Running Again

October 12, 1982

“I don’t know!” Alice screamed.

Augustus had tears streaming down his face. “I don’t wanna move.” His short black hair was ruffled and big blue eyes were red.

Neville crouched down to five-year-old Augustus on the couch. “We don’t know if they have found us.”

May pushed her blonde hair back over her ear. Her petite body sat beside her brother. “But how did they find us?”

Alice felt tears rolling down her cheeks. “I said I don’t know.”

Neville held up his hands to stop the discussion. It always shocked him how mature his children were for their ages. “We do not know anything yet. Mavis and your mom have gone down to see if they recognize him. If he was there at all, perhaps he was just passing through.”

The children sat quietly for a moment.
Neville continued, “In fact your mom should be back soon.”

Augustus asked, “Do we need to pack?”

Neville ruffled his hair. “No, mom and I were always prepared in case we had to run.”

“Where will we go?” June asked.

“We have other safe areas where we can get to. One is back in Canada and the another is somewhere in the Bayou in Louisiana.”

Quiet again amongst the white walls of the living room.

“I don’t wanna go to Canada,” Augustus screamed and began to lead the younger children in a group wail.

“Guys,” Neville tried to calm them but had no success.

Finally, Alice stood up and went to each of her brothers and sisters, one by one. She crouched in front of each and took their hand. Each child, in turn, calmed and relaxed.

Neville watched her go around the room, shocked by the reactions as quiet returned at first, then even some giggling. “What did you do?”

Alice offered a weak smile and walked away through the room and turned down the hall.

Neville looked at May. “What did she do?”

May shrugged. “I don’t know. I suddenly just felt warm and happy.”

Neville followed the direction Alice went and found her bedroom door closed. He knocked, “Alice?”

He opened the door when he heard weeping on the other side.

Alice was laying on her bed with her face buried in her pillow and red hair splayed out.

Neville sat down on the floor beside the twin bed. He glanced around at posters for the bands Kiss and Van Halen. “Alice? What can I do for you?” His hand brushed the back of her head.

Almost violently she snapped his hand off her head and held it in both of hers.

Neville felt the little girl’s fear. He felt her sorrow for disrupting her brothers and sisters. It nearly overwhelmed him until he calmed himself.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered and her tear swollen red eyes closed.

“For what?”

“I had to push that out. Usually I would to mom, but…”

Neville smiled and kissed her forehead. “No problem. However, none of this is your fault. They did this, not you. Your mom and I knew what we were getting into.”

Alice frowned at him.

“Okay, your mom knew what she was getting into. I learned quickly enough.”

She laughed and hugged his neck.

The kids voices came through the door with excitement of seeing mom coming home.

“She’s here, we better find out,” Neville said to Alice and helped her up from the bed. He took her hand and led her from the bedroom.

Bette and Mavis were surrounded by the children. Both were very pale.

Neville hugged Bette and then held her shoulders with his hands.  “Verdict?”

Bette looked up into his eyes.  “We run, now.”

Neville released her and turned to the children gathered around them.  “Okay, guys.  Go get what you need only.  Books are acceptable, because we will be on the road for awhile.  We leave in twenty minutes!”

Mavis left for her own home to gather her things so she could come with them.

The children followed Neville’s instructions.  He went out to the garage and began pulling the emergency bags out to the tiny white school bus they had bought.  It could take up to fifteen, including the driver.  The tears only started as all seven children and three adults sat in the bus and pulled out of the driveway.

“I don’t wanna go to Canada,” Augustus screamed.

Mental Blocks

October 12, 1982

Bette pulled the car into the parking stall. “This is it.”

“Are you sure?” Alice blinked at the building.

There were cars parked as far as the eye could see and a few people milling amongst them. The stonework of the building was almost the same shade as the over cast sky above.

“You said you were ready.” Bette slipped her seatbelt off. Her brunette hair was cute in a page boy and nearly blocked sight from her right eye.

“I know, but…” Alice brushed her straight red hair over her ear. “We could cut my hair at home.”

Bette shrugged and agreed, “We could, but we wouldn’t know if you can handle this.”

Alice’s body let out a long breath. Her tenth birthday was tomorrow and she had been so excited about this. Now, however, fear had a solid grip on her slim body. Even on a day that was rather warm she felt shivers under her pink sweater and jeans.

“Well, after a two hour drive I at least need a coffee. You can wait here, if you like.” Bette opened her door and pulled herself out.

Alice was out of the car like a bullet. “No coffee! Dad says I can’t let you have coffee!”

Bette laughed. “Okay, okay. A decaf then.”

“He said coffee isn’t good for the baby.”

Bette took Alice’s hand. “Not like this is my first, ya know.” She patted her round belly under her navy blue blouse.

Alice rolled her eyes. “Yeah, I know.”

Bette turned and grabbed Alice’s chin. “I’m teasing and you couldn’t sense it. See, you are ready.”

Alice shook her head. “I hear a lot of muffled but not sure I can do it.”

Bette pulled her along. “Let’s go in for a few. If you feel up to it, then we’ll see about that mop.”

They walked towards the doors under big red letters that screamed “Cinderella City”.

“Will this be the last?” Alice asked.

