Thursday, June 10, 2010

Baby Collector

Repossessing children was not originally on Leo Barnes’s list of job responsibilities, nor was disposing of them. Thanks to a rogue doctor, twelve children had been genetically altered before their incubation, and now these defects had to be recalled and destroyed.

With the help of fellow chairman Reginald Foster, all but one child had been collected and returned to the Eden Corporation. This remaining child was Leo’s to acquire.

“Barnes, if this is going to be a problem, I can collect the child for you,” Foster said sliding the microscope toward Leo.

“There is no problem,” Leo glanced thru the lens to view the specimen; nothing looked out of place, but then he didn’t know what he was looking for. “I will pick up the child first thing in the morning.”

“Let me know if you would like me to accompany you.”

He did not reply, he simply continued to look at the slide until Foster left the Genetics Lab. He waited until he heard the swish of the doors then let out the breath he had been holding.

Leo slumped into a chair and rested his head in his hands. He closed his eyes, grit his teeth, and let the tremors consume him.

He had hoped the twenty-seven flights of stairs down to his living quarters would clear his head, but all he could think about were tiny fingers and toes as he ran down the last three flights.

When Leo finally pushed open the doors to his home, a small child lay on a blanket in the living room floor, sucking on her hands and kicking her tiny feet. He walked toward her, but heard the clink of glass in the kitchen and headed that way.

“Rebecca,” Leo called for his wife. She was pouring a glass of wine with another baby on her hip.

“Hello, dear,” She smiled; her face already warm from a previous glass. She leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. He stared at the child.

Rebecca took the baby’s hand and waved at her husband, “Hello, Uncle Leo,” she said in a sweet little voice. This made the child smile, exposing a single tooth. Leo melted, grabbed the baby from his wife, and covered her with kisses. “Oh, Natty,” Leo grinned, “I got your sugars.” She giggled as he hugged her close.

The baby in the other room began to cry. “Oh, I almost forgot,” Rebecca said as she grabbed the bottle of wine and walked into the living room. She sat down on the floor close to the baby, tickled the bottom of its feet, and ran her fingers through the child’s dark hair.

Leo sat Natty beside the baby on the floor. They instantly grabbed hands and began to babble incoherently.

“Rebecca, you really think this is going to work?

“It has to. It will be too late for Emily to notice tonight, and Eden will take her early in the morning,” Rebecca said. She stared blankly at the children in front of her.

“Well. Let’s just hope nothing goes wrong.”

Tears began to trickle down Rebecca’s face. “Eden will make sure Walt and Emily forget, right?”

“I hope so,” Leo uttered.

After dinner and baths for both children, Leo and Rebecca changed them into their pajamas and laid them down to rest. Natty slept quietly in their bedroom, while the other child lay in a bassinet in the living room.

It was getting late, when Emily finally arrived. “Hello, dear,” Rebecca said as she wrapped her arms around her guest.

“How was Natalie?” Emily asked.

“An absolute joy,” Rebecca smiled.

“Thank you for watching her, Aunt Rebecca. We never seem to get a break these days.”

“Anytime, sweetheart,” Rebecca steadied herself as she reached for the child in the bassinet, “I went ahead and changed her into her pajamas, so you wouldn’t have to worry about it when you got home.”

“Thank you so much.” Emily took the wrapped child into her arms. “She gets heavier each day.”

“Well, she did eat some pasta,” Rebecca winked. Emily laughed.

“It’s been a long day.”

“Well get some rest. I will see you soon.” Rebecca kissed both Emily and child on the cheek and walked them out the door. She waved until Emily stepped into the elevator, closed the door, and sank to the floor.

After helping Rebecca to bed, Leo decided to take a walk. Three flights of stairs later, he was standing in front of his colleague Reginald Foster’s living quarters. He rang the bell.

Leo was surprised to see Foster answer the door in striped boxer shorts. “Uh,” Leo muttered.

“It’s late. What is it Barnes? “ Foster furrowed his brow.

“I have uh… a conflict of interest. The last child belongs to my wife’s niece.”

A big smile spread over Foster’s face, “You want me to pick her up?”


“Consider it done,” Foster said as he closed the door.


“How was Bethany, Mrs. Barnes?” Gretchen Townsend asked.

“Bethany? Oh, she was great… a sweetheart.” Rebecca smiled. “Thank you for letting her stay with us for the night. Leo and I have discussed fostering for a while.”

“It’s a big decision. I know.”

Rebecca held the baby’s hands in hers and tried to swallow the knot in her throat. “I will work on Leo, but with his schedule, I don’t think he will want the added burden of having a small child in our home.” Tears began to well up in her eyes.

