I've been researching Jung archetypes and other things about the subconscious that scare me, so I thought I would force the boys to go through the same thing. I sort of want to write a scary story. It seems to be getting a little abstract towards the end, so don't think that I didn't notice. I'm not just losing it. Some of the weird imagery I'm using is from my own dreams because I'm the only expert on them.
He was so tired. He scowled as he scanned the nearby buildings from the rooftop where he was hidden in the shadow of a chimney. He felt his eyelids drooping and his eyes rolling into his head. He forced them to refocus.
Hamato Leonardo, the fearless warrior, the leader of the Hamato clan. He could cleave a board in two in one stroke, but he couldn't stay awake after 10pm without a nap. That was the exhaustion talking, he told himself, as he spotted what appeared to be a likely abandoned building. He had pushed himself too far, staying awake for nearly 36 hours and now he was paying the price. He knew that Raph slept in one of these buildings occasionally.
Why was he so far from home? He silently chided himself for his foolish attempt to… do what exactly? To prove to Raph that he could stay away from home just as long as he could? He had absolutely no desire to wander the world with no purpose. He shivered at the idea. Roaming the city day after day with no idea of where a meal or rest would come from. Leo thrived on rules and knowing what would happen next. It was the reason he and his family was alive.
He climbed silently down the fire escape and paused a second to find footing to jump to the next building. As he flew through the air, he wondered how Raph did it. Raph stayed away for days, even weeks at a time and the only thing that Leo knew about these excursions was that he slept in abandoned buildings and mooched off of low life mobsters who owed him money.
Leo climbed into the window of the building and paused, with both feet on the windowsill, as silent as if he weren't there at all. He couldn't sense any movement, but saw that there were definitely signs of habitation. There was an old mattress, what looked like a baby crib, and mounds of dirty clothes and plastic bags. He instantly leapt out the window and decided to try the next level. If it wasn't empty, then he would just have to sleep hidden on a rooftop. He hated sleeping in the open.
He thought twice and gathered some of the clothes and debris into his arms. There was enough trash on this level that he could hide and never be exposed. As he bent down for another armful of debris, he could sense movement out of the corner of his eye. He crouched down, reaching for a katana.
A toddler was sleeping in the crib. If there was a toddler, then there surely was an adult. Better leave now. Leo turned his back on the toddler and heard the crib rattling and the child whimpering. He looked around. No movement. Not even a stir. The level was abandoned, except for himself and the baby.
She stood up, holding on to the rail of her crib, looking around. He paused, drawn by the realization that the child had been left alone in this building. But maybe the child belonged to an adult who was only a level below and would come when they heard her cries. He couldn't take that chance and headed towards the window.
"Mommy, bottle," the toddler said.
He could at least find a bottle for the child, he thought. He spotted an old refrigerator plugged in across the room. The building was an old factory, with totally open floor space. No place to hide. It bothered him immensely as he made his way across the gaping space to the refrigerator. He paused behind a brick column to listen for footsteps, movement or breathing, but only heard the little girl saying, "Bottle, mommy. Milk."
The refrigerator was empty. He stared at the gaping abyss inside the fridge, smelling the musty smell inside, wondering what he should do. Leave. That's what he should do. The child was of no concern. He'd been out patrolling for the foot and she certainly didn't qualify as a foot ninja. He could ask April to call Child Protective Services, but that was it.
And then he found himself standing six feet away from the crib again, leaning against a column, watching her. She was whimpering loudly and making dramatic faces that made him smile. For some reason, it reminded him of Mikey.
Then she screamed and wailed. She sucked in as much breath as her little lungs would allow and exhaled a wail. He didn't turn to run, instead standing right in the front of the crib. She reached her fat little arms up to him, asking to be held and he obliged.
She was wet and warm. It wasn't a feeling that he was used to. She also smelled strongly of urine and he realized that there must be diapers around somewhere in the mess.
"Have bath?" she asked.
"No, I'm looking for a diaper," he told her unnecessarily.
She had stopped screaming, but was now hiccupping sadly against his plastron, watching him as he sifted through the paper, plastic and clothing with one hand and kicked the piles back and forth with his feet.
"Finally," he muttered to himself. There were a few clean diapers and a nearly empty box of wet wipes at the bottom of a pile of papers and books. He froze for a second when he spotted a syringe amongst the detritus that he had just sifted through and felt a bolt of panic in his chest. Had he touched it? Were there others? Had he touched any of those?
He didn't think so and gingerly lifted the diapers and wet wipes into his arms and looked about him for a clean place to put the child while he changed her diaper.
Change a diaper? He was having quite the adventure tonight. "Now I've never done this before," he said to the toddler as he placed her on her back on the mattress. "So don't judge."
He unfastened her Winnie the Pooh sleeper and then stared at the diaper, trying to assess its function. If only he'd had drills on diaper changing once in awhile in addition to his kata training. He laughed to himself at the vision his brothers in a line changing diapers while he blew a while, egging them on. He could see Don pointing at a chart of a diaper and explaining the history of diapering and the source of the materials used in its manufacture. He pictured Raph giving up in frustration and bouncing his baby analog off a wall. Mikey would probably give it name, build it a sling and take it for walks, just to disturb them all.
Then he remembered the task at hand. It felt a little wrong to see the naked body of some poor woman's child, but then he reminded himself that the mother didn't care enough to be here to do it herself and then mechanically tore off the old diaper. He had braced himself for the worst and it was the worst. He couldn't imagine anything worse anyway.
"Naked butt! Naked butt!" she said happily in a sing-song voice.
