Darcy was scared. She had been scared before, but normally that fear was caused by what she knew was coming. Often she was scared because her Dad had been drinking the gross smelling Liquid and that makes him angry, or she was scared because her mother hadn't gotten out of bed and so she didn't get fed, or she was scared because the bullies at school would be walking towards her with anger in their eyes. But this time the feeling of fear came from the unknown. She didn't know what was going to happen next, and that truly terrified her.
Darcy knew what a hospital was, for her age she had been in one quite a few times. Her father always standing over her claiming her clumsy nature for the bruises, broken bones, sometimes even injuries that required stiches. But she always remembered the getting there; this was the first time that she awoke in the hospital and she was on a bed, something else that had never happened before. Normally she was treated in emergency and then her father would take her home telling everyone she was too scared of hospitals to spend the night. But somehow Darcy Elizabeth Lewis found herself at what she could only assume was the local hospital, in a room by herself. She looked outside and saw it was morning, the sun just starting to rise, wondering what today had in store for her she waited.
As she was looking around the room Darcy noticed the door open. Glancing towards it she watched as a man in a white coat, a woman wearing nice clothes and a man in a suit walked in.
The woman spoke first.
'Hello Darcy, my name is Miss Sif. Do you remember why you are here?'
The woman voice was soft and soothing, and Darcy wanted to answer her question, but she honestly couldn't remember what had happened, just darkness and pain. Darcy shook her head.
'That's okay sweetie, perfectly normal.' The woman, Miss Sif, said, smiling a comforting smile at her. 'There was an accident last night, some of your neighbours called the police when they heard shouting and screaming from your house. When the police arrived they found you hurt and so called an ambulance that brought you here.'
Darcy nodded, knowing that often when her father drank the Liquid it led to him getting loud and angry. He must have had a lot last night, because he had never been so loud to alert the neighbours. She hoped he wasn't still angry when she went home, because if he was then she would probably end up hurt again. Darcy looked around the room wondering if maybe he was hiding somewhere. Noticing her looking around Miss Sif smiled again.
'Your father isn't here' she said looking at Darcy straight in her eyes. 'The police took him, he won't hurt you anymore.'
Darcy wondered if it was a trick. Was her father just hiding until she put her guard down? Then would he jump out and get her like so many times before?
But there was something in Miss Sif's eyes that made Darcy believe her, Darcy knew she was telling the truth. Again Darcy nodded, looking between Miss Sif, the doctor and the man in the suit.
'This is Doctor Odin,' Miss Sif said gesturing to the old man in the white coat. 'He is the one who helped fix you up. And this is your Uncle Phil.'
When Miss Sif said his name, the man in the suit stepped forward.
'Hey Darcy,' He said in a soft voice, as if trying not to spook her. 'You probably don't remember me because the last time we met you were just a little baby. I am your mothers' brother.'
This made Darcy sceptical. He certainly didn't look like her mother; her mother had long dark hair, whereas this man was almost bald. Her mother's eyes were a dark brown whereas this mans were a clear blue. And he certainly didn't act like Darcy's mother, who enjoyed spending all day in bed drinking the Liquid and smoking the weird smelling things, not getting out even when Darcy had to go to school. Not knowing whether to trust this man or not, Darcy looked back to Miss Sif, who she assumed was in charge of the situation.
'What's happening,' she managed to croak out, her voice sore from, apparently, screaming and unused.
Miss Sif smiled again, but this one had a touch of sadness.
'Honey, you can't live with your parents anymore. What they were doing was wrong, very wrong; they should never have hurt you. But they won't be able to hurt you anymore. Instead you are going to go and live with your Uncle Phil and his family. Your Uncle has been granted custody of you for now, and in a couple months we will assess it and see if the stay will be permanent. Once the Doctor gives you the all clear, you can go home with your Uncle and meet everyone.' Miss Sif explained.
This made Darcy turn her attention to the Doctor, who grinned when he saw her eyes on him.
'You should recover fine,' he said his voice deep and gruff, but comforting all the same. 'The swelling should go down in a couple of days, and the bruising should disappear after a few more. I have casted her leg, but she should be fine to walk with crutches in a couple of days. The stiches in her head will have to come out soon, but we can make an appointment for that in a while. Now Darcy all you have to do is rest okay.'
