(Disclaimer: A warning to those who continue. This is a sequel to a previous story. Both of these were written in the mid-1990’s. While the first one was slightly edited and vanity press published, this one has not been touched in over 20 years. I figure I should do something with it and people may get a laugh or fright from how I used to be. Every author comes from somewhere, so this is part of my origin. To that end, I am deeply sorry for whatever nightmares I will inflict on the literary world and the American English language. Enjoy?)
The Mandervale mansion is innocently covered in soft snow and a smooth coating of winter frost. Intricate designs of blinking lights are all around the three-story building and the large lake has become a flawless mirror of ice. This is possibly the most peaceful place in the town of Oceanhead. That is until a space skimmer lands on top of one of the rare statues far away from the mansion.
“I never did like that thing. She looked so worthless without a head,” mutters Hydrana as she climbs out of the ship. A dry trail appears in front of her as she walks toward the mansion’s dimly lit back door.
The inside of the mansion is warm and bright with crackling fireplaces and sweet scented candles. Expensive paintings and statues bring the rooms a cheerful feel, but the Neptune guardian only feels the burning touch of a long lost pain. It isn’t until she enters the servant’s kitchen that she finds a familiar face.
“Who are you?” asks a little woman once Hydrana turns the kitchen lights on. The woman is very old and she wears a fancy servant’s uniform. Her face is wrinkled and kind while her voice has the hint of a German accent.
“Rose? It’s me. Delila. The little girl you took care of years ago,” replies Hydrana in a child-like voice.
“My little Delila? Where have you been? How I’ve missed you, my little angel. Give me a hug.” The old woman hugs the planet guardian and immediately starts crying. This makes Hydrana very uncomfortable, yet it manages to help her regain a tiny bit of her mental control.
“I’ve missed you too. But keep your voice down. Are my parents home or on one of their long trips?”
“They’re home, dear. They are sleeping upstairs in the master bedroom. Where have you been for the past year? You just up and disappeared. The last sign we had of you was when your credit card bill was mailed to us ten months ago.”
“I left with three other people to protect the universe from evil. I know it sounds funny, but it turns out that I’m an immortal superhero. Just let me demonstrate before you say anything or laugh at me.” The teenager has a tendril of water grab a nearby box of cereal and then hands it to the stunned woman.
“Amazing. At my age it doesn’t do any good to get excited and to just take things in stride. By the look of that ship you came in, I would have to say you’ve been off Earth. The only place that type of vehicle can travel is in outer space with those strange engines. Why didn’t you tell any of us? All us were worried,” Rose whispers as she leads Hydrana into a large, private study.
“Don’t even start telling me that. You know what would have happened to me if I told my parents about what I have become. Dad would have found a way to make money off my abilities. Then, everything would be back to terrible normality,” says Hydrana when she lies down on a small, red couch.
“I know. Bill was never meant to be a father. Your mother acting very protective was quite understandable considering how she was raised. But at least she didn’t do the things that he did. I always felt responsible for what you went through because I could never protect you. So, you don’t have to tell me what would happen if he found out that you were back. Isn’t it too cold to wear that kind of outfit? This is the middle of a harsh winter and that skirt is so short.”
“Don’t try to change the subject. Anyway, an immortal’s body temperature changes very slowly. I won’t feel a chill for a few days. Can you answer a few of my questions before I have to do what I came here to do?”
“Of course. But, why have you returned after so long a time? If you tell me why, I might be able to soften the blows. Technically I am still your nanny until you turn twenty-one.”
“Then prepare to be hear another weird story. I might as well just go straight to the point of my arrival. I’m back because I am going insane and my loving father is to blame for my current . . . handicap. Don’t look so scared. As long as nobody tries to get in my way, I’m not crazy. As for my reason for returning, I’m here because I have to confront my father in order to get some kind of control. At least that’s what the voices are telling me. Now, what did they do after I disappeared?”
Rose slowly moves toward the far side of the room and rubs her hands together. Finally she says, “Your mother became very depressed and was silent for weeks. Of course, your father did nothing about your disappearance. He thought you were playing an unamusing game or prank in order to get something from him. I had to talk him into calling the police and even then he did it halfheartedly. After four months, you were presumed dead by your father and the search was called off. Even the credit card bill didn’t change your father’s mind. The bill had all of your favorite stores, but still he carelessly presumed you were dead.”
