If Donald and Edith thought that Michael finally talking meant he was going to develop normally, they were woefully mistaken. If anything, Michael became even more peculiar.
He would speak very occasionally, using only three or four words at a time. Despite this, he never spoke at school or in front of strangers. Edith tried to argue with the teacher that he was, in fact, capable of talking, but this never occurred and her protests were rebuffed. When Michael did talk, however, it was as if the words were coming out of a fully grown adult's mouth. He never stumbled over or repeated his words. Even his voice was smooth, despite its slightly monotone quality. It matched his blank, expressionless eyes.
Another year slowly passed, and Michael turned five. Ingrid and Serena flew back to Los Angeles for Christmas that year, and it didn't escape Edith's notice that Michael became even more withdrawn. He wouldn't react when anyone spoke to him and spent the days in his room. Edith walked in one day and found him sitting on his bed staring over at the Callahans' empty house. She loved her son, but was becoming increasingly worried about him. In fact, she almost wished she could call Ingrid and tell her to keep Serena away from Haddonfield permanently.
Even as a young child, there was never something quite right about Michael. Edith had never forgotten about Wynn, and she suspected he might have something to do about Michael's odd behavior. But she was wrong. Wynn hadn't done anything—yet.
As for Serena, she knew something was off with Michael, but she didn't sense danger as Edith did. Michael was her best friend, and he talked to her more than he talked to anyone else. The adults noticed that he was more animated whenever he was with her, and they hoped she could inject some shred of normality into him. Perhaps if she had been older, things could have been prevented. But as it was, she was still a child, and had no way of knowing what was really happening otherwise.
As soon as she and Ingrid arrived home from their trip, Serena ran over to Michael's house, her skin several shades darker from the hot sun that so very rarely shone on Haddonfield, and rang the doorbell. Judith answered right away. She had just gotten her driver's license and had become slightly more bearable now that she could escape home whenever she wanted to. "Why am I not surprised?" she asked sarcastically before turning around and hollering, "MICHAEL!"
He came walking slowly to the door. Serena waved enthusiastically at him. "Let's go on the swings!" she said.
They went around the back to the miniature playground Donald had built for his children and Serena immediately jumped on a swing. She began swinging higher and higher, shrieking with delight, while Michael sat motionless on his. Serena finally threw jumped off when it was at its highest arc and soared through the air before landing lithely on her feet. Grinning, her messy hair falling out of its ponytail, she ran back to Michael, chattering about her trip. He listened silently and when she was finished she took a breath and asked, "How was your Christmas?"
"Fine," he grunted, taking an old, dried leaf from the snowy ground and shredding it with his fingers.
"How many presents did you get?" Serena prodded.
Michael shrugged. "They got lots more." By they meant his sisters. He didn't like mentioning Judith or Cynthia by name.
"Oh, that's sad," replied Serena. She kicked off from the swing, watching her legs swing back and forth.
After a minute of silence, Michael spoke up. "Do you ever hear voices?"
"Voices?" she asked, baffled.
"In your head, telling you to do things." His dark eyes watched her closely.
Serena shook her head. "No. What do they tell you?"
"To kill people," he muttered. She gasped.
"Michael, you should tell—"
"No!" he said, looking nervous for the first time. "They'll send me away. They already think there's something wrong with me. But it's them. Not me."
Serena leapt off the swing and gripped onto the edge of the slide as if it was a lifeline. "Have they ever told you to kill me?"
Michael shook his head. "They tell me to kill people I don't like."
"That's bad," she said furiously. "I think you should tell your mommy and daddy."
"Promise me you won't tell them, Serena," Michael said. "Please." She frowned, but eventually nodded. His brow evened out and he was back to being his usual stoic self, leaving Serena to run away in fear.
Of course, Serena being the talker she was, something eventually had to slip, and unfortunately it occurred while she was being babysat by Mrs. Blankenship. Ingrid was working late, and the Myers's had gone to watch a movie. There had been no other choice but to leave Serena with the elderly woman.
She happily played with Damian for a while, Mrs. Blankenship watching her over her knitting. When Serena got bored of the cat and started searching for something else to do, the old lady beckoned her up to the couch. "How is Michael, sweetheart?" she asked, her kind expression masking the coldness in her eyes.
"Good, I guess," Serena shrugged. But she fidgeted on the couch, desperate to tell someone her secret. After a minute of apparent internal struggling she burst out, "He said he hears voices!"
This piqued Mrs. Blankenship's interest. She set aside her knitting and put a gnarled hand on Serena's shoulder. "What kind of voices?"
"He says they tell him to—to kill people he doesn't like," Serena whispered. "I'm not supposed to tell anyone."
"Don't worry, dear, your secret is safe with me," Mrs. Blankenship lied. "When did he tell you about this?"
"Yesterday," confided Serena. "I'm scared he'll try to kill me or Mommy."
"Oh, I don't think he'll do that," the woman tried to comfort her. "He likes you and your mother."
Serena nodded. "Why does he hear the voices?"
Mrs. Blankenship's grip tightened on the child. "Sometimes people are born…different," she said slowly. "Michael is very special."
Serena's expression gradually relaxed. "So I'm safe?"
"Yes, I think you are." For now.
She ran off happily, worry instantly forgotten. The next day, Mrs. Blankenship received a letter from Wynn. All the note said was: It's almost time.
And so it was. Edith Myers would never know what hit her.
Thank you to my reviewers shinigami777, JudasISevil, Guest, SammiRichGurl, Guest, and bleachTHEsky!
Now, there are only more two chapters left of Michael and Serena's childhood, and then the story will skip forward two decades. I hope you don't mind, but I'm looking forward to concentrating on Serena as an adult. I'm going to try to include as many canon characters as I can, but it will quickly turn AU-you'll see what I'm talking about once you get to those parts! Also, as the story progresses, I might change the rating to M. Hopefully that won't be too much of an inconvenience to any of you.
Lastly, (I'm sorry for the long author's note; I didn't intend for it to be this long) I hope Serena isn't coming off as too Mary Sue-ish. Please let me know what you think of her and if I should make any changes to her character. Reviews are loved! :)