress ball.
The doorbell rang. Ralph headed towards the door as Malcolm continued searching.
“I have it, dad!” Malcolm held up the small ball proudly.
“Great Mal, Ben, and Sue are here. Remember them?”
“Hi, Malcolm, Ralph. Poppy send us, but we must hurry. Haven’t you heard that Redfield asked for us all to gather in the square for registration? It will be a short while before they notice we’re not there.” Ben said.
Ralph agreed. “We mustn’t let them take our peaceful settlement, what we built.
If worse comes to worst, we have to fight evil with evil in order for good to prosper.”
Ralph held up the two guns and handed one to Ben.
“Malcolm, do you know what you must do?” Sue asked him worriedly.
“Well, I have this stress ball in the shape of Earth. And I think there is something to do with a Trojan Horse.”
Ralph looked at his son in surprise.
“Good, now Malcolm, listen to me very carefully. Put the ball in your pocket. Don’t lose it or give it to anybody else. You must walk towards the square and wait for our signal. Your dad, Ben and I will free your mother and gather arms in the supply room in the dome. I will then walk to the square. When I wink at you, you must squeeze the ball as firmly as you can.”
Then they heard their names being called, followed by a loud scream.
“Go! Ralph, Ben, follow me.” Sue said as she hurried towards the door while putting on her helmet.
Malcolm was left alone in the house. He was afraid, but at the same time determined. He could help his mother. The whole city. He put on his suit and stepped outside.
He heard muffled voices coming from the square. As he approached it, he could identify mister Redfield standing in front of the dome. He noticed Malcolm.
“We have a guest,” Heads turned as Maximilian pointed at Malcolm. “You must be young Malcolm. Ms. Sloan’s son.”
Malcolm wrapped his hand around the ball. He must wait for Sue to come to the square.
“You’re just in time young friend,” Maximilian said with a devious smile. “Where is your dad?”
Malcolm was not prepared for that question. How could he stall? “My dad is injured; he broke his ankle two weeks ago. He told me to inform you he is on his way on his crutches. He said that I should get along.” Malcolm spoke with confidence. He was surprised at how quick he was on his feet.
Maximilian Redfield eyed him suspiciously, Malcolm simply stared back, careful not to look away. Suddenly, everyone in the square looked back at the dome as four people were approaching.
Baxter, Dolostoy and several other newcomers held up their guns, pointing at the newcomers.
“It seems young Malcolm is a lot like his mother. Cunning and convincing. Baxter, get the boy.”
A tall man in a grey suit grabbed Malcolm by the sleeve of his suit and pulled him towards Redfield. Malcolm shivered as he looked at the face inside the helmet.
“Lower your weapons and let my son and Poppy go.”
Maximilian laughed, prompting his crew and a few of the newcomers to laugh too. “No crutches I see, Ralph? You brought guns? Are you sure? Look around fellow, it’s four against at least fifty of my armed men. Do you like those odds? Do you think your son and the inhabitants of Mars City would endure? It seems there’s only one of you with brains in your relationship.”
More laughter ensued.
Ralph, Miranda, Sue, and Ben came closer. All of them were pointing a gun at either Redfield or his henchmen. Then, Sue winked at Malcolm.
Malcolm nodded as he tightly squeezed the stress ball in his pocket.
Instantly, all newcomers cried out in pain, reaching for their right wrist. Clawing at their flesh. Most fell to the ground in utter agony.
“Keep squeezing, Malcolm!” His mother cried.
Malcolm did as he was told, but he could not shake the feeling that it was him causing everyone so much pain. But it was them or his parents.
Maximilian Redfield was the only newcomer not to reach for his wrist. His face contorted with manic rage. He picked up a gun from the ground, in front of a screaming Baxter. He aimed for Miranda, she ducked. Miranda, Ralph, Sue, and Ben spread out.
