Chapter 3: Family

“Don’t talk about your sister like that!” Tina yelled. 

“She’s a bum!” Lauren yelled back.

“She’s still your sister, she’s just going through a rough patch,” Tina said a little calmer. 

“She’s been going through a rough patch since she was sixteen. It’s been a fourteen-year rough patch. She’s only gotten worse Mom,” Lauren said, matching her mother’s calm tone. “You don’t have the money Mom,” Lauren said for what felt like the two-thousandth time. Tina didn’t say anything but walked out of the sparse kitchen and into her bedroom down the hall. Lauren followed, refusing to let the issue settle this time. 

As Tina passed through the doorway she tried closing the door behind her, but Lauren pushed her way through. Tina just walked over to her neat bed and pulled the comforter to the side. She crawled into the bed and covered up, facing away from Lauren. 

“When was the last time Rachel actually did anything for you Mum?” Lauren asked standing over her mother, her feet feeling distractingly comfortable on her mom’s faux carpet. 

“She made me coffee last week,” Tina mumbled. Lauren just sighed. 

“That was only because she wanted to use the car.” 

“She mowed the lawn,” Tina mumbled back.

“That was me, Mum. Alright, when was the last time she saw you and didn’t want anything before she left?” Lauren said, trying so hard to keep her cool. A second passed. A minute, then two.

“Case and point,” Lauren said. “You need to tell her no mum. You don’t have the money to pay for both your bills and hers. Last time she took out the car she got into a dumb accident and now you can barely afford the insurance. She stole some of your groceries last time she was here,” Lauren went on. Again Tina stayed silent. For a second she thought her mom was asleep, but she caught the sound of quiet sobs. As usual, her conviction faltered. She crawled into bed beside her mom and Lauren put her arm around her. 

“I know it’s hard to hear Mom, but she’s only gotten worse and every time we’ve tried to get her help she spits it back in our faces. She’s just a leech mum,” Lauren said boldly but softly. 

“She’s your sister though Lauren,” Tina said sadly. Lauren could hear her holding back the sobs in her voice. 

“She hasn’t been my sister in five years,” Lauren said. “She hasn’t been a daughter in longer,” Lauren said. Tina gasped and sounded like she wanted to say something but nothing came out. 

“I know it’s hard to hear mum, but I want you to seriously think about it. When was the last time she helped any of us?” Lauren asked, squeezing her mom hard for a second.

She felt her mom's hand on her arm and it gave a small squeeze. 

“I love you, Mom,” Lauren said, kissing the back of her head. 

“I love you too hun,” Tina whispered back. They lay there like that for about five minutes before Lauren finally untangled herself and got up. 

“I’ll be back later this week, probably Thursday to take you shopping OK?” Lauren asked while stretching. 

“Ok Laury,” Tina said from her cocoon. Lauren smiled and made her way slowly out of the house. A Quaint little corner house, Tina and Lauren’s Dad bought before she was even born. She locked the door behind her before starting the walk back towards her place. 

Currently, she was staged at an apartment down the street, but she was slowly putting money away for her own place. She would’ve already had enough if not for a recent bubble in the housing market, now she was just over halfway there. 

She instead turned her attention to the beautiful spring air. Lauren loved walking the city. She always had trouble explaining it to others. But the feeling of having so many people around you, knowing in every house was a family and being there but apart was comforting to her. Even though she constantly reminded those around her that she hated people, she did in fact not hate people. She may even have liked people. 

As Lauren turned a corner she was struck by the sight of a very odd scene. There was a taxi coming down the street from her left, speeding by quite a bit. On her right was a very well-dressed man who seemed to not quite be all there. The moment she saw him he just walked out into the street right into the pathway of the speeding taxi. The taxi screeched its horn as it made a sharp turn and put on its brakes. It went into the other lane and then onto the sidewalk before finally stopping. 

Immediately a tall man got out of the taxi and started screaming. There was a string of very inventive cursing that came from the taxi driver. The man just kept walking. The taxi driver seemed to not take this quite well as he ran right over to the man, grabbed him by the shoulder, and turned him around. The taxi driver drew back and threw a punch going for the man’s face but he stopped short when their eyes met. 

