Silverback Book Blurb:
The story so far…
This book is a fantasy science fiction. Previous Chapter. Molly has rescued the talking baby gorilla, Jace, from the animal park, after his sire, the Silverback, Ben, begged her to do so. Capable of speech, Jace is in danger of being turned over for scientific experimentation. Against all odds, and with the help of her friend, Andre, she manages to get Jace to her family’s car. They arrive home without incident, but now the proverbial hits the fan when her father suffers a heart attack and her mother hears Jace speaking.
BOOK BLURB FOR SILVERBACK – 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.
NOT MY DAUGHTER
There is no sickness worse for me than words that to be kind must lie.
Aeschylus ~ Greek Poet (525BC -426BC)
Molly ran down the hall and hurled herself into the living room.
“Mom, what’s wrong?” she gasped.
Her mother, Pet, knelt by her father, her hands gripping his shirt, shaking him. “No, no, no,” she moaned. “He’s dead.”
Molly reached her mother’s side in two strides. She grasped her father’s wrist, and wrapping her fingers around the clammy skin, was relieved to feel a weak, thready pulse. Watching his chest, Molly gave an audible sigh of relief when she saw the slight rise and fall. Reaching into her pocket for her cell phone, she swore. Empty. “Crap, it’s still in the van.”
She turned to Pet. “Mom, call nine-one-one. Then help me get him on the floor.”
Her mother stared at her.
Molly’s stomach churned. Her father’s face was pale, and his lips were mottled. She knew from her first aid course at school there wasn’t much time.
“Mom, please. We have to call them now.”
When her mother didn’t move, Molly jumped up. Grabbing her father’s shirt, she pulled him sideways from the chair onto the carpet by the coffee table. She stared at him. His chest rose, fell, and then … nothing.
“Oh, crap,” Molly said. “No, Dad, breathe, please, breathe.” She looked up. Her mother was on her feet, moving toward them.
“The phone, Mom. Grab the phone.”
A sharp sting exploded on her cheek, and she spun to face Pet. “Mom, what the-“
Her mother’s face was contorted with rage. She jabbed a finger at Molly’s chest. “He’s dead because of you. You killed him.” She raised her arm again.
Molly ducked, just in time to avoid a second blow. “Mom, stop,” she screamed. “You have to call an ambulance.”
Pet collapsed onto the sofa. Rocking back and forth, she moaned, her eyes squeezed shut.
She looked up, tears streaming down her cheeks. “If you’re alone, call first before starting C.P.R.,” she muttered, remembering her instructor’s directions.
Scrambling to her feet, she raced across the room to the portable phone base. The phone was gone. Molly spun around to face her mother. Sucking in a deep breath, she spoke in the calmest voice she could manage. “Mom, where is the phone?”
Pet looked up, her eyes swollen and red. “The boys took it upstairs.” She lowered her head back into her hands.
No time, no time, Molly thought. Ryker couldn’t hear her. There was only one option left if she hoped to save her dad’s life.
“Jace,” she shouted. “Jace, bring me the phone now!”
Pushing and tugging on her dad’s shoulders until he was flat, she began chest compressions.
“One, two, three, four, five, six, seven…”
Jace scampered into the room on all fours, followed by Ryker, both sets of hands empty.
Molly looked up. Ryker burst into tears when he saw his dad, but there was no time to explain. Molly sucked in a deep breath. “Jace, I need the phone.”
Jace looked puzzled.
Pet opened her eyes and screamed, pointing at the baby gorilla standing in her living room.
“Shut up, Mom,” Molly said, stopping the chest compressions long enough to sign to Ryker, “I need the phone to call an ambulance.”
Ryker nodded and bolted from the room, followed by Jace.
Seconds later, the gorilla returned with the phone.
Pet’s eyes widened. “Oh, my God. It’s true.” She gasped and fainted.
Molly’s hands trembled as she pushed the numbers on the keypad, and held the phone out to Jace.
“Jace, when you hear the person answer, say ‘ambulance,’ okay? Just say ‘ambulance.'”
Jace took the phone and stared at it.
Molly bit her lip so hard it drew blood as she continued chest compressions on her father’s motionless form. “Hold it to your ear. Say ambulance.”
Seconds later, Jace said, “Ambence. Ambence,” into the receiver.
Molly heard the static-filled reply from the dispatch operator asking for more details. “My dad,” she yelled across the room. “He’s not breathing.”
Jace made a face and held the phone away from his ear.
Molly glanced at her mother, who lay slumped on the sofa.
Ryker tugged on Molly’s shirt. “Is Daddy okay?” he signed.
Molly tried to give him a reassuring smile and nodded. “He will be, I hope.”
Pet moaned, and Ryker ran over to her, putting his little hand in hers and squeezing it tight.
Molly stopped the chest compressions and watched her father’s chest for a second. It rose and fell. He moaned softly.
“Thank God,” Molly said, her voice a sob.
Molly tried to roll him onto his left side.
Jace dropped the phone and hurried to help her. Together, they managed to roll him over.
Molly felt her dad’s wrist, wiping her tears away with the back of her other hand. She looked over at Pet and Ryker. “He has a pulse,” she said.
Pet stared at Jace and said nothing.
A siren wailed in the distance.
Jace’s eyes grew wide, and he scampered over to Molly.
“Jace, go with Ryker, and hide.” She turned to Ryker, signing as quickly as she could. “Please go to your room. Hide Jace.”
