SILVERBACK BOOK SUMMARY: Molly’s twin sister’s death four years ago hasn’t been the only hardship her family has endured. It’s been one hard knock after another.
Now she has not one, but three little brothers to deal with, and it doesn’t help that two of the boys are disabled. Her mom wants to try again for another girl – a replacement for her dead twin, Madeline – the shining star everyone idolized.
When her family vacations in Florida, animal lover Molly is thrilled to spend her time at the animal park. It’s a chance to cast off her life-sucks attitude for a while.
When she receives an S.O.S. message from a gorilla behind the glass at the park, nobody believes her. Molly has no idea why or what she can do to help the Silverback, but she’s determined to figure it out.
It quickly becomes apparent doing so will change her family forever. What she doesn’t realize is, it might just change the world.
(This is Chapter Six of my new Science Fiction novel, Silverback. Previous chapters are available on this blog.)
Silverback ~ Chapter Six ~ In Plain Sight.
The maid hurried forward and pulled Molly into a hug, speaking a stream of Spanish. The maid drew back. “Dios la bendiga,” she whispered, reaching for Molly’s hand. She placed a small folded wad wrapped in a rubber band into Molly’s hand, turned and hurried away.
Molly glanced down at her hand, and her eyes grew wide. In her hand was a roll of hundred dollar bills so thick she knew without counting, there had to be several thousand dollars rolled up there. Ryker squirmed and looked up at his sister, signing the words bathroom and quick.
“I wish I knew Spanish,” Molly said, pocketing the money and walking into the restroom. She set Jace down carefully and helped her brother with his comfort check, as her parents called it. Winking at Jace, she walked out, leaving him inside the stall.
Ryker immediately signed that she’d forgotten the gorilla, and she feigned surprise.
“I’ll get him. You stay right here,” Molly signed back. Ryker played with the water still running down the sink.
“Are you ready, Jace?” Molly said in a low voice, keeping her back to Ryker.
“Yes,” came the soft reply.
Molly pushed open the stall door and scooped the little gorilla up.
“God bless you,” Jace said.
Molly snorted. “All I did was get you to a bathroom.”
“No,” Jace whispered. “The lady who hugged you. She said ‘God bless you.'”
“You speak Spanish?”
“A little. Still learning.”
Molly’s throat constricted. This little gorilla was only a few months old. Just how intelligent was he? She shivered, took Ryker’s hand, and used her shoulder to open the bathroom door.
“Guess I shouldn’t be surprised,” Molly muttered.
“Why?” Jace whispered against her ear. “My papa taught me.”
“Sshhh,” Molly said, glancing across at a young couple approaching them as a sheen of sweat formed on her face.
Hoisting Jace higher across her shoulder, she headed back to the parking lot. “We can talk later. Right now, I just have to try and get you home.”
Ryker pulled on Molly’s hand and grinned up at her. Using his free hand, he pointed to Jace and signed, ‘Gorilla.’
“Yes,” Molly said. “Toy gorilla.”
Ryker’s brow furrowed, and he shook his head back and forth. Pulling his other hand free, he signed, ‘Not toy. Real.’
Molly stumbled to a halt and stared down at Ryker.
“Toy,” she said, moving her lips slowly so he could read them.
‘Real,‘ Ryker signed. ‘His lips move.’
Molly chewed on her lip for a split second, then said, “Batteries.”
Ryker puffed out his frail chest in indignation. ‘Show me,’ he signed.
Molly closed her eyes tight, her mind racing. When she opened them, Ryker was signing to Jace. ‘Friends?’
Jace signed back, ‘Friends.’
“Way to go, little guy,” Molly said, giving an exasperated sigh. “What now?”
Ryker tugged on Molly’s tee-shirt. ‘Secret?’
A tiny spark of hope ignited in Molly’s chest, and she nodded. “Yes,” she said, speaking slowly and looking at Ryker. “We have to keep it a secret. Not tell anyone. Not even Mom and Dad.”
Ryker nodded, grinned, and gave Molly a thumbs-up.
As they climbed into the car, Molly ignored her mother’s frustrated glare. “I’ll sit in the back next to Ryker.”
“Thanks, honey,” her dad said, unlatching Ryan’s car seat and putting it in the middle. “Your mom wanted Ryan closer.”
“That’s what I figured,” Molly said, giving her mother a sickly sweet smile.
Her mother’s lips pressed into a thin line, and her eyes narrowed. “You don’t like sitting next to either of the twins,” she snapped.
“Geeze, Mom, I’m trying to be nice,” Molly retorted.
“Calm down,” Molly’s dad interjected. “You’re always saying you want Molly to act more like Madeline, so chill.”
“Of course, you have to bring Madeline’s name up, right?”
“Oh, now, Pet,” her father said, his voice tone soothing, as though he were addressing an anxious child. “I’m just pointing out-“
“Shut up and drive,” Pet snapped.
Molly sank down lower in her seat, resting Jace beside her.
Ryker leaned over and stroked Jace’s fur.
Molly held her breath, but Ryker just smiled up at her, as their father pulled out of the parking lot, turning the radio on and the air-conditioning up for Ryan who still looked flushed.
She stared out the window as they drove toward the interstate. No sirens or flashing lights so far, but the wad of bills she’d shoved in her pocket made her feel like a criminal. She suppressed a snort. Exactly what I am, she thought. The ugly truth of what she’d done couldn’t be denied. She wondered if that’s how the German’s helping Jews escape during World War Two. Did it exonerate you if you were doing something illegal for the higher good?
Deciding to worry about it later, she closed her eyes, still listening for the sounds of sirens, signaling her demise.
A few minutes later, Ryker leaned against her side and closed his eyes just as Jace’s head drooped against her right knee.
When she looked down again, Ryker’s pale hand was wrapped around Jace’s furry one, and both youngsters were sound asleep.
Molly felt a surge of warmth fluttering in her chest. Maybe little brothers weren’t so bad after all.