Hyena Child

In the hot, wandering wilderness of Africa, we find Naieesha, a twelve year old girl who has been raised by a pack of hyena's her entire life.
When Thomas Walters, a man on safari, discovers this girl, he captures her and brings her home to his wealthy family in New York.
Things aren't always what they seem.
Lost and alone, Naieesha's behaviour is intolerable. She fights, eats with her hands, and will do anything to get back home to her beloved pack. Both her and The Walter's family are at their wits end. Can Lena Van Helsing, a teacher for the deaf and misunderstood, step in and save the day?

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16. Chapter XVI - Miss Lena's Perspective

Ding dong.

Mr Walters answered the door. I put my hand out, and he shook it rapidly. "Thank you, thank you so much for coming on such short notice, Miss Van Helsing." 

"Oh, please, call me Lena, Mr Walters." "Now, what seems to be the trouble?" Mr Walters explained everything as I was lead into the house. "You see, Miss Lena, the little child I rescued from Africa has no social skills, no behaviourial skills. 

"Well, I would expect that since you told me she was raised by hyenas her whole life."

"Yes,  yes, of course, but could you explain to me why she refuses to take a simple bath?" "Why she cries and howls all night long?"

"Don't you worry, Mr Walters, you just leave everything to me, and within a matter of three weeks, I'd say the child will be as good as new."

"Three weeks?" "How will you manage to do it, Miss Lena?"

"Well, you see sir, I teach children, social skills, behavioural skills, English, anything, with a method of pictures."

"Pictures?"

"Yes, sir, I use a slate and a piece of chalk to draw objects, or anything  else that looks familliar to the child." "Once they recognize that object and get enthused, I sound out the word for them. It takes time, but eventually the child will be saying words, fitting them into full scentences, anything you can imagine!"

"Why, that sounds brilliant, Miss Lena!"

I blushed. "Well, thank you, sir."  "Now, where is the child?"

"In her bedroom, asleep." "I wouldn't like you to wake her just yet, Miss Lena." "As I have told you, she's very fretful at night."

"Very well, sir." "I shall get settled in my room, unpack, freshen up, and I shall see you and-"

"Naieesha," Mr Walters answered, "Her name is Naieesha."

"-Naieesha, for supper."

"Ah, yes, very good then." "If you will follow me, Miss Lena, your room is this way."

Mr Walters lead me down a long, carpeted hallway. We stopped at the guest room, which was now my room, but beside it I found a door partially open.

"Naieesha's room," explained Mr Walters, "I thought you two ladies should be close together."

"Yes, of course," I answered, nervous of the possible outcome. "May I?"

"Please."

Peeking in the room, I glanced at a little African girl huddled onto the floor. She whimpered, as though calling to someone or something she had not seen for a very long time.  The poor child. Homesickness? Anxiety? Possible, although I would have to look into all that later.

Mr Walters opened the door to my room with a key. I stepped in, taking a look around. The walls were painted a pale pink, the floor all made of polished wood. There was a wooden dresser drawer  to put all my clothes, a vanity, and a queensized bed