That was all the time Lauren needed. She ran over towards them, skipping over the puddles from last night's rain.

“Dad, you can’t be wandering about like that, we’ve talked about this.” She grabbed the man by his thick arms. The taxi driver was still looking at the man but with great effort, he turned towards Lauren. 

“I almost hit him,” he said, looking a little shaken. 

“I know, I’m so sorry. Sometimes he forgets where he is. I’ll take him home, I’m so sorry for any trouble he caused.” Lauren said with an apologetic smile on her face. The man went back towards his vehicle and took a quick look around. 

“There’s a huge dent on the bumper and a crack in the windshield,” he said looking regretfully at the front of his car. She took a quick look at what she could see from where she was standing. It looked like he did not take care of the vehicle. 

“That’s ok, we can share insurance,” Lauren said, putting on a smile. “ I have a state of the art camera,” she said pointing at a camera she noticed on her numerous walks home. “So I’ll send over the camera footage. It’s state of the art, did you know it catches the speed of cars passing. Not to mention the picture quality is great, it will be easy to see the damage from before and after,” she said brightly pointing towards a camera in the yard behind them. 

The man’s face went tight and he glanced at the camera. He looked again at the man then at Lauren. 

“On second thought, I wouldn’t want to get your father there in any trouble, don’t worry about the damages,” he said with a smile. 

“Thank you so much, sir.” Lauren inwardly cursed the man. She finally looked up at the man in her arms. “Ok Dad, let’s get you home,” Lauren started, urging the man forward. Thankfully he followed her. She continued down the street until she was sure the taxi driver was gone. 

“So, um you ok?” Lauren hesitantly asked, letting go of the man’s arm. 

“Yes, I thought I sensed my brother nearby but I was either wrong, or he is gone now,” the man said quite coherently. 

“Oh, what’s he look like, I can keep an eye out,” she asked. 

“He is encompassing as if time was unwound from a tapestry into a corkscrew that weaved back and forth until the space was filled,” he said in a monotone. 

“Okaaaaayyyy. What about his physical qualities?” she asked again becoming a little uncertain about the man. 

“That is,” he stopped for a moment and looked at her. “Ahh. Umm to be honest he would look like any human would I suppose,” 

“Alright, checklist then. Let’s start, hair color?” she asked, grabbing a strand of her hair. 

“Black, as it absorbs all light, similar to that of a black hole,” he answered. A poetic type she supposed. 

“Eye color?” she pointed at her eyes. 

“Black, as it,” he started but Lauren cut him off.

“Absorbs all light similar to that of a black hole, ok, How about skin complexion?” she asked, pointing at her skin. 

“He is partial to a light brown, similar to those who dwell close to the middle of the Earth,” he answered. He seemed to have put his full attention on her and she found she enjoyed it, especially his eyes. 

“Does he have facial hair?” she asked, rubbing her chin. 

“Last I saw he did not, but the styles of hair he had become accustomed to changed each moment as it fancied him,” he said.

“Is he like a criminal?” she asked. 

“No, he just wanders off sometimes,” the man answered.

“Must be brothers,” she said offhandedly. “Well, that covers that, what about height and build?” she moved her hands around trying to indicate what the words meant. 

“He is tall and slim,” he answered with a bit more excitement?

“Numbers would be easier to work with, like pounds and feet,” she said looking over at him. She had to say his nice tailored pinstripe suit and manner had her intrigued. 

“Oh, one moment,” he said as he stopped. He stared off into the distance for a moment, she could’ve sworn a milky white film went over his eyeballs for just a few seconds. After his eyes cleared he continued forward.

“Seven feet. Two-hundred and fifty-one pounds,” he answered. Lauren whistled at that. 

“Well, with a person like that it shouldn't be too difficult to see in a crowd. Do you have a number, I can text you if I see him,” she asked. 

“Ahh, the devices you spend so much time on, I do not. Should I have one?” he asked with a hint of embarrassment. The first sure emotion he had shown. 

“I don’t think you should need one, but it’s getting harder and harder to live without one. Also makes it easier for others to contact you if you want to meet or tell them about a lost brother,” she said with a laugh. She was surprised by herself, she was not usually this open.