“Everyone grab the firearms they have dropped!” She shouted through the screams. She fired at Maximilian but he dived.
Malcolm continued squeezing. He saw Redfield coming towards him. He ran for it. Malcolm heard more gunshots as he ran towards the ships for a place to hide.
Then that eerie voice found its way above the screams. Malcolm looked behind him. Redfield held on to a trembling Poppy, pointing his gun at her helmet.
“Stop whatever you’re doing Malcolm, or she dies.”
Malcolm stopped squeezing. Terrified.
“Come closer boy.”
“Malcolm, no, keep squeezing!” His father bellowed.
He could see Poppy nodding. The newcomers were slowly standing up. Most of them being held at gunpoint by the first citizens of Mars. A struggle ensued. Shots were fired.
“Mal, you can stop this. SQUEEZE!” Miranda yelled.
He squeezed again. People fell. Redfield pulled the trigger. Poppy collapsed and fell to the ground, her helmet shattered. He saw his mother running towards Redfield, his dad in close pursuit. Miranda fired, but missed. She was now inches away from Redfield.
“No mom, look out! He’s got a–“
Malcolm’s cry was smothered by the shot of a gun. Everything happened in slow motion. As if Malcolm was watching a movie at slow speed. His mother reached for Redfield’s gun. His dad fired at Redfield. It seemed Miranda’s hand exploded, her sleeve turning red. Malcolm kept squeezing. Redfield fell to the ground, shaking. Malcolm ran towards the scene.
“Mom, mom are you ok?” Malcolm said in fear. He could feel his whole body shaking.
“Shit, that hurts! Bastard!” Miranda held on to her bloody hand with the other, giving Redfield a foul look.
“It’s over, honey. He’s dead. Let me see your hand.” Ralph took his wife’s hands and inspected them. “The bullet went straight through, but we need to get you to the infirmary now. Here,” Ralph tore a piece of Redfield’s sleeve. He wrapped Miranda’s hand in it. “Put pressure on it with your left hand, darling. Let’s go.”
“No, first things first.” She stood up. Her face twitching from the pain. “Gather around everyone. You’ve held your own today. You were brave. I always thought a day like this would come, and we were strong. Please take care of the wounded.
Newcomers now is the time to decide where your loyalties lie. Your leader is dead. There is a place for you here in our community. But there’s no place for treachery or violence. Do your part and contribute, live peacefully and build a life. Become part of our family. We need more people to further build our settlement. I welcome you. And for those who prove to be treacherous. Let’s say we have a place for you here too. Although it’s far from comfortable.”
With that, she put her arm around her husband for support as the family walked to the infirmary. Malcolm still shaking, holding a soft replica of planet Earth in his hand. A planet who might have saved their lives after all.
THREE YEARS LATER
“There are also good things about the arrival of the newcomers. They brought food, equipment, cattle and more new stuff. It seems like there were still new things invented on Earth in our absence. Have you seen these lenses? I have access to anything I like!” Malcolm said enthusiastically.
“Yes Mal, you’re right! And let’s not forget our town is growing. Besides Redfield and his henchmen, most people just want to survive. They’re helping us further build our settlement here.” Miranda said with a smile.
She thought about what had happened all those years ago. Her best friend dead, at least a dozen people injured. Finally, having her long-overdue revenge. However, she did not feel any different. Sure, Maximilian Redfield was dead, but was that truly necessary? On the other hand, he might have killed more people. He might have killed me, or Malcolm. She had Dolostoy and Baxter in holding. All the firearms were securely locked up in the dome. Most of the newcomers had retreated to their ship and used it as a shelter until new houses would be ready. Original inhabitants and newcomers alike were working together to expand the city. Sharing stories, wisdom, and crafts. It soothed the wounds of the attack from all those years ago.
Miranda looked happily at Malcolm, playing around with his hands in mid-air, assumingly playing a game. Then she felt a kick in her belly. The little one was awake.
- The End -
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