“Did I at least get some kind of funeral?” asks Hydrana as she thumbs through a family photo album.
“Sort of. Since there was no body to be buried, your father decided that there was no reason to waste money on either a memorial service or a real grave. There was no need to waste money on something that isn’t there anymore. That was his reasoning for being a cheapskate. Instead, your family went to church, which they, as you know, rarely did. After that, they . . . bought something to take your place.”
“What do you mean by bought something to take my place? I hope you mean some kind of dog or cat. Even a hamster.”
“Turn around.” Behind the planet guardian is a sleepy, little girl of no more than eight years old. The kid quietly rubs the sleep out of her hazel eyes and her red hair is tangled and messy. Her little pajamas are decorated with bunnies playing in a strawberry patch.
“A little girl with redhead and hazel eyes? She looks just like I did when I was that age,” mentions Hydrana as she kneels down to stare at the little girl. The child smiles and playfully stares back at the stranger.
After awhile the girl asks, “Who are you?”
“My name is Delila. I used to live in this house. Where did you come from?”
“I was brought here from California. My new parents named me Delila. I’m thirsty, Rose. Can I please have some water? Please.” When the girl raises an empty cup, Hydrana fills it with cold water from her fingers. As the small girl takes a drink, her little eyes stay on the nervous teenager that looks like an older version of the kid.
“Can you leave us alone, Rose? Just stay outside because I would like to talk with you in a few minutes.” The old servant obediently listens to Hydrana and leaves the two redheaded girls alone.
“How did you make the water?” the girl quietly inquires.
“The water? It’s one of my special powers. You’re a cute kid. When did you move into this big house?”
“Six months ago. They told me that their first daughter ran away and my new parents really missed her. All I know is that I got a new home and a new mommy and a new daddy. Are you a superhero? Like on my cartoons.”
“Sort of. I am a super heroine, but nothing like your cartoon heroes. I’m real and I look much better than they do. So, how have you been treated here? Are your new parents nice to you?”
“Mommy is really nice. But she won’t let me have too much fun and play because she gets worried. Of course, I don’t really mind because that just means she loves me. Daddy isn’t as nice as mommy. He gets very mad about the cost of toys and stuff that are new. Sometimes, daddy yells at me. Other times, an evil man that looks like him beats me up.” At this Hydrana stands straight up and the little girl pulls up her shirt to show off a large black and blue mark. The temperature in the room suddenly lowers to the point where the girl’s breath can be seen.
“You mean to tell me that your father hits you.”
“No. My first daddy used to hit me. My new daddy would never hurt me. He told me that when we were on the airplane. Why are you here?”
“To solve our problems. It’s getting late, so I will ask Rose to bring you to your room. Tell her to stay with you and protect you. Just like she tried to protect me. Now, go wait outside because I want to have a few private words with Rose.” Instead of leaving, the girl goes to the red couch and pretends to go to sleep. After Hydrana gets Rose back into the room, a dome of ice covers the couch, so that the girl can’t hear what is being said.
“Is she . . .?” begins Hydrana, but the specific word she wants to use doesn’t come out. Instead the dome simply quivers and shakes to reflect her anger.
“I’m afraid so. The girl is your replacement. I guess there is no other way to explain the child’s presence here. First of all, it was your mother’s idea to get another child. Since she thought you were dead, she wanted a young child that looked just like you. It has greatly helped her cope with your disappearance and has changed her completely. She never meant any disrespect toward your memory. One could say that thanks to little Delila, your mother doesn’t have to let go of you,” explains Rose in a nervous voice, which gives her a stronger accent.
“I know. I probably would have done something similar if I were put in my mom’s place. I’m not mad at her. It’s him I’m pissed off at. Seems that I inherited my father’s uncanny talent at causing pain to others.”
“Utter nonsense. Unlike him, you didn’t mean to harm anyone. It wasn’t your fault and you could not have fixed anything.”
“I can now. What does he do to her? I remember the verbal abuse and all of the . . . . . other things that he did to me. But he never beat me. Of course, I would personally think beating was a lot better than most of those other things.”
“He’s stopped doing that. Thankfully. Look, Delila. Why don’t you go to the police instead of doing anything drastic?”