“There, I believe this is what he looked like,” the man said. Lauren looked over to see a cell phone in his hands, a pricey one by the looks of it. Lauren ribbed him on his arm lightly. 

“You don’t have to lie to me if you didn’t want to get my number,” she said lightly but felt a little crushed inwardly. 

“Do I need a number as well?” he asked seemingly ignoring her comment. 

“That is how phones work,” she said tartly. 

“So do I just give you my number, is that how this works?” he asked seemingly truly confused. She looked at him again and she got the odd impression of a child in a whole new world. She pulled out her phone.

“First a name,” she said, opening a new contact.

“Is that the form I fill out?” he asked looking at her screen.

“Kind of I suppose,” she said. 

“May I take a look?” he asked, putting his hand out. When he saw the hesitance he looked into her eyes and she felt that weird sense of excitement again. He put out his phone and Lauren figured what the hell. She took his phone as he took hers. All he did was look at the screen for a few seconds then went to hand it back. They exchanged phones again and when she looked at the phone, the contacts were filled out with extra notes and everything. 

“So you’re like a magician or something?” Lauren asked as they started walking again. 

“I suppose to you it would seem like magic but I am not a practitioner of what you would consider magic. I simply am. To me it is you who does magic,” he said. Lauren side-eyed him but left that alone. She kept going back and forth on whether he was in a fantasy land or if he was messing with her. She found he was too collected and well-spoken for a crazy person. That might just be her own idea of crazy though she admitted. 

“So, what did we learn today?” she asked.

“Those small electrical boxes are important to humans,” he said again in monotone. 

“And about walking in front of vehicles,” she sighed as she asked. 

“That, humans who drive them are willing to cause problems for others for a little bit of wealth and commodity,” he said. She was almost convinced now that he was playing her. 

“Not everyone, but no. The lesson is not to walk in front of cars in the middle of the streets. Either wait for them to pass or take your turn at the corner,” she said.

“Noted,” he simply said. They continued in silence. Soon after though Lauren realized she didn’t know where she was leading them. She was about to say something when he spoke up. 

“How about you? I sense some siblings and family,”  he asked. Lauren laughed for a moment before answering. 

“I mean, that’s the safe bet. Most people have families and siblings. But yeah, I do have a mother, a father, and a sister.” she said a little sarcastically. 

“Do you miss them?” he asked. 

“I mean I miss Dad,” she said before she caught herself. 

“What happened?” he asked. She turned on him.

“Well, you seem to know more than you are letting on, so why don’t you tell me?” she said a little angrily. 

“You don’t wish me to know,” he said.

“Then why ask?” she said sharply. 

“Because I see it brings pain and sharing can sometimes help. I can bear some of it for you, even though that is not what you want, A man in a bar taught me that,” he said. 

“You don’t know what I want or not. Of course, if I could rid myself of the pain I would,” she said to the air. 

“You have made yourself a martyr. You blame yourself and then you minimize the pain by taking on the burdens of others. Those of your remaining family. I understand that aspect myself, maybe the only one I truly understand,” he said softly, sympathetically. She turned away as tears came unbidden. 

“You shouldn‘t take the pain of your family if they haven’t earned it. I know that now,” she said, turning back, not bothering to wipe the tears away. It felt sad and free at once.

“What do you mean?” the man asked with apparent confusion. 

“What I mean is just because they are family doesn’t mean they are good people. Obviously, you want them to be, you’ve seen them since they were children. But some people are bad people. You give them chance after chance because they played with you when your parents stayed out all night. Because you caused mayhem together in the neighborhood. Because when they had nightmares, you shared a bed to hide from the terrible things in the night. But they grow up and sometimes they lose that child inside them. Leaving a stranger. A stranger.” she droned on, the tears still falling. 

“But you were made from the same forces. You were forged in the same crucible and were the only true ones you had as a newborn. The family. No matter the mistakes they make, they are still family,” he said with a conviction she had not seen of him yet. 

“If family means letting someone who knows all your weak points hurt you over and over again. To use family as the excuse to forgive and let live all the terrible things they do to you and your loved ones. If they just take and take, like a parasite. There is only one thing to do, either let the parasite poison and kill the family or excise it.” she said conviction equal to his coming from a part of her she didn’t realize was there.