“Oh, Mrs. Barnes, I am sorry you’re upset. I will find a good home for Bethany. Please don’t worry about her,” Gretchen said as she handed Rebecca a tissue.

“She is a lovely child, and I wish her the best.” Rebecca kissed the baby on the cheek and handed her carefully to Gretchen. “Thanks again, “she said as she left the office.


If you're new to my blog, read my very first Eden Corp story, "Forbidden Fruit". My other Eden Corporation stories are all tagged so, and located under the "Categories" section on my side bar... if you're interested.

Thanks so much for reading and commenting. You're awesome!


  1. A very curious story you've weaved for us. I'd like to read more actually.

  2. Really cool idea for a story and your execution makes it shine, 2

  3. Very nice read. I'd like to know more also - leaves me with a lot of questions - intriguing idea.

  4. PJ said it best - intriguing is The word here. There's quite a lot going on in the background, and I want to know more.
    Well told.

  5. repossessing children is a great idea to get the story rolling. It's good that you don't spoon feed the reader & let our imaginations go into overdrive.

    I think you meant rogue doctor rather than rouge doctor?

    marc nash

  6. DOH! I fixed it, Mark. Thanks!

    Thanks everyone for reading and commenting. :-)

  7. All the agonizing was totally worth it. This is good stuff.

  8. That is a bang-up first sentence. Just the two words "Reposessing children" and I'm overflowing with ideas (and snarky anti-child comments like how hard it was for the demon to possess them the first time). I actually found the story calm and a little assuring, rather than as twisted as it could have gotten. It's good work, 2mara.

    (first paragraph - singular "Barnes'" should be "Barnes's")

  9. Ah, saving the little niece the only way they knew how.

    Love your Eden stories!

  10. this is a very imaginative concept and well executed pj. clever, very clever.

  11. I like how you make babies cute and sweet in this. As they should be. I do not need to want another baby. Bad, bad, bad.

    Excellent piece.

  12. Very chilling. It is a very creepy society you have built there in the Eden Corp. It's going to a a terrific novel.

    Agree completely with John. Killer first sentence.

  13. This is like the horrible offspring of Repo! and Gattaca. No pun intended, of course. Great story and an interesting morality.

  14. Oh my goodness. There really are dark doings in the corners of the nice, clean, safe world of Eden, aren't there?

    You held the tension through this entire piece beautifully. It was quite a release when the light went on at the end.

    Like Leo, I hope Eden ensures Walt and Emily forget. Leo and Rebecca won't, ever.

  15. Another dark plot in the Eden world...more, more!

  16. It took two reads to get this - but yep, it's a great idea, neatly executed.

  17. Very chilling - your dystopia just gets better and better!
    "repossessing children" gave me the shudders

  18. Nicely done, but as others have said I need more. So many questions. I read that you have more shorts in the series, I plan to indulge myself, but is this something you plan to turninto a book?

  19. I love your comments! I know it can be confusing, this world. I try to write each piece as stand alone but the stories are all interconnected...

    Yes, I am working on a novel... slowly. Some of my favorite characters will be in it... like Jennifer Watts, Brian Oldham, Dr. Betty Dalton, and Elias Eden himself (in some form).

    This story is connected directly to: "Expecting", "Goodbye" "Looking for a Savior". That is the order I wrote them, but as far as the general story timeline... I am sure you can piece them together on your own ;-)

    Thanks again for reading them and you're awesome comments.

  20. Great story, and creepy in the finest way. Well done. I'll have to catch up on the others. (Yay, a new serial to follow!)

  21. Really loved this, right up my street. Fabulous intro. Very human although in a strange world. Absolutely agree about wanting to read more of the series. It also took me a couple of reads, there were quite a few names to figure who's who. Very well written, succint emotion. Fab.

  22. I'll have to catch up on the rest. But man, you couldn't come up with a scenario more fraught with emotion than repossessing children!

  23. Imaginative and intriguing. The people all felt real.

  24. Great opening. A twisted little world you have going here.

  25. Very cool story. It had good heart to it. Well done!

  26. The title and then the first line really grabs your attention. No way to stop until you find out what was up.
    Nicely done.

  27. This leaves me starving to find out more about Eden Corporation and what's going on with this couple. A great job of expressing emotion and pain.

    When it ended I felt like I'd slammed into a brick wall before I knew it was coming. I got so swept up in the story the ending hit like a ... well, like a brick wall. :)


  28. Wow. That first paragraph is a real attention grabber for sure. Such an intriguing tale. I want to read more. Much more.