“Considering I’m over forty now, probably. Wait, you don’t think seven is enough?”

“We’re not Mormon, mom…and we don’t play baseball.”

Bette laughed and opened the door for them.

Alice was expecting a near avalanche when entering the mall, but nothing changed.

“Darling,” Bette leaned down and whispered. “You’re a telepath. Concrete walls don’t block thoughts.”

Alice’s mouth fell open. Of course she knew that, but until now she had not been convinced. The waves of people walking along the corridors between stores were more than she had ever been amongst in her near ten years.

For ten years she had been secluded in the town of Yukon which was a tiny community of fifty people about two hours drive into the mountains northwest of Denver. The town itself had a population of fifty…soon to be fifty-one. The fifty-first would mean that ten were living in her house. The other forty-one were all part of twelve families that were part of Pandora.

Certain advantage of protecting a telepath was that those protecting her could not lie or hide their real motives. Certain disadvantage was that those protecting her could keep nothing from her either.

Alice had learned to stop looking. She had her first brother, Jules, to thank for this. On his third birthday he had opened his gifts with such joy and surprise that almost knocked her over. Even though she was just five, she discovered that she wanted to experience joyful surprise…something a telepath with no control could not.

For the sake of her younger siblings, she had learned to fake looking surprise. May, June and Jules…all figured out what was going on. Augustus, Stephen and Octavia were too young yet to understand what Alice was.

Bette had her coffee and got Alice a hot chocolate. Picking a table in the food court, she sat with a wide smile. “I knew you could do it.”

Alice sipped her drink and swung her legs, accidentally kicking Bette.

“I didn’t know.”

“All comes with confidence, which you’re getting. I watched you pull a single thought from Mavis at the last town meeting. I am guessing it is like how we hear in that you will get stronger at blocking out the random and unneeded as well as focusing on what you need.”

They went to the hairstylist, as scheduled.

Alice’s head felt much lighter after having a full twelve inches cut off. Alice sat in the chair quietly, watching her hair fall to the floor in the mirror.

The stylist was a tiny woman who kept marveling over how pretty Alice was.

A stray thought from the woman did touch Alice, though. “I wish I was this pretty.” Having been touched, Alice was able to push a thought at the woman.

Cute blonde hair, big blue eyes, I am beautiful.

Bette would not have been pleased with Alice for doing it.

The stylist, however, had no idea that the thought was not her own. The thought brought a smile that, Alice sensed, had not happened in a very long time.

The sun poked through as Bette and Alice returned to the car. “One more stop and then we start for home. I promised Neville we’d bring Kentucky Fried Chicken home.”

Alice asked, “Chicken? It will be cold by the time we get home.”

The thought sensation that came back at Alice from Bette explained it better than any words. “You can have one piece when it is hot to taste. You’ll like it cold though.” Bette glanced at her in the rear view mirror. “But you already know that.”

Alice was licking off fingers as they got on the highway west towards the Rockies. “Mom, can I ask you a question.”

Bette seemed surprised by this request. “Of course, honey. You’re either learning etiquette or it might be something I can’t answer, but shoot.”

“What do you know about my mother?” Alice watched Bette squirm under her seat belt as the car rocketed along. Many times Alice had searched for this in Bette’s thoughts, but had never found a satisfactory answer.

Bette paused a moment before going into her answer. “She was homeless, that much I know.”

Alice’s shoulders slumped.

“She had red hair like yours. She also gave you those gorgeous green eyes. Her name was. Her name was Norma.”

Alice smiled a little. “You didn’t know the doctor was going to kill her, did you?”

Bette shook her head. “I had a feeling, but I did not know how he was going to do it. I also didn’t know how quick he was going to, either.”

Alice nodded. “I did. And my mother was a prostitute. Also a drug addict.”

The surprise from Bette’s thoughts showed she was not expecting this. “You knew that already?”

Alice continued. “She was getting cleaned up and had a man who treated her well. I don’t know for sure, but I think he is my father.”

Bette just listened.

“His name is Greg, I think. He was supposed to be with her at the hospital when I was born.”

Bette was about to ask a question, but Alice sent her a thought before she could. “Because I didn’t want to talk about this before.

“You don’t know your father’s last name?”

Alice shook her head. “I don’t think mom even did.”

They drove in silence for a few minutes.

Passing a gas station and diner, Alice sensed something and snapped her head around. “What…?” Her hands went to her face.

Military vehicles were parked out front of the diner, but nothing else noticeable to Bette. Bette glanced back. “Are you okay? What’s the matter?”

“I recognized something…someone…”

“Do you need me to stop?”

Alice whispered a name that Bette had hoped to never hear again. The name caused her to push the accelerator of the car to the floor…

“Doctor White.”

Welcome to Denver

October 20, 1972, 4pm

Neville pumped gas into the small white Datsun. He was amazed at how he could fold his six foot frame into the tiny vehicle.

As usual, the trip was going without incident. They were currently taking a break in Des Moines, Iowa before heading on to South Dakota. Bette had told Neville that Parkston, South Dakota would be the last stop before getting to mountains in Colorado.

