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 yet is, it might just change the world.
Summary – The Story So Far:
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. Molly’s mother has no time for her these days, and Molly has begun to resent her dead sister’s ‘perfect’ memory.
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.
Previous Chapter. Molly has just rescued the baby gorilla, Jace, from the animal park. Capable of speech, Jace is in danger of being turned over for scientific experimentation. Against all odds, and with the help of her friend, André, she manages to get Jace to her family’s car. They arrive home without incident, but now the proverbial hits the fan.
Hush Little Baby
Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become the greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom.
Rumi – Poet (1207-1273)
“Molly, wake up. We’re home.”
Molly started and sat up. Wiping her eyes, she allowed her foggy mind to sift through the transition from sleep to … Jace! Instantly wide awake, she scanned the back seat frantically for the baby gorilla. Jace was gone.
Molly’s heart slammed against her chest wall as she leaned down to see if he was under the seat.
Her mother, Pet groaned as she reached across the front seat of the van through the open door. “I’m telling you, Molly. You hit thirty, and your body starts falling apart.” Her mother straightened and put both hands on the small of her back. “I’m getting too old for these long car rides.”
“Where is he?” Molly began lifting towels, and blankets from the area behind the back seat, tossing them aside at random.
Plucking a DVD off the floor, Pet glanced up at her daughter. “What did you say?”
“My, uh, toy gorilla,” Molly said, emphasizing the word, toy.
“You named it? Seriously, I can’t believe you bought that thing. It’s so realistic; it’s creepy. Your brother has it.”
Molly grabbed the middle seat and the door frame launching herself out of the vehicle. “Which one? How long have we been home?”
“Twenty minutes. I can’t believe you slept through all the commotion. Ryan and Ryker were fighting over that silly thing.”
Molly sucked in a lungful of air and exhaled slowly, trying to calm her racing thoughts. She swallowed hard. “Where did they take him, I mean, it?”
Slamming the car door, Pet yawned. “I don’t know. But before you go running off, I want you to help me bring in all the dirty laundry.”
Molly knew this meant she would be doing all the laundry, while Pet took a nap, or watched television. She didn’t care. Right now, she had to find Jace. “Sure, Mom. I”ll do it, but where did the boys go?”
Before Pet could respond, Ryker came sauntering out of the house, and Molly’s tension deflated like a balloon, with an audible sigh.
Jace’s arms hung around Ryker’s neck, and the little boy supported the rest of the baby gorilla’s body carefully as he walked toward Molly and their mother.
“Oh my God,” Pet said.
Molly whirled to face her mother. What had she seen? Had Jace moved? No, she wasn’t even looking at him.
Gazing down at the DVD in her hand, her mother sighed. “I thought the boys brought this along, but this is one of Maddie’s.” She sniffed as large tears trickled down both her cheeks. “Do you remember this movie? You and Madeline watched it all the time, like ten times a day.”
Molly swallowed past the lump in her throat. “More like twenty, if I remember correctly,” she whispered. Memories flooded her mind, and for a moment, she was seven years old again, sitting in their old house.
She and Madeline shared a beanbag, eating buttered popcorn and drinking hot cocoa. Pet was pretending to be their waitress at a drive-in movie theater. Molly didn’t remember drive-ins, but their grandmother loved to tell them the tale of when she’d gone to watch movies on the ‘Big Screen’ outside, sitting in a car with her friends. It sounded romantic, at least that’s what Maddie said.
They were watching that movie, about a young girl with long braids and striped stockings, about to embark on yet another adventure. They loved that story with its happy ending. Pet leaned down and pulling their shoulders together, kissed them both on the cheek. “I love you so much, my precious baby girls,” she purred.
“Mom, we’re big girls, not babies,” Madeline protested.
“Big girls,” Molly echoed.
“As long as I’m living, my babies you’ll be,” Pet sang, quoting a line from one of their favorite books, ‘Love You Forever,’ by Robert Munsch. She reached down and caressed their cheeks. “Supper will be ready soon. I hope you haven’t ruined your appetites.”
A car horn sounded down the street and Pet sucked in a deep breath, shattering Molly’s daydream recollections. “I used to sing to you every night. Hush little babies, don’t you cry. Not baby, but babies.”
Molly gave an involuntary shudder as the pain of the memory sliced at her heart. She missed that Pet, the mother who’d loved them both equally. “I remember.”
Pet bit her lip, drawing blood, and her face took on a tortured expression.
Ryker looked at Molly and signed, ‘What’s wrong with Mommy?’
‘Sad,’ Molly signed back, moving between her mother and Ryker, and scowling down at Jace, who’d opened his eyes and was gazing up at Pet with a curious expression on his face.
Molly pressed a finger to her lips.
Ryker nodded, his expression solemn.
Molly stepped forward and placed a hand gently on her mother’s shoulder. “Mom, I know. I miss her, too.”
Pet shrugged out from under Molly’s touch. “You never liked my singing anyway.” Gripping the DVD in both hands, she strode away from her daughter, and disappeared inside.
Molly blinked back the tears forming in her eyes. When had Pet stopped loving her daughters equally? Before Madeline died? She didn’t know.
She glanced down as Ryker touched her arm to see two little faces looking up at her, four wide eyes filled with sorrow.
“It’s okay,” she said, choking on the second word. “It’s okay,” she signed.
Taking Jace from Ryker, she took her brother’s hand and followed her mother’s path up toward the house. They’d just reached the screen door when a pterodactyl scream tore through the hall from the living room.
Shoving Jace back into Ryker’s arms, Molly signed as fast as her fingers could form the words. ‘Go to my room with Jace and wait for me there. Lock my door.’
Ryker’s face paled, but he turned and lumbered up the stairs under the weight of the baby gorilla.
Molly took a deep breath. She’d heard that very scream just once before in her life.
The day her sister, Madeline, had died.