As he was talking Darcy did realise that her face felt a bit puffy and sore, and her leg did feel a bit heavier than normal. Slowly she reached her hand up to the pain at the top of her head near the hairline, but the doctor caught it before she could.
'Don't go touching that just yet,' he softly chided. 'Let it heal a bit before you go around showing off your cool scar. Before you leave we will put a bandage over it to protect it a bit and to stop dirt getting in.'
At that he turned to Miss Sif and Uncle Phil.
'Darcy should be right to leave after lunch; I just want to monitor her for a bit longer. But no major complications have been found.'
Uncle Phil smiled at this before turning to Miss Sif.
'Any further paper work I need to sign at the moment?' he asked the woman who shook her head. 'Excellent, do you mind if I talk to Darcy for a bit, explain a bit more what's going on?'
At this both Doctor Odin and Miss Sif nodded and turned to leave the room.
'Don't be frightened Darcy,' Miss Sif called from the doorway. 'I will just be out here, so call me if you need me.'
Darcy nodded, wanting to say something but her throat hurt too much. She turned her gaze from the now empty doorway to the man who had sat down on the chair next to her bed.
'Darcy,' he said keeping the soft voice he had used before. 'Are you scared?'
Darcy considered this. Sure she was a little frightened about what was happening, but from what she had seen this man hadn't had any of the Liquid, and she knew that if he got too loud too quickly Miss Sif was just outside. And her only experience of this man had been a little daunting so far, but his voice was nice and he had kind eyes. She shook her head slowly and noticed as a lot of tension seemed to leave Uncle Phil's face.
'That's great, Darcy. I never want you to be scared okay. If ever you are you tell me okay.' Darcy noticed as his face became more serious and nodded quickly letting him know that she understood.
'I am so sorry this happened to you,' Uncle Phil said, his voice becoming sad again. 'If I had known I would have stepped in sooner.' He took a deep breath. 'But we can't live in 'what ifs', so let me tell you about your knew family.'
Darcy listened as Phil explained where she would be living.
Apparently it was a large house, with heaps of bedrooms and bathrooms, a large backyard and even a pool. Darcy didn't mention that she didn't know how to swim, not wanting to give Uncle Phil a reason to be embarrassed by her already. Darcy knew that normally when she displayed the fact she couldn't do things, her father would get mad, yelling at her about being hopeless, and Darcy never wanted Uncle Phil to tell her that.
Uncle Phil explained that while he had been married once, his wife had died a while ago; meaning that in the house he was the dad but there was no mom. His voice grew soft in sadness as he told her and Darcy wanted to comfort him, but wasn't sure how so she kept silent.
Uncle Phil also told her about her cousins, which she never knew existed, granted she never knew she had any family outside of her mother and father so she listened intently. Uncle Phil told her about Bruce, a man who had just finished school and who was looking at going to college in town and stay living at home. Bruce really like science and maths and would often stay up late writing down formula and science-y things. Uncle Phil told her about Steve, who was 16 yrs. old and loved playing sport and riding his motorcycle at the track. Uncle Phil told her about Anthony, who liked being called Tony, who was 15 and enjoyed science-y things like Bruce, but also like robots and building machines. Uncle Phil told her that often he would find Tony late at night tinkering away at something that was going to 'revolutionise the world'. Uncle Phil also told her about Clint, a 12 yr. old who was going to be closest in age to Darcy's 8. He enjoyed climbing trees and shooting arrows at the targets Uncle Phil had installed in the backyard while pretending to be Robin Hood or the Green Arrow.
Then Uncle Phil told her about children that were her cousins, but weren't at the same time. Darcy got a bit confused as her explain what a 'foster child' was but she quickly realised that it meant that while Uncle Phil wasn't their real Dad he acted like it, much like what was going to happen with her at the house. Uncle Phil told her about Thor an 18 yr. old who had dropped out of school and worked down at the metal works forging sheets of metal, often bringing home scraps and pieces for Tony to play with. Finally Uncle Phil told her about Natasha, the only other girl in the house, who was 13 and enjoyed acrobatics and gymnastics, preferring to jump and tumble places rather than just walk.