Bette stepped from the car. “I have to make a phone call. I’ll get some snacks and pay for the gas.” Her brunette hair was held in a pony tail over the back of her red tee shirt. It came half way down to the waistband of her blue jeans.

Neville leaned down and kissed her. “Go for it. Be adventurous.”

Bette playfully slapped his shoulder.

Alice gurgled from the back seat.

Neville smiled at the baby. “What are you looking at?” A seemingly random thought crossed his mind, “You love her. You really…”

The pump nozzle clicked off suggesting the tank was full.

Neville shook his head. The voice in his head did not sound like one he had heard there before. He put the pump back in its cradle. He brushed some dust off his own jean jacket which he wore over a white tee shirt. Glancing at Alice through the glass, he whispered as a joke, “Was that you? Are you in my head now?”

“Of course it was me.”

Neville almost fell over.

Alice’s eyes were fastened to his. She cooed at him.

“You can…” He was even more shocked when the week old child nodded. “Nah, nah…I’m seeing shit now. And hearing shit.”

“No, you’re not.”

He glanced over at the gas station.

Bette was just coming out with a grocery bag and she turned left to the phone.

Neville glanced down the road and saw a dark blue sedan off in the distance. It seemed odd, for some reason that he could not yet specify.

“Trouble. Get in the car.”

Neville glanced back down at the child. “What?”

“Neville!!!” Bette screamed as she sprinted to the car. “I don’t know how, but they’ve found us.”

Neville was in the drivers door and starting the ignition as Bette got in. “There is a sedan coming up the road behind us. Do you know it?” He pulled onto the road and accelerated.

Bette glanced around. “I see it, but no.”

“So what happened?”

“Wendy says there are three cars watching her place. That means they have found her. So, we run to the mountains, now.”

He pushed the engine to the speed limit. “Where to?”

“We can be in Denver in about twelve hours.”

“Make it fifteen.”

Bette looked at him. “Why?” Her gaze returned to the car behind them.

“There will be snow down there. If we push our luck we could get a speeding ticket…least of our problems, or we could get noticed by someone who does not know what vehicle they are looking for.”

Bette’s eyes dropped to Alice and just stared for a moment. “Good point. Don’t push our luck unless we are certain we have been seen.”

“We have another problem, though.” Neville said and followed it with a low whistle.

Bette turned around and saw the flashing lights in the distance of a road block. “That can’t be coincidence.”

Neville pulled off the side of the road and stopped the vehicle. They were close enough to see six officers in cowboy style hats milling about as they interviewed the only two drivers stopped before letting them go. “Now what?” he asked.

Almost in answer to his question, the blue sedan passed them doing an incredible speed. The driver even waved as he went past. It was Tony.

“Tony? What the fuck are you doing?” Neville pulled back on to the road and slowly followed.

Tony took the long curve before the road block. The sedan accelerated further.

Five of the six officers stood out front of the three cruisers along the side of the road.

For Tony, this made them easy targets as the sedan hit the group just after crashing through the wooden road barriers.

Two officers went up in the air. Two went flying to either side of the sedan. The last vanished beneath the car. The carnage ended as the sedan hit, head on, the first police cruiser.

Bette gasped at the scene.

“Oh, Tony,” Neville said as he continued slowly behind about 100 yards back.

Tony, all seven foot of him, emerged from the car with a shotgun. His black skin was a strong contrast to his white short collar and white pants.

“Holy shit.” Neville sensed what was happening and started to accelerate.

The single remaining office fired off twice at Tony. Tony reacted by falling back against the car. He then raised his shotgun and returned a single shot as the officer fired a third time.

Neville and Bette blasted through the scene and past the cruisers doing nearly 100 miles per hour..

Neville watched in his rear view mirror and saw both the office and Tony fall.
Bette began to turn.

Neville put his right arm on her shoulder. “Don’t.”

October 21, 1972, 8am

Neville awoke with the sound of the Datsun accelerating. Alice slept clutching his chest as they shared the passenger seat.

Bette, with red eyes, pulled off the highway onto Wadsworth. Noticing that Neville had stirred, she forced a slight grin. “Welcome to Denver. Well, technically, or safe house is in Lakewood, but whatever.”

Neville grunted. “Coffee?”

She nodded. “Will you be able to drive? Enough rest.”

“I’m good.” Neville straightened in his seat. “Coffee will make me better.”

Bette pulled into the parking lot of a small diner. “He’s dead, isn’t he? Tony, I mean.”

That female voice said in Neville’s head, “No, he’s not. But he now wishes he was.”

Neville glanced up at Bette with wide eyes. Her eyes answered the question before he asked, “You heard her, too, didn’t you?”

Bette nodded. “Yes.” Her eyes searched Alice. “I didn’t expect this.”

Conference in the Cottage

Author’s note…this is chapter four of The Evolution of Alice O’Connor…be warned, dear reader, that chapters one, two and three are not erotica.  Though there will be further chapters including such, the over-all larger work is intended as more science fiction, than anything.

October 18, 1972, 10pm, just east of Gary, Indiana

“You sure you don’t mind?  What are you, six foot? You’ll never fit on that thing.” Bette stood in front of the full leangth mirror beside the bed pulling a brush through her brunette hair.  It fell most of the way down the back of her white tee shirt to the waistband of her blue jeans.