“That’s not. That can’t be right,” he said floundering and she was surprised at how lost he looked. “You truly mean that,” he said dumbfounded.

“Look I don’t mean to preach, that’s my own beliefs, and how I’ve seen the world. I’ve just been drained dry by my sister and I’ve seen how she’s destroying both me and my mother’s life. The only reason she’s been able to do that is under the guise of family. You may believe what you want um.” she paused a little embarrassed. “Um, sorry I’m so bad with names,” she said shyly. 

“I never actually said my name. It is Desire,” he said bowing. “I will take what you have said to heart Lauren, I may not agree but only a fool disregards other's desires. I hope to see you again,” he said as he stood straight up again.

“It was my pleasure Desire,” she said and curtsied the best she could. He was a strange one but she liked him. As she came back up from the curtsy he was gone. Magician indeed. It was only when she was halfway home that she realized she never said her name. 


Lauren continued scrolling through her phone as she slowly, sip by sip drained her cup of coffee. Two days had passed since her visit with her mother and the strange man named Desire. The day before had gone normally. She woke up and went to work at the pharmacy as a cashier. Then she went home, changed and went to school until ten at night then went to bed. 

She started today the same, however she didn't have school on Tuesday and Thursday. To which God had been thanked. So she spent her afternoon doing absolutely nothing and it was glorious. Instead, she just scrolled through the lives of others, vicariously living through them. One minute she was in Paris with her new boyfriend. Another was out at night with a group of friends, getting into trouble. Another she was simply sitting outside of a cabin, reading a book while the waves of the distant lake pulsed in and out. 

Then, of course, an ad for something would show up and ten minutes later she ordered fairy-themed coasters and matching mugs for all the time she didn’t spend at home. They were cheap so she didn’t feel too bad about it. 

Her wanderings soon brought her to look at different tattoos. She had been considering one for a long time now but she wanted to be one hundred percent sure of it before she got one. But she liked them, the idea of the body as a canvas always interested her. She found one of the reapers behind a woman…


That brought her out of her reverie. She hoped for a moment that she had imagined it, this went against her philosophy of doing nothing. 


Lauren sighed and got herself up from the kitchen chair. She made her way through her little apartment to look through the peephole. Outside was a young woman, wearing a tank top and tight blue jeans. A mockingbird tattoo above her right breast and striking blue eyes hiding behind brunette curls. Rachel. 


She thought about just leaving it but she knew what this was about and she would just be putting off the inevitable. She unclicked the chain and unlocked the door. She opened it and Rachel came charging in right past Lauren. 

“Why hello to you too,” Lauren said to the empty air. She closed the door behind Rachel and locked the door.

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” Rachel said before Lauren even turned around. Lauren turned and looked up at her younger sister. Lauren was five foot six but Rachel was two inches taller and it always irked Lauren at times like this. 

“I don’t know what you're talking about Rachel,” Lauren said before pushing past her sister and making her way back to her coffee on the kitchen table.   

“You know goddamn well what I’m talking about,” Rachel replied indignantly, following Lauren. 

“Look, just come out with it Rachel, this is my only time to myself this week,” Lauren sighed, sitting down and grabbing her coffee. She took a warm sip. 

“Mom said I’m a parasite. I needed the car to go to a job interview and she said I was just a parasite. I know mom doesn’t speak like that,” Rachel said leaving the implication.

“If you have something to say, then say it,” Lauren said, all the patience she had was worn out in the last five hundred discussions with her sister. That bothered Rachel, she could see it on her sister’s face, and spitefully it made Lauren feel a little better. 

“You spoke to Mom and like a snake whispered venom into her soul. How could you do that Lauren? We’re a family and the only ones left after Dad.” Rachel said, real hurt on her face. Lauren felt some heat in her face now. 

“Stop with the poetic bullshit Rachel. We’ve had this conversation a thousand times now. When I needed help Mom was there while you were off with Richard. When mom lost her job, all you did was send a text. I was there bringing her to interviews, and getting groceries while barely getting myself to work and school. I even asked you for help against my better judgment but you just blew us off. Then Richard left and all of a sudden you missed us so much. But then you only came around when you needed something. Some money to go out, or the vehicle to go get smashed with your friends. Then you meet another guy and again it’s like we never existed Rachel. 