“That wouldn’t be as much fun. The other guardians know about the verbal abuse and at least one of them knows about some those gross things he did to me. They want me to be stopped. Or pitied. But I don’t want either of those things. All I want right now is the vile taste of revenge on my lips,” says Hydrana as she slowly licks her lips and grins.
“If it is so vile, then why do you want it? I could expect that being sexually abused hurts unimaginably, but do you have to hurt him? You didn’t have to tell me your motives, since I have always been able to read your face.”
“I have to hurt him. It’s the only thing on my mind at this very moment. Don’t get in my way or I will do something that I will live to regret. Now, leave me alone and take the child with you. And do a good job of protecting her from anything that can hurt her. But I swear that nobody will have to worry about him ever again.”
Rose silently takes the sleeping child away once the dome is evaporated and they notice that two other people had entered the room while they were talking. Rose quickly scoops up the child and hurries out of the room. The new woman has brown eyes that look much younger than the rest of her. But she still appears as old as Rose, if not a few years older. The tall man appears many years younger than his wife does, except in his slightly wrinkled face and thinning, red hair.
“Just the demon I was looking for. So, now you’ve decided to switch sexual abuse with physical abuse. Does it work better on the kid or are you just getting more pleasure from it? Does it strike more terror in that innocent child than anything you ever did to me?” Hydrana says as she leans against a bookcase. The slightest touch coats the entire wall in a foot of ice.
“Delila? My baby. I’m sorry, Delila. We didn’t mean to hurt you,” cries her mother once the old woman snaps out of her trance. She gives Hydrana a big, sobbing hug, but Mrs. Mandervale is violently yanked away by her husband.
“Speak for yourself, Mary. This . . . thing is not our daughter. Our real daughter has been dead for months. We have a brand new child to look after. This freak is not our daughter. So, leave me with this creature and watch our real child,” he orders as he shoves his wife out the door and locks it behind her.
“Real child? New daughter? You mean my replacement, father. For god’s sake, I wasn’t a pet or a freaking piece of furniture! Regrettably, I was your own flesh and blood.”
“Shut up. No daughter of mine would have acted like she used to. Always wanting to play sports and spending her time with those three commoners. She even dated that pale-eyed boy that could never survive in our class. They were not on my family’s level of society. We were better and more superior than they were. Now, leave before I call the cops.” Hydrana picks up the nearby phone and tosses it to her father. He catches it and feels that the phone is freezing cold.
“Be my guest. They can’t stop me. I’m an immortal and have powers beyond your feeble and money-filled dreams. And those three commoners, as you call them, are my best friends. So, leave them out of this! All of them were, and still are, better than either of us could be. If anyone can be called monsters, I’d say the two of us could easily fill the part, father.”
“You’re insane!” her father exclaims as he starts to call the cops. Hydrana lets him finish before she pins the old man against the ceiling with a hot geyser.
“I am insane. But not for the reasons that you’re thinking of. The old me was right. It was a mistake for me to return and see you again. Because of all those things that you did to me, I almost killed the other guardians. Too many demons to control and nobody to help me stop them. Of course, you probably don’t even want to think about those that got hurt in our war. Actually, I’ll bet that the only thing that you’re thinking of at this moment is money. You’re wondering if you can become richer by using my powers and me. Well, it won’t happen.”
“Fine. Then put me down! I am your father and you owe me respect!” The water disappears and he painfully drops onto the couch. Hydrana simply stares at him with a wicked and sinister smile.
“Now you admit our connection. But it’s really too late because I’m not your loving daughter anymore. You’re fired from my life, old man. I’ve wasted enough time playing with your worthless hide. There are some bigger insects to squish in New York City. So, before I leave and flatten those cops I heard walk in the back door, I’ll give you exactly what I owe you. But it isn’t respect. Hope you’re ready for this since it will last for the rest of your pathetic, abusive life. This is my revenge, father,” explains the guardian while a long, thin ice spike grows on her finger. She quickly stabs her father along his spine with the thin spike. A full body ice patch stops the bleeding when she is done making small holes in his back.
“There we go. And this patch will prevent you from bleeding to death. Now, you have a crippling handicap like I do. B-Bye, daddy.”
In a matter of minutes, the space skimmer is speeding toward New York City. Left in its wake is a mansion filled with injured cops, a sleeping girl, a nervous pair of women, and a paralyzed, old man mumbling apologies.