Neville looked at the tiny piece of furniture that Tony, the owner of the motel, had referred to as a sofa. “No, I’ll be fine.” He folded his shirt and left it on the tiny dresser at the end of the double bed.  “If I am too uncomfortable, I’ll sleep on the floor.”

The sofa, more a love seat, was a burgundy fabric and lived under the front window of the cottage. The kitchenette was along the back wall beside the bathroom. The room itself was faux log cabin style.  The kitchen had been filled with enough food and drinks for the next two nights.  Tony had even left a mickey of scotch, a six pack of beer, and two small wine bottles…one red and one white.

“I have a question,” Neville said as he opened the drawer of the dresser. As with Mavis’ safe house the night before, there was a new set of clothes waiting for him. He ran his hand over his short blonde hair and closed the drawer again. He still wore his black slacks and his white undershirt.

Bette tried not to look at Neville and his rippling chest muscles. She had not truly noticed just how athletic Neville was until he had taken off his shirt moments ago. “What?”

“We need to discuss a few things.”  Neville sat on the tiny love seat and scratched his chin.  “We need to have a conference on what is going on.”

Bette glanced over at him.  “A conference? That wasn’t a question.”

“Why are we staying in one place so long? Why are we not traveling again tomorrow.”

Bette shook her head. “Don’t worry about it.”

“Now hold on here. I volunteered for this. It seems to me, I should know the general plan.”

Bette ignored him and continued brushing.

Neville walked around the bed and stood behind her. “Bette, I want a fucking answer. If I’m going to protect Alice…”

Bette turned on the taller younger man and held her brush threateningly with her right hand. “You’re protecting?”

“Yes, we…”

“You have no fucking clue what you have gotten yourself into here.” Bette’s face turned red. “This is my life…”

Neville grabbed her wrist holding the brush. “And now it is my life, too!”

She slapped him with her left hand.  “Don’t you…”

“Don’t what?” Neville gasped, and felt his cheek with his free hand. His blue eyes wide with shock.

Bette then reached up and grasped the back of his neck. She pulled him down to her level and planted the wettest kiss she had ever planted on anyone.

As the kiss broke, another gasp from Neville. His eyes even wider.

She looked up at him. “Of course you’re right. We’re both protecting her.”

Neville looked relieved.

“I’ll tell you what you need to know on one condition.” Bette was breathing hard as well.

“Condition?”

“I need to fuck you, right now.” The good Catholic girl that Bette had grown up as was shocked by the words that escaped her lips. She was even surprised further as, with little effort, Neville ripped her white tee shirt at the collar and had it off of her.  A vision of her twelfth grade algebra teacher, Sister Mary-Anne, danced through her head before she blocked it out.

Neville kissed her again as his hands pulled the zipper down on her jeans and unfastened the button. They slipped down with her panties. “You’re so tiny,” he whispered. “I don’t want to hurt you.”

She looked up at him as her hands worked on getting his pants off. “We’ll call this a teaching conference than, shall we? We’ll teach you just how unbreakable I am.”

Neville chuckled. “Always good to learn new things.” He assisted pushing his own pants and underwear to the ground. He was left in his undershirt.

Bette, with nothing but her bra still on, tackled him onto the bed. She crawled between his legs and sat back on her knees. Her tiny hands grasped his forming erection and began stroking him. “Wow,” she said looking closely at it.

Neville enjoyed the touch. “Come on, I’m not that big.”

Bette grinned. “Not that small either. However, I’m just thinking it is too long since I held one.”

“Oh, I see.”

“And since I licked one.” Her tongue found the base and ran up his length.

Neville moaned with enjoyment.  “Please…continue.”

“Or, for that matter, much too long since I sucked on one.”

Neville locked eyes with her and watched his erection vanish between Bette’s lips. He shook his head, “Any time you want to do that, please…I will take these learning conferences whenever you like.”

She stopped and giggled. “Well,” she said in a low secretive voice. “What I really like is to 69.”

Neville was surprised at her even knowing what that was.

“But with out size differences, I doubt that is happening. Just have to take turns.” Her eyes studied the veins and head of his erection before sucking it into her mouth again. She kept him in, this time, until he began squirming and filled her mouth with semen. She licked her lips after swallowing it all.

Neville tried to sit up.

Bette was too fast, though. She was up and pushed him back down before straddling his head with her powerful legs. She soon found she was right in that while Neville’s tongue quickly found her clitoris, she lay forward on him. The top of Bette’s head only got to Neville’s belly button. Her hands reached further, and worked to bring his erection back to attention.

Neville explored her vagina with his lips. His hands reached up and grasped her ass to pull her harder on the his face. He even let his fingers push into her anus, and was surprised at how she wanted more. He sucked her clitoris into his mouth as far as she could. He had his pointer finger in her ass to the second knuckle as she started to orgasm and her juices sprayed, literally, on to his face.

This time, Bette allowed Neville to guide her.

He pushed her off of his face and then onto her back on the bed. He knelt between her legs and grasped each of her ankles. Neville pulled her ankles so that they rested up on his shoulders, one on each side of his neck. He started to suck on her toes just as he pushed his erection inside her.

