Disclaimer: I don't own
Evalyne Jordan was a quiet little girl. She never cried, nor screamed, nor laughed. At least, not out loud.
Evalyne Jordan was mute.
No one was sure why. Doctors had been baffled by her condition for seven long years, starting the day she was born. She had cried, but not a single sound had come from her wailing, "o" shaped pink mouth. The next years were spent in long, torturous hours spent in doctors' and specialists' offices, or learning sign language, learning her letters far faster than other children, so that she would have a way to communicate with those who did not know sign language.
Evalyne grew to be a beautiful little girl, too. A perfect angel, with long, curly hair the color of butterscotch, tan skin, a small stature, tiny hands, and large, chocolate brown eyes ringed by long blond lashes. Everyone assured her that if she could speak, she would have the prettiest voice in the world.
Her mother always tried to make up for the fact that her daughter could not talk. She brushed out the little girl's hair, each long, individual spiraling lock of spun honey so that her daughter was surrounded in a halo of caramel. She dressed the girl in lovely pink dresses fit for a princess. She added bows and accessories to her daughter's outfit. She painted the girl's nails soft pastel colors with little flowers on them. She bought her a little teacup Yorkshire terrier to play with and carry around in a little doggy-purse. She got Evalyne's ears pierced and added flashy studs to them. She bought Evalyne a special note pad to write down what she wanted to say on. Sometimes, she even put a little bit of mascara and blush on the girl, just because all little girls like makeup.
Evalyne detested her hair being brushed. Her mother was too rough on her tender head.
Evalyne despised accessories.
She positively loathed the earings her mother made her wear.
She couldn't stand the feel of makeup on her face.
The little dog bit her fingers and growled at her.
Her mother never really read what she wrote on that pad anyways. No one did.
And most of all:
Evalyne hated the color pink. Absolutley loathed its existence.
And no one would listen to her.
All of that changed, of course, when the FAYZ happened. Suddenly, Evalyne was free to do as she pleased, wear what she wanted, communicate only when she felt like it, get rid of the horrid little dog, and best of all:
Remove the color pink from her wardrobe.
Mother Mary was very kind to her, and very understanding of the situation. She took Evalyne into the daycare center and allowed her to stay there. Evalyne did not try to communicate unless necessary. And then:
She only spoke in stickers.
Her mother had never allowed her to have stickers, because she had heard that some of the chemicals in the sticky backings and the dyes used to color them could harm children. (This was, of course, completely ridiculous. Evalyne had no intention of ingesting the stickers, only using them in pictures and to speak.) But Mother Mary allowed her to have all the stickers she wanted. She got the whole craft box full, as well as all of the ones anyone in the FAYZ could find for her, as she'd quickly won over the hearts of most of the residents of Perdido Beach, including Howard, Orc, and even Zil.
Evalyne was a perfect angel. Her mommy had always scolded her for her silent fits when she was small, so she had learned that when she was upset, she must keep it to herself, or else make her elders angry. Everyone loved Evalyne.
Evalyne hated many of them. The younger ones, at least. They were cruel to her. They poked fun at her inability to use her voice. When the big kids weren't around, they liked to see how long it would take to make Evalyne cry.
Evalyne made sure not to be left alone with them often.
Yet it happened all the same. At some time or another, she would always suddenly find herself surrounded by other children, and, unable to call for help, simply had to endure their taunts in bitter, lonely silence.
The elder children of the FAYZ, however, adored her. Her quick, sweet smile, silent giggle, bright eyes, and rambunctious nature had won her a place in all of their hearts. All of their hearts, that is, except one. The heart of Drake Merwin (if it existed at all) remained cold, hard, and oblivious to the existence of Evalyne Jordan.
When the first battle of Perdido Beach came, Evalyne was sitting in the corner of the day care, playing with a small cluster of the younger children, her current favorite pad of stickers beside her. One of the older kids had found a small kitten, and, with the permission of Mary, had given the tiny, underfed, runt of the litter creature to Evalyne. She had calmly fed the scruffy creature warm milk in a bottle and nursed it into a much healthier size. Of course, no one was quite sure what she had decided to call the kit until she spelled out the word "Bliss" on a white board using alphabet magnets. To this day, no one has figured out how she managed to come by the word (and understand it) at such a young age.
Drake burst into the room with the coyotes. The other children screamed, ran, wailed, and caused all around chaos, but not Evalyne. She tucked her little friend Bliss into the accursed doggy purse and set her up on a diaper changing station, out of reach of the coyotes.