“Mom could never support that, I'm the one who gives her the money you ‘borrow’ from her, and I’m the one who fills the car that you drain and never refills. So yes, you’re nothing but a parasite taking from us when we don’t have any more to give. We need to move on Rachel and you need to grow up.”

They both remained silent after that. Rachel’s eyes filled with tears but Lauren’s face remained stoic. She had gone over this conversation a hundred times in her head and now that it came she didn’t know what to expect but she would not back down on this. 

“You’re a cunt,” Rachel literally spat at her. She slapped Lauren across the face and then left the apartment. Lauren stood there stunned, as the drool slowly dripped into her eye. For a moment though she just replayed that in her head over and over. Each time Rachel became more and more of a monster in Lauren’s eyes. Before cleaning herself up she locked the door behind Rachel. She put the chain in place and went to clean her face. 


Lauren would be lying to herself if she didn’t admit that Rachel’s outburst had hurt her, right to her soul. She had been ready for arguments, for a squabble, for something confrontational. But the sheer pain, humiliation, and contempt in Rachel’s face she had not been ready for. Maybe she had been in the wrong. 

The conversation with Desire had kept coming back to her. Their father's departure and her mother's breakdown weren't easy on either one of them and maybe Rachel just didn’t know how to deal with it. Lauren remembered when she was in the middle of the ordeal, she had wanted to run away. Although she had wanted her sister even more. 

These were the thoughts she had when she made her way up the driveway to the front door of her mother's. She went to knock until the sight of the small window in the door caught her attention. There was a fist-sized hole right above the door handle. She stared at it slowly realizing the implications. She grabbed her phone and called the police. As quickly and tartly as she could she whispered the details they needed but slowly grew more and more impatient. Soon the worry overwhelmed her and she ended up hanging up the phone hoping they had enough info but unwilling to wait any longer. 

Lauren instead tried the door handle and it was unlocked. She opened the door slowly until it was open all the way. She made her way into the foyer and crept over the broken glass. A few pieces broke under her foot and she cursed under her breath. She went through the open doorway into the hallway-like kitchen. As she did so she grabbed the bat that was leaning against the doorframe right inside the kitchen. She slowly entered the dining room checking around each corner before moving on. The large sliding glass doors on the right of the dining room were also open to the backyard, leaving a cool spring breeze to sweep in and billow the curtains. 

She ignored it for now and started down the hallway toward her mother's bedroom. She slowly opened the door to the basement but the lights were off and there was no noise. So she closed it and moved on to the next doorway. The bathroom door was open and she turned the corner to find it empty. Taking a deep breath she made her way to the last room before her mother's. Lauren, and Rachel’s childhood bedroom. She took a deep quiet breath before entering the room. What was inside the room surprised Lauren out of her fear. All of her clothes she had and her childhood treasures were in a charred hole in the middle of the room. She saw burnt pieces of some of her toys, her blankets, and her clothes. She wrenched her glare from the burnt hole in the floor to the wall above her ruined bed. What looked to be carved into the wall with a knife was a single word. 


Lauren turned from the room and throwing all caution to the wind, ran into her mother's bedroom. She took a quick look to see things tossed everywhere, drawers were thrown about, their contents all over the floor. Cabinets emptied. Then there on the bed was a lump under the blankets. Lauren froze suddenly, fear seized every joint in her body. She just stared; the house had become an empty afterthought. 

After a few moments of terror, Lauren felt herself ease a little. The little bump was shaking, just a little bit. 

“Mum?” Lauren asked quietly. 

“No, just take it all ok,” Tina said between sobs. 

“It’s Lauren, mum. Are you okay?” Lauren asked as she made her way over. 

“I’ll always love you, Rachel,” she heard Tina whine. Lauren leaned the bat up against the nightstand as she slowly crawled into bed behind her mother. At first, Tina struggled, trying to get away. But Lauren wrapped her arm around the small woman and nestled her mother's head into the crook of her neck. 