Bette screamed in pleasure. She bent her legs and planted her feet flat on his chest so he could get deeper.

Neville pounded his 23 year old cock into her 34 year old body like piston.

Bette orgasmed just ahead of him and sprayed again.

Neville allowed his cock to explode inside her before quickly dismounting and his lips returning to taste their mixed juices.

Bette slipped onto her right side and Neville snuggled in behind her.

“Thank you,” she whispered and bent her neck to kiss him.

Neville accepted the kiss without words.

“For starters, we cannot go tomorrow as the next safe house won’t be ready yet.”

“Okay, I understand,” he whispered and nibbled her ear lobe.

Bette giggled. “We’ll be stopping in Parkston next.”

“Parkston?”

“South Dakota.”

“Ah, I’ve never been laid in the Dakotas. Good to know that may change.”

Bette playfully smacked him.

“Oh, am I wrong?”

“Hell, no. Other than eating, I’m not letting you out of this room tomorrow.  You’ll get laid in Dakota as well.”

Those words seemed to wake his erection up again. Neville grasped it with his hand. He pulled his upper torso back from her shoulder. “Well, I think we need one more conference before we sleep…if that’s okay with you.”

“Fuck, yes,” she whispered as she felt him slide his cock back into her.

October 20, 1972, 9am

“Thank you, Tony.” Bette pulled the tall black man down and kissed his cheek.

“Bette, for you, anytime.”  He stepped to Neville and offered his hand.  “Neville, it has been an honor.  You take care of these princesses now.”

Neville shook Tony’s hand.  “Yes, sir.”

“Don’t be calling me sir, now.  Make me feel all old.”  He slapped Neville’s shoulder and both chuckled.  Tony then stepped to the open back door of the white Datsun.  “As for you, Princess Alice.  If you ever have a problem, come find Tony.”

Alice cooed and her tiny arms reached up to him.

“Considering you three have not run into trouble yet, perhaps this trip is blessed.”  Tony stepped back from the car and closed the door.  Compared to the white Datsun, his red plaid shirt and blue jeans made him look bright.

“Tony, a quick question.”  Bette took his hand in hers.

“Of course, Bette, anything.”

Neville walked around the car and waited.  He already knew what she would ask.

“You said the motel was full.  Why have we not seen anyone else?”

Tony’s seven foot body shook with laughter.  “Ole’ Tony got instructions from a higher power.”

“You’re atheist, Tony? Aren’t you?”

“Yes, Bette, but don’t tell the locals that.  T’wouldn’t be good for business.  Miss Mavis, however, phoned after you left Erie and told me I was to put you two in the same room.  Seems she thinks herself something of a matchmaker.”  Tony led Bette to the car and opened the door.  “Now, much as I enjoy talking to you young folk, you better get moving.  I’ll be in Yukon, myself, hopefully a month behind you.”

Neville popped open his door.  “Thank you, Tony.  And I already knew Mavis was a higher power.”  He lowered himself into the vehicle, closed the door and started the ignition.

Bette gave Tony one more kiss on the cheek before she slipped into the car and Tony closed her door.

Tony stood and watched the car pull out of the dirt parking lot and back onto the road before going into his office.  He picked up the phone and dialed without looking.  “Wendy, it is Tony.”  A big smile appeared.  “They are on their way to you, my love, but Tony has a bad feeling.”  His smile evaporated.  “Yes, ole’ Tony remembers what happened the last time he had a bad feeling, and that’s why I will be right behind them.  Do you have room?”  He allowed a guarded chuckle.  “Yes, we’ll have a conference or something.  I hope that is all it will be.”

First Step

October 18, 1972, almost 8am

“We can’t go direct.”

Neville waved to Mavis and her red brick bungalow after he backed the white Datsun out of the driveway.

Bette sat in the passenger seat with Alice in the crook of her left arm and holding a bottle for the infant in her right hand. “We need to make sure we are not tracked.”

Neville shifted into first gear and the engine pulled them forward. “So on to where, exactly?” I found Yukon on the map and figure, direct, that would put us in Chicago then through Iowa and Nebraska.”

“We have a safe house in Gary, Indiana tonight. Not far from Chicago. Then, starting tomorrow once we are out of the big city areas we go a bit off track.”

Neville guided the car towards the highway. “Okay, no problem. Are they all like Mavis? I liked Mavis.”

Bette grinned at him. “Mavis is wonderful. She’ll put the house up for sale and be in Yukon, herself before long.”

“Wow, so this little girl is that important, is she?”

“Mavis touched her.”

Neville cocked his head, not certain how to take that. “Okay.”

Alice finished her bottle and lay her tiny hands on Bette’s shoulder as she was lifted for a burp. She quickly responded with the belch of a beer drinker.

“Does this child ever cry?” Neville asked as he turned the car on to the westbound highway.

“Of course. Right now she feels safe, though.”

The threesome traveled a few hours with small talk and the occasional infant coo. The day was unseasonably warm for late October. The leaves along the side of the highway had begun to change colors and flapped in the slight breeze. The sky was bright blue and nearly cloudless. Their trek took them through Cleveland, Ohio without stopping. A gas and lunch stop was declared in Toledo, Ohio.