Drake raved, threatened, and invoked fear amongst the others. Evalyne watched in silence. Drake held up his gun at Mary-
And felt a tug on his whip hand. He looked down abruptly, ready to shove whichever annoying brat had dared to grab him into the horde of coyotes behind him. Instead he found an angelic looking girl staring up at him innocently. She ran a hand along his whip and pulled out a sticker. She pressed it gently onto his arm. He looked down at it: a rainbow.
"What the fuck does that mean? What you do want, kid? Huh? Come on, say it."
"Sh-she just did, Drake," Mary stuttered. "Evalyne's mute. She has been since birth. Her vocal cords don't work right. She talks through stickers and…and writing."
"Yeah? No vocal cords? We'll see about that." In a flash, Drake had wrapped his whip around her ankle and turned her upside down. The other children screamed. But the little girl in his arms, the one who could pass for a boy in her overalls, red sweater, knit cap, and pair of black snow shoes that had belonged to Brother John when he was small giggled silently. Her long braid flopped down past her face and she laughed hysterically, but no sound came out.
Drake put her down. "So you really can't talk, eh?" He turned to Mary. "What's that damn sticker supposed to mean, then? Huh?"
"ANSWER ME GODDAMIT!"
"It means-" Mary swallowed hard. "It means 'pretty.' She thinks your arm…thing…is pretty."
A strange expression came over Drake's face. He got down to Evalyne's level and gripped her shoulder. "You think it's pretty, eh? What else do you think? Huh!" He gave the tiny girl a little shake.
She calmly pulled her notepad out of her pocket and stuck a few more stickers to it, then scribbled something on it. She handed it to him. He skimmed it. "What the fuck does this shit mean?" He shoved it in Mary's face.
Mary took the paper gingerly. "It means…uhm…let's see…ah… 'You…shouldn't be?" she shot a quizzical glance at Evalyne, who nodded patiently. "You shouldn't be angry at…at people who…think? Yes, think. Think that-" Mary bit back a smile. "Think that you're pretty."
A dark look came over Drake's face. Mary jumped to the child's defense. "She didn't mean pretty exactly. That's just her word for the sticker. All she meant was that she was trying to give you a compliment, and she doesn't understand why you're so angry about that."
Evalyne glared up at Mary and Drake and stomped her foot.
"What? You got something to say, kid? Then say it!" Drake snapped.
Evalyne pointed to herself, then at Mary, then made a motion for "talking" with her hand and mouthed, "blah-blah-blah." She shook her head, frowned, and stomped her foot again.
"You don't like her speaking for you? Well then you say something. Show me."
Evalyne gave him a curt nod and snatched a piece of colored paper from a shelf. She picked up a marker and carefully printed, in her distinct blocky letters "Yur arm is pritty. I like it. Pleeze dont let yur dogys eat my kiten."
"You have a cat in here?"
Evalyne calmly walked to where Bliss was. She picked up the carrier and brought the bag to Drake, holding it up. She pointed to the name she'd printed on top of the carrier: Bliss.
"Bliss? Who gave the cat that shitty name?"
Evalyne frowned and pointed to herself.
"Yeah? Well it's a stupid name."
Mary had watched them in silence until now. "Drake, please don't hurt her."
Drake scoffed. "I'm not gonna hurt the damn kid."
He looked at the clock. "But my time here is just about up." He stared at Evalyne. "I'll see you later, kid." He turned to leave.
Evalyne caught his hand, the one that was still a real hand. He turned back. She pressed a sticker onto the back of his hand. A butterfly. He looked at Mary.
"It means goodbye or-" Mary broke off.
Evalyne handed him a card. "Cum bak soon."
He stared at her. "Doubt it, kid." Then he was gone.
Several nights later, Evalyne was sitting on the floor of the day care, petting Bliss. Everyone else had dozed off, so she was the only one who saw the boy enter. The boy with a whip for an arm. She jumped up and skipped over. She waved emphatically. He silently picked up her box of stickers and she picked up Bliss's carrier. She waved to the nursery as they walked away. She scrambled into the back of the SUV that was raiding Ralphs and they drove away.
The next morning, Mary awoke to see Evalyne's place empty of all proof that she had existed except for one thing, a notecard.
"(Butterfly) I'm with (Dragon) now. I will be (Star). (Heart) (Smiley Face). (Heart) (Angel.)"
Mary translated this for John with tears in her eyes.
"Goodbye. I'm with Drake now. I will be happy. I love you. Love, Evalyne."
Mary sighed and couldn't help but give a wry grin. It seemed that the girl who spoke in stickers had done the impossible:
Won over the heart of a sadist.