“It’s ok Mom,” she just kept repeating softly. Soon her mother’s struggle stopped and was leaning into her daughter's embrace. She just started weeping. By the time the police entered the bedroom, they were both crying.   


Lauren finished explaining to her mother how the television worked in her bedroom. She was not happy that Lauren was leaving but even though she loved her mother she still needed some time to herself and in Lauren’s small apartment that was not a luxury they could afford. So to ease it for her mother she taught her mother how to use the smart TV. That in itself was an hour's ordeal. 

However, it looked like she finally got it so Lauren said her farewells and locked the door behind her. She started in the neighborhood randomly. It had almost been a week since the incident which meant her mom would have to go home soon. She took the week off which was a fight but thankfully Julie liked her and they made a compromise. She owed the woman two days but considering the situation, that was nothing to Lauren. 

She spent the week changing locks, getting a new door, and cleaning up. Her bank account took a hit but the insurance did its investigation and would be paying back the money and then some soon. The police took them into the station and asked them basic questions. Her mother managed to get the story out and Lauren filled them in on any info she could. They promised to keep an eye out but most likely the stolen jewels and family heirlooms were gone. Of all the things stolen and destroyed, those treasures from her grandparents had hurt Lauren’s mom more than the rest altogether. She would still get moments where she would be inconsolable at the thought of them gone.

Lauren was pretty sure that Rachel was gone now. She had burnt the bridges quite literally and good riddance as far as Lauren was concerned. She knew now that she had done the right thing. Just like a parasite, you had to dig it out and bear through the pain and discomfort before the healing could begin.

As she turned the corner, the small playground hiding in their neighborhood came into view. It was right beside the school and was one of her favorite spots to come to at night. It for some reason just gave her a peaceful frame of mind when her days became too hectic. 

She was shocked though to find the bench beside the monkey bars to be occupied by none other than the man Desire. Lauren was about to turn and leave when she saw him looking up at her. Again those eyes drew her in. She slowly made her way over thinking of what to say. He made a genuine but slight smile as she sat down beside him. 

“So, come here often?” she asked, trying to joke. 

“Yes,” he said seriously.

“Oh, that’s. Creepy,” she said hesitantly. 

“Why would it be Creepy?” he asked looking at her. 

“Because this is where children play and a full-grown man doesn’t usually come here often,” she said.

“Ahhh, I now see your confusion, Lauren. No, this is a spot my brother used to visit a long time ago and thus this is the closest I can get to him currently. It’s like a memory that I can visit in terms of your perception,”

“You keep speaking like you are not a person. That’s weird you know that right,” she said with a smirk. 

“I am not, though Lauren. I am simply the manifestation of primordial forces,” he said with a sigh. She crooked an eyebrow at him.

“Alright for argument's sake let’s say that’s true. From what I’ve seen, emotion, attachment, empathy, and quite deep thought. Two arms, two legs, two eyes. Yup, I would say you are a person,” she said. He looked right into his eyes and was surprised to see an emotion in them. 

“I. I do not know what to say. I have a nature and thus my will is less. From my perspective it’s will that makes a person,” he said.

“You are foolish to think human beings do not have nature. As for the will, true free will is not to go against your nature, but to know when not to follow it. I’m no philosopher, and that’s a simplistic view on it, but to me, that is the most important tenant.” she said with a conviction she didn’t completely feel. 

The man cocked his head at her and the emotion in his eyes vanished. 

“I shall keep your views in mind,” he said.

“You said that last time,” she retorted.

“And I have,” he said and she believed him. She looked towards the playground and found beauty in it. Even though there were spots of rust she found the idea that it was being used to make children happier in their lives brought her some joy. 

“You know I’m going to school to be a teacher?” she asked out of the blue.

“I knew you liked children but no I did not know the specifics,” he said looking at the playground. She looked over at him. 

“Are you following me?” she asked.

“No,” he said simply. 

“You would have me surprised,” 

“And why is that?” 

“You know more than you should,” she looked at him. He was still wearing that weird red pinstripe suit. It looked immaculate. 

“I am Desire,” was all he said. 

“But like what? Like you know everyone’s desires,” she asked

“I get my power from Desires. Not just humans but all beings. Everything living desires. A dog desires heat on a cold day, just as you desire to have your sister out of your life. Not just out of your life but to have never been in it, as it shows you believe in your peculiar views on family,” he said. She started but he was still calmly looking at the playground again. 