Neville filled the car and enjoyed the warm breeze in his gray tee shirt and black slacks. His short blonde hair was like a helmet from the sweat of spending the day under the windshield acting as a magnifying glass for the sunlight.

Bette got out of the car and laid the sleeping infant in her basket on the back seat. “I need the washroom, so I’ll pay and get us something inside.”

“Go ahead. Need a pit stop myself, but after you.” He lowered himself back into the driver seat, but left his feet out on the asphalt.

Bette had her brunette hair in a long pony tail. She had jeans and a white tee shirt. The woman was in excellent shape on her petite frame.

Neville enjoyed the view watching her walk up to the store entrance. “If only,” he whispered.

Alice coughed once and began to cry.

Neville waited a moment, looking at the baby that was now thrashing under her blankets. He got up and walked around to her. Opening the back door, he leaned over her and stroked her cheek. “What can I do, darlin’?” He felt fear and confusion wash over him.

Immediately, Alice stopped crying and her eyes met his.

Neville felt calmness return and then a thought went through his head. Warm. He pulled the blanket down and left Alice in just her white jumper.

Alice cooed at him and bubbles formed at her lips. She reached out with both hands and grasped his right thumb.

Neville felt happiness suddenly bubble through him. He also felt safe. He played with Alice and his fingers and was soon giggling.

“Did you touch her?” Bette’s voice was close behind him.

Neville turned around, and felt even more happiness wash over him. “She was crying, and…”

Bette was smiling. “Now you’re stuck with us.” She had a large bag of potato chips and two bottles of soda in her arms. “You’ve felt it, haven’t you?”

“Felt what?” Neville turned back and saw Alice’s eyes were passing between Bette and himself. His heart warmed as her eyes moved. “Wait, you mean she is controlling how I feel?”

Bette nodded. “She’s evolved.”

Alice released his thumb and the feelings softened, but did not vanish.

“Wow,” Neville whispered and looked at his own hands.

Bette took over driving. As they pulled out of the gas station, she gave some explanation. “Alice is the next evolution of humanity. Being she is the first we have saved, we are not completely sure what she can do. The empathic control is all I know, so far.”

“She’s fucking empathic?”

Bette nodded.

“What does empathic mean?”

Bette laughed. “It means she can sense your feelings. Not sure on specifics, though.”

Neville sat quietly for a moment. “She sent me a thought, too.”

“We won’t know until she has language, but I think she is telepathic as well.”

The drove in silence for awhile before finally opening the chips and sodas.

They arrived at a group of cottages just outside of Gary, Indiana as the sun dipped below the horizon. The cottages were a small motel hidden amongst trees just off the highway.

A tall black man met them at the door to the office. He had a very short afro of hair and large chocolate brown eyes.

“Tony!” Bette screamed and threw her arms around the giant. She barely came up to his ribs in height.

Neville, who was six foot himself looked up at the man. Neville clutched Alice who, once again, played with his fingers. He felt calmness and wonder surging through him as she did. He also felt a tinge of fear as the child got sight of Tony.

“Tony, this is Neville. Neville, Tony.”

Tony nodded, “Hi, Neville.” His voice was the lowest bass Neville had ever heard. He stepped toward Neville and offered his finger to the child. “This must be the child.”

Alice grasped Tony’s finger gently at first. Then with more force.

Neville felt her joy and relief as she now trusted Tony. “We call her Alice.”

Tony slipped his arm under the child and lifted her from Neville. “Welcome, Princess Alice. You and ole’ Tony are gonna have a good time while your parents rest. Is that okay?” His eyes lit up. “Yes, this will be perfect.”

Bette stepped back from the giant.

Tony’s eyes moved from the baby to Bette and Neville. “No problems?”

Bette shrugged. “Not yet. Hopefully not ever.”

Tony held the child with his left arm. With his right he fished a key from his pocket. Handing it to Neville he explained, “I wish I could give you separate rooms, but one of my employees did not do as instructed. We were to keep two rooms open.” He glanced at Neville specifically. “My apologies, but the sofa is actually pretty comfortable.”.

“Thank you,” Neville answered. “Anything will do.”

Tony’s eyes shifted to Bette. “How long?”

“We will stay here two nights and then on our way.”

Tony nodded. “Good. There is a pool out back of the third cottage if you like. Otherwise bath water will be warm. I’ll leave breakfast on your stoop at about six.”

Neville thanked him again and turned to go rest his sore body.

“Hope you don’t mind, but Princess Alice and I are going to have a party.” He turned his face back to the infant. “Aren’t we? Oh yes we will.”

Alice released his finger and her little right hand clasped Tony’s nose.

Tony howled in laughter, but let her keep her hand there.

Erie Rest

October 17, 1972, almost 3am

Alice snored quietly on the back seat.

“So you remember it?”

Neville rolled his eyes. “Yes, my love. I’ve got it.”

“Don’t make light of this.” She reached over and stroked his shoulder. She was certain they were being watched.

The snow had started, the first snowfall of the year, as Bette had navigated the white Datsun along the QEW and around the Golden Horseshoe at Hamilton. Now, as they idled second in line at the border crossing that would take them into Niagara Falls, New York, the snow began to accumulate on the ground.