He worked quickly to make her clean and then tried to figure out where the tabs attached. He managed it after a failed attempt and snapped her back into the sleeper. She sat up, crawled towards him and put her arms around his neck.
"Up," she said.
Leo stood in the room cuddling the little girl, wondering what to do next. Call home, seemed to be the option that was winning out. He pulled out his cell phone. It was dead. He'd forgotten to recharge it. And he had just nagged Mikey about it when he left. "Never leave the lair without some form of communication!" he'd yelled down the empty sewer tunnel after Mikey's retreating shell. "I don't think you'll be able to find a carrier pigeon if you get into a bind!"
What next? Put the child in the crib and find a more secure place to sleep. But it didn't seem right to leave the little girl here alone with no food or parent in sight. He wondered if the fact that she was nuzzling her soft little head against his plastron was contributing to this newfound sense of responsibility.
He placed the toddler back in her crib and she reached out for a toy shaped like an ice cream cone and chewed on the end of the cone. As he straightened up, he spotted a baby book on the floor. It was stained and dirty. He opened it and read, "Miona Marie Golden."
"Miona, huh? That's an interesting name."
He opened the baby book and paged through, looking for pictures as he walked around the room. Nothing. No notes. Nothing. He paced, looking for more signs of habitation.
A leg. There was a human leg lying amongst the garbage about twenty feet in front of him. Female. He dropped into a defensive position as soon as his nerves registered the presence of another individual. But it wasn't moving. He crept up on the sleeping woman.
Not asleep. Her eyes were wide and staring at the ceiling, unblinking. Her chest was still. There wasn't much discoloration or smell, so he judged that she had just died. He spotted a pile of used syringes; what he assumed were the instruments of her death.
His first thought was that he wouldn't be disturbed and could sleep here safely, then a rush of guilt and anger at himself for such a heartless and opportunistic idea. He would have to call the police to remove the dead body and the toddler.
So she was an orphan now, assuming that her daddy wasn't around. His mind clouded over, demanding sleep. He decided that he could sleep a few hours to clear his head and then he would get up, go home and call the police. Surely, the little girl would be alright for a few more hours. She didn't look particularly malnourished.
She resumed her crying suddenly, screaming for a bottle and he instinctively picked her up, bounced and shushed her, and then went back to the fridge. It was as if he were in some kind of nightmarish cycle. The fridge was just as empty as it had been before, but he stared into it, willing it to fill with food.
He laid Miona back in the crib and then lay down. He was only asleep briefly when he heard her demanding milk. He picked her up, held her and stared hopelessly into the refrigerator again. Still nothing.
Maybe if he tried a third time and thought really hard. The mind was what really shaped reality, he thought as he deposited Miona back into the crib. He lay back down, but only momentarily. He automatically got up, and grabbed Miona, who was sucking on the wooden end of a nunchuck.
"I told them not leave these lying around," Leo said to himself as he threw it aside. He held the warm little girl against his plastron, wishing very hard that there would be milk and food in the refrigerator when he opened it.
He opened the door and saw the light flash on. There was a gallon of milk, eggs, vegetables and enough food to feed a family. There was even a filled bottle waiting to be used. She took the bottle and he sat on the mattress happily watching her as she sat in the crib, sucking noisily on the bottle while her eyelids drooped.
As soon his head his touched the mattress, he realized there was a sound near Miona's crib and it wasn't her. He sat up and at first saw nothing.
Then a moving shadow. He filled with dread. It was coming for her. That shadow was going to kill that baby. He knew it in his heart and that he couldn't do anything about it. Its presence stayed in the shadows that inexplicably filled the wide open space and he knew that something horrible would happen if it left the shadows. He would know more than he was supposed to. It moved slowly and almost humanlike. But not human. It was ancient and evil and very familiar. He wanted to look away.
It stood near the crib and Leo knew that it was reaching for Miona.
"Stop!" he said.
It did stop. Leo knew that he had never seen this thing before, but he knew it and what it would do and he knew that no one had ever spoken to it directly.
"Is this your child?" it asked. Its voice sounded thin and empty, as if coming from very far away. Not at all evil. Just devoid of anything.
"No, this child isn't mine. But I won't let you hurt her."
Miona was still asleep and didn't notice the shadow next to her crib.
The shadow moved slowly towards Leo. It moved with a jerky gait and he saw that its head was covered with a black cloth. Not a hood; just a cloth. "I want a child," it said. "Give me your child and I will give this one to you."
"Fine, go ahead," Leo said. He didn't have any children and never would. He felt a small surge of pride. He had tricked the devil.
But then he was filled with terror as the creature reached out a shadowy hand to pull the cloth off its head. He didn't want to see its face and knew he would die from the fear that was about to overtake him.
And then he found that he was lying on the mattress with Miona against his plastron. He was sweaty and breathing rather heavily. Her chubby little hand was wrapped around his finger. He picked her up and watched as her head lolled to the side when he sat up. Everything felt suddenly dull and rigid and real. He could smell the air and see the vastness of the room and the dead mother only feet away. The fridge was still empty. He stared into it with no particular feeling except mild disappointment.
He realized that it was time to go. Lying Miona in her crib again, he gave her a goodbye pat on the head and then disappeared out into the night. There was a payphone only three blocks away. Possibly the only payphone still working in the entire city.
"911 dispatch," said a bored woman's voice.
"I'd like to report an abandoned toddler in the old Walden Shoe Factory on the corner of 8th and Ludington," Leo said quickly into the phone. "I believe her mother died of a drug overdose. The toddler doesn't have any food, so you should hurry."
"Are you currently at the location?" the dispatcher asked as Leo hung up the phone and then found a place to hide, waiting to see the police bring a body bag and a toddler out of the building.