“She had always been apart, but I will admit deep down I thought she was still part of us. But she showed me that my instincts were right. She did some reprehensible things to our mother recently, the woman who still wants to help her. She stole and destroyed our mother's things. But the worst was that she took our grandmother's jewelry and our grandfather's painting. There wasn’t much but it was the only thing our mother had of her parents. The parents that she still cries about every once in a while. 

“The hard part is even after all that she wanted was an apology from Rachel and she would’ve been welcomed back. It just goes to show the love she has in her heart but I’ll be damned if Rachel comes back into the fold. Not after this,” Lauren said with a little bit of spite. 

“I can give you that Lauren. I can give you the true desire, I can remove her from ever being in your life.” he turned back to her and the absolute certainty of his statement rocked Lauren. She nervously laughed and looked away. 

“As much as I hate my sister right now, I would not want to change our past. Who I am and who my mother is are shaped by her. And when we were younger there were plenty of sweet memories I would not want to lose or become false. No, the only thing I truly desire from my sister is my grandparent's things back. But, I have to agree with the police, that is not likely to happen.” she sighed at the thought.

“Consider it done,” the man said, sincerity in his voice. She looked over at him and he was gone. Startled, she looked around but he was nowhere in sight. Well she had his number and she was still looking for the man's brother, so they may meet again. She started on her way home.


“Lauren, you need to tell them to drop off your packages at the front offices. This is the only warning I’m gonna give you,” Thomas told her as she came into the foyer of her apartment building. 

“I didn’t make any orders,” Lauren answered, confused. Thomas just sighed through his grey mustache. He pulled a large parcel out from behind the front desk. She walked over and looked at it. It only had one thing written on it. 

To Lauren Dolin

“Who dropped this off?” she asked a little hesitantly. 

“I don’t know, the camera didn’t seem to catch it, they were on the fritz most of the day, but it was left in front of your door. If you weren’t expecting it I can get rid of it for ya?” he asked with concern in his voice. She looked the package over again and saw something written in small writing under her name, something she had missed. It said ‘all that you desire’.

“Duh, I was expecting a personal package from a friend abroad. I’m so sorry Thomas it slipped my mind. I’ll make sure this doesn’t happen again. Thank you so much, Thomas,” She smiled at him and he eased up. 

“No problem Lauren, just make sure you let them know. We're actually supposed to throw them out if they go to you in the hallway,” Lauren apologized again and took the next elevator up. As soon as the doors opened she practically ran to her apartment. By the time she reached the door, she had already pulled out her keys and opened the door. She left it gaping as she went straight to her kitchen table and placed it down. As she was grabbing a knife from the clean dishes she heard her mother's worried voice. 

“It’s Lauren's mom, did you hear anyone knock earlier?” she yelled so her mom could hear her from the bedroom. She started cutting the tape as her mother made her way into the kitchen.

“Yeah, but it was a strange man in a striped suit. Strapping young guy but I didn’t know what was going on between you two so I left it,” she said with a twinkle of mischief in her voice. After the tape was off she opened it and as she did so, she saw the back of a canvas stretched over a wooden frame. When she took it out and flipped it over, her mother gasped. It was her grandfather's painting. 

Lauren gently put it aside and started going through the rest of the box. It was filled with styrofoam balls but she started finding pieces of jewelry scattered about. After five minutes of slowly going through it, she had spread over her kitchen table every piece of her grandmother's jewelry that had been stolen. Her mother started sobbing happily. Lauren just stared stunned. After a moment she dumped out the rest of the box and found a small piece of paper mixed in all the styrofoam. 

It read simply ‘If you see my brother please use my number I suppose, Desire’. She started laughing, at what, she had no idea. After she and her mother got themselves together Lauren cleaned up. She thought about calling to say thanks but it seemed with the note he might be busy. Well doing whatever a thing of his talents was doing. She instead celebrated with her mother into the night. The first true night of happiness since Rachel’s betrayal. The healing had started.

Subscribe to Chyldhood

Don’t miss out on the latest issues. Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.