Bette’s brunette hair was let down from the bun she had started in and fell down her back. She had stopped at a coffee shop in Grimsby in order to fix her hair, change their clothes, as well as change and feed Alice. Under the circumstances, she would have like to have changed cars as well but she did not have the money to fund that.

The light went green and Bette allowed the Datsun to roll forward.

“Nationality?” The customs guard was a large man sitting on a small wooden stool. Very little hair showed under his hat and he seemed to have more in his mustache. His eyes were small and dark. He yawned as he looked over the little vehicle. His booth was metal framed with bus shelter style glass. His name tag claimed his moniker to be Wayne Peterson.

Bette smiled at him. “Canadian.”

“Where are you headed?”

“Raleigh, North Carolina.”

The officer’s eyebrows raised. “I bet it’s warmer there.”

“That’s why I got my golf clubs,” Neville said from the passenger seat.

Bette held her smile though she wanted to hit Neville for improvising. With no golf clubs in the vehicle, this could get awkward if the officer did not believe them.

“Reason for your visit?”

Bette allowed herself to improvise in the hope of keeping consistent, “Well, he’s golfing, but I am visiting my aunt and uncle.”

“Not bringing any fruits or firearms with you?””

Neville spoke up again. “Other than the baby and her exploding diapers, no.”

Bette felt her heart jump into her throat, but hoped it did not show on her face.

The guard’s eyes widened and his mouth thinned as a puff of white breath snorted from his nose. He had not seen the child. He stood up and showed just how round he was. He was not very tall, so did not have to bend to peer in the back window. “How old is she?”

“Three months,l” Bette answered. “We just got her to sleep.”

Alice shifted and cooed lightly.

Wayne’s concern look evaporated at the sound. “I wish my monsters had stayed that age. She’s gorgeous.”

Bette felt the relief hit her. “Luckily, she got Neville’s looks.”

Wayne looked closer at the couple. He locked eyes with Neville and said, “You’ll forgive me for saying, sir, that your wife is selling herself short here.”

Neville grabbed Bette’s hand and smiled. “She always does.”

“Have a nice trip, folks!”.

As they accelerated away, Bette pointed out, “You realize he had not even seen her, right?”

The next three hours were spent in silence.

Bette piloted the car into a gas station just inside the city limits of Erie, Pennsylvania. “Would you mind?”

Neville got out and filled the car. He pulled the passenger door open and waited as Bette completed a big yawn. “Can I get you anything.”

She grinned and shook her head. “We have a safe house here. We’ll get some rest and food there.”

Neville nodded and went inside to pay.

The last of their journey took twenty minutes. Bette pulled into the driveway of a small brick bungalow where the empty garage lay open waiting for them. Bette shut off the engine, got out and shut the garage door.

A small white haired woman appeared at the door. “Bette? You made good time. No problems?”

Bette grinned at Neville. “No problems. Neville, this is Mrs. Caruthers.”

Neville shook the woman’s hand.

“Welcome, Neville, and it’s Mavis.” Her eyes looked at the car. “The child?”

Bette opened the back door and pulled the still sleeping child out. “Alice was a star.”

Mavis took the basket and a bright smile formed. “Alice? Welcome to Wonderland.”

She led them into the house. The decor was all Mavis’ family pictures covering near every inch of wall space.

Neville felt his mouth start to water at the smell of bacon frying.

“Bette, you know your room. Neville, bottom of the stairs, first bedroom on the right. Bathroom is straight across the hall. Breakfast will be in twenty minutes.”

“Thank you, Mavis.” Neville took two steps down before stopping. “Bette?”

“We leave tomorrow morning, so relax,” Bette anticipated his question.

“And Alice?”

Mavis smiled and smacked his shoulder playfully. “Alice is mine until you go. You two get some rest.”

Twenty minutes later, Neville sat at the table ready to devour the plate of bacon, sunny-side up eggs and white toast. He groaned in pleasure with the first bite of bacon. “Mavis, this is perfect.”

Mavis stood, leaning back on the white kitchen counter with matching white cupboards. Alice was cuddled in Mavis’ arms and drank from the bottle of formula Mavis held. “You are an angel,” Mavis whispered to the baby.

“She woke a couple of times during the drive, but was perfect otherwise.” Neville offered between mouthfuls.

“She knows Bette and you are helping her, she will be good for you.”

“Knows?”

Mavis’ eyes met his. “Bette hasn’t told you, has she?”

Neville answered by taking a bite of toast.

Mavis grinned at him. “Alice knows, believe me.”

Neville shrugged. “Bette told me that Alice has evolved. I hope someone tells me what that means before I’m walking her down the aisle at her wedding.”

“Alice is the first one of the evolved that we have saved.”

Neville blinked and sipped his orange juice.

“Are you a Christian?”

Neville shook his head.

“Of course not, Bette would not have chosen a believer. What do you know of Darwin?”

Neville shrugged. “We came from the sea.”

“In essence, okay. Alice is the next step.”

“How would we know if she is the first?”

Mavis shook her head. “I did not say she was the first. I said she is the first we have saved.”