Ryker looked at Molly and back down at his mother.
“Please, hon. The men are coming to help Dad, but they can’t see Jace. They will take him away and hurt him.”
Ryker chewed his lip and nodded, tears still trickling down his cheeks.
Pet struggled to a sitting position. “What is it?” she gasped.
“Mom, not now.”
Jace scampered behind the sofa.
“Mom, I don’t know what are you talking about?” Molly said, one hand resting on her father’s side, relief washing over her as she felt the subtle rise-and-fall of his chest. “Dad’s breathing, but I think he had a heart attack,” she continued. “The ambulance is on the way.”
The sirens grew louder and then switched off as the emergency responders arrived.
Ryker ran across the room, picked up Jace, who wrapped his arms around Ryker’s neck, and hurried from the room.
“Come in, it’s open,” Molly shouted when she heard a man shout out.
Seconds later, the room was a flurry of activity as two men and a woman rushed to her father’s side.
Molly explained what she’d seen and done, and the tallest man, a burly man with gray hair and a beard, patted her on the back, as the other two lifted her father on a stretcher and carried him out to the ambulance.
“Good job, young lady.” He flashed a smile at Pet who hadn’t moved since they arrived. “You must be very proud of her.”
Pet stared at the man and lifted her hand to point toward the hallway.
“She brought a talking baby gorilla here.”
“Stop, Mom,” Molly said, her heart sinking.
Pet stood up. “My other children are upstairs with it. Ryan is sleeping. They’re in danger. It might attack them.” She moved over and grasped the man’s wrist. “You have to call the police. It talks.”
With the ease of someone who’d dealt with situations like this many times, the man took hold of Pet’s other arm and steered her toward the sofa, and helped her sit down.
“My name is George, and I’m a police officer. I was just heading into work when I heard the call go out and seeing as I live just around the corner, I thought I’d stop and see if I could assist.”
Pet nodded. “I’m Pet. That’s my husband they just took away.”
“Right, and he’s in good hands. Do you need a ride to the hospital? Is there anyone you can call? You’ve just been through a very traumatic experience.”
Pet pulled back and stared at the man. “You think I’m crazy? I’m not.”
George’s brow furrowed. “Ma’am, how much did you have to drink this afternoon?”
Molly stood listening to their exchange. George spoke in a gentle but firm tone, as though he were addressing a distressed child. She watched him pull a radio from his pocket, and speak softly into the receiver, using codes and words she didn’t understand.
“I’m not drunk. That gorilla talks. It’s all her fault.” She jabbed a finger at Molly. “She stole it.”
“Okay, okay, we’ll take care of this,” George said. He turned and looked at Molly. “How old are you?”
“Fourteen,” Molly said, sure her heart was going to beat through her chest wall.
“Are you able to stay with your brothers? Is there a family member you can call?”
“I can stay with my brothers. My Aunt lives about an hour away. I can call her.”
“No,” Pet said. “She can’t. The twins are disabled. Ryker is deaf, and Ryan has seizures.” She glared at Molly. “Where is it? Bring it down here.”
Molly held out her hands in a placating gesture. “Mom, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
A loud knock sounded on the door, and George stood. “Oh, good. My friends are here.”
A man and a woman walked in. The woman smiled at Molly. “We’re here to help your mom.”
“Tell them, Molly,” Pet said, her voice pleading now, as she realized what was happening. “I’m not crazy. The gorilla talks. Tell them.”
All eyes turned to Molly.
Molly shrugged her shoulders. “I got this, uh, toy gorilla from the animal park. It looks real.”
“Liar,” Pet shrieked.
“The animal park?” the woman said. “I just saw a news story about that. They just had a big fire this morning, and some of their gorillas are missing.”
“We were there,” Pet said. “She stole it.”
George turned to Pet. “Now this makes sense. Sometimes when the body experiences too much trauma all at once, your mind starts making things up, to try and -“
“No,” Pet said, her lip twisting into a sneer. “She stole it. She’s always been a trouble maker. It’s a talking gorilla. It understands what she says. It does what she says.”
Molly took an involuntary step back.
George inclined his head in Pet’s direction. “I think we need to take her downtown for an evaluation.”
“Tell them, Molly. I’m not crazy,” Pet said.
Tears tricked down Molly’s face. “I’m sorry, Mom.”
“Come on, let’s do this,” George said, and the others sprang into action.
As her mother was escorted from the room, George looked at Molly. “You probably saved your father’s life, you know.” He sighed. “I’m not making any promises, but he’s got a fighting chance thanks to your quick thinking.” He gave her a wan smile. “Don’t worry about your mom. She will be okay too.”
Molly sucked in a sharp breath, as Pet appeared on the outside of the open living room window. She’d broken free of her escorts and began pounding on the glass. “Tell them. Tell them I’m not crazy.”
Molly began to shake as the man and woman reached Pet, and taking her in a firm grasp under each arm, escorted her to a second waiting ambulance.
George sighed. “Would you like me to call your aunt and explain things?”
Molly nodded, staring at her mother’s retreating figure.
“I hate you,” Pet screamed over her shoulder. “You’re not my daughter. You never were.”
Molly felt a ripping sensation in her chest for the second time in her life. Did a broken heart physically hurt? Molly’s mind flashed back to the last day she’d seen Madeline alive. Yeah, it did. She sank onto the sofa, buried her face in her hands, and began to sob.