Afterwards while Uncle Phil was telling stories about what the other children like to do on weekends, Darcy found herself slowly drifting off to sleep to the sound of his calm soothing voice.
When Darcy awoke again, she was greeted with the sight of Uncle Phil sitting in the chair which he had dragged over, asleep with his head on her bed. Slowly she reached out and touched his arm softly, knowing that sometimes when people wake up that can be grouchy. Just as she was becoming braver in her movements Doctor Odin came in and smiled at her.
'Nice to see you awake Darcy,' he said before looking at Uncle Phil. 'but I can't say the same for everyone. Why don't we wake him up, you should be set to go home soon once he fills out the last bit of paper work'.
At this Doctor Odin walked over to Uncle Phil tapping him a few times on the arm.
'Come along,' Doctor Odin said once Uncle Phil had semi woken up. 'Just a few more forms and you can go home to a real bed.'
Uncle Phil smiled at Darcy before standing up to follow Doctor Odin.
'Sit tight Darcy,' he said grinning at her. 'I will just be a little while and then we can go.'
A little while turned into a long while, and Darcy found herself getting bored while she waited for Uncle Phil to return. Laying back down trying to fall asleep again in hopes that it would help pass the time, but she was unable to drift off fully, which frustrated her more. As she was trying to get comfortable a nurse came in.
'Hello dear,' the nurse's voice was sweet. 'We need to get you ready to leave.'
At this she showed Darcy a bag and began pulling out clothes, Darcy recognised them as her own and was eager to put them on in place of the robe she was currently wearing. The nurse helped her ease on the shorts over the large cast that was on her right leg, and pull the t-shirt over her sore head. Putting her arms through, Darcy noticed the Nurse looking at the bruises on her arms, which ranged from being cause last night to a couple days old. She smiled a little at the nurse before saying.
'Don't worry; he can't get me anymore because Uncle Phil and Miss Sif said he had gone away.'
The nurse seemed startled at her outburst before a smile appeared on her face. A she began to place a bandage over the stitches in Darcy's head she spoke.
'I am sure that Uncle Phil will take good care of you.'
Then the nurse eased a sock and shoe on Darcy's left foot, placed the bag on the bed next to Darcy and left. Looking in the bag Darcy was relieved to see that Bunny, the stuffed rabbit she had had since she was young, was in there. Pulling Bunny out and hugging him close to her chest she began to explain what was happening, stumbling over the names of her new cousins a bit, but eventually figuring it out. By the time she got to Natasha Darcy noticed that there was someone standing in the door.
Uncle Phil had returned this time pushing a wheelchair in front of him. He smiled at her before gesturing to the chair.
'Doctor Odin says you shouldn't walk with crutches for a couple of days, so I am to push you to the car and then carry you once we get home. Is that okay?'
Darcy nodded focusing more on Bunny in her hands, wondering if Uncle Phil would try and take him away from her like her father used to always threaten.
'That's a cool bunny,' Uncle Phil said, trying to start a conversation. 'What's his name?'
'Bunny,' Darcy replied as if it was obvious, I mean seriously, what else would you call a rabbit?
Uncle Phil chuckled before gently lifting Darcy and placing her in the chair, her bag of belongings was zipped up and placed on the back of the chair.
On the way out, Uncle Phil and Darcy stopped by the lounge area where Miss Sif was waiting. She gave Darcy a card which had her name and some numbers on it.
'That's my card', Miss Sif explained. 'If ever you need me or want to talk, just give me a call.'
Darcy smiled at Miss Sif who was being very kind before nodding and placing her card in her pocket. Uncle Phil watched with a smile on his face before waving goodbye to Miss Sif and wheeling Darcy to the parking lot. There he helped Darcy into a car while another nurse took the wheel chair back inside.
'It's about half an hour home,' Uncle Phil explained. 'So get comfy. Everyone is excited to meet you and I think Steve and Natasha even made a cake.'
Darcy smiled at the thought and spent the car trip thinking about cakes and cookies and treats, excited and nervous about what was to come.