“Oh, I see.” Neville slipped another piece of bacon into his mouth.

“My husband, Vince, had medical records that can track the appearance of the evolved back to around 1890. He was a doctor for the birth of three before he realized what was happening.”

Neville continued eating and listening.

Alice, bottle finished, cooed and grabbed onto Mavis’ fingers.

“The children were being taken and their parents were all killed almost immediately.”

“How do you know the child has evolved.”

Mavis smiled at the baby. “I do not know. Vince was able to pass on the information to some colleagues before they killed him. The colleagues started up a group that they called Pandora, which Bette and I…and I guess you now are part of.”

The shower in the downstairs bathroom turned on answering the question as to where Bette was.

“Wow, I didn’t know.”

“How old are you, Neville?”

Another sip of orange and bite of egg. “Twenty-three.”

“Let me guess, Bette seduced you into this, didn’t she?”

He nodded. “Maybe I am not…”

“No, you are the right person. Bette saw something in you that she trusts. I just hope you can forgive her if she does not feel for you as you would like.”

Neville thought for a moment, chewing on his next bite. “A challenge.”

Mavis looked down at Alice again. “What’s that.”

“She’s given me a challenge.”

Mavis smiled and cooed at Alice herself before saying, “That she has.”

Neville finished his plate and stood. He lay his cutlery on the plate.

“You go get some rest. I’ll take care of that.”

“Thank you, Mavis.” He turned to leave the kitchen. “One last thing, how has she evolved.”

Mavis chuckled. “You’ll know more about that than I do soon, believe me.”

Bette and Neville

October 17, 1972, just after 1am White made his way through the parking garage. The air was crisp, but not frigid yet. A slight breeze blew through the concrete barriers that looked out over Yonge Street and down towards Toronto’s waterfront. The baby was sleeping in the carrying basket dangling from his left hand. Though officially unnamed, the staff had …

Happy Birthday, Alice!

Friday, October 13, 1972, just before 8pm

“She has her mother’s scream, I think,” he said as the nurse took the crying infant from his arms.

The nurse quickly washed the child off, weighed her and wrapped her in a tiny blanket.

Doctor Larry White worked to stitch up his patient. The baby had been a decent enough size to rip her mother on the way out. “Bette? How big is she?”

Bette, the nurse, returned with the infant. “Twenty eight inches, nine pounds and six ounces.”

Doctor White let out a low whistle. “Were it a boy, that’s a linebacker.” His blue eyes smiled up at the woman in the stirrups. “Do you have a name picked out, Norma?”

The woman shook her head slowly, still dazed from the drugs.

Bette laid the child on her mother’s chest.

“My daughter is beautiful,” Norma whispered as she cuddled the baby.

The room was dimly lit save for the spotlight over Doctor White’s shoulder. The white walls had a gray tinge to them.

“Okay,” Doctor White said and stood up from his stool and moved the spotlight aside. “Bette, here is good to finish, so I will leave you be and check in tomorrow morning. Congratulations, she is a beauty.”

“Thank you.”

He snapped his gloves off and disposed of them into the tin trash container. “She’s a screamer, though, so I hope she let’s you rest.” He chuckled as he exited from 3-b into the brightly lit empty hallway. He walked straight down to the staff locker area. A splash of water on the face and washing hands before he changed out of his scrubs replacing them with a white tee-shirt, blue jeans and a matching jean jacket. A return to the sink to run a comb under the water and push back his black hair. One last glance in the mirror and he asked himself, “I wonder if a beard would look good?”

He wandered back out to the pay phone that was positioned near the nurse’s station. One orderly pushed a gurney down the hall as he passed.

Bette, now at the station, smiled and nodded. “She’s going to have a handful with that one.”

He nodded, chuckled and dropped a dime into the pay phone. His fingers flew across the numbers. He leaned against the white wall over the pay phone and kept his eyes on Bette as she moved to the far end of the counter.

Bette turned and opened a file drawer, searching for something. Her brunette hair was in a tight bun. Her white uniform was pressed perfectly.

“Yes, it’s White,” he said into the receiver with a voice quiet enough he hoped Bette could not here. He waited, listening to the voice on the other end. “Baby Jane Doe was born at oh-nineteen forty-four this evening.”.

He fished a crumpled pack of cigarettes from his jean jacket pocket and pulled one stick out. “Nine, six and twenty-eight.” He found his lighter next. “St. Gregory’s Hospital in Toronto.” The crumpled package returned into his pocket.

Another nurse, one White did not know, walked down the corridor checking rooms. She smiled at Bette before she wandered into 3-b.

He lit the cigarette and took a long drag. “Clockwork. She is the last one before they renovate the ward. No one else here…the place is completely empty other than staff.”. He nodded at what was being said on the other end as he looked around for an ashtray.

Bette started moving back down from the other end of the counter just as the alarm sounded for room. She spun to see what alarm was sounding and saw 3-b. She ran out the other end of the counter towards the room.

“It’s me, you expected less? Of course the mother is dead,” White said with a smile. He hung up the phone and tapped his cigarette on the ashtray. He had his concerned look on before Bette ran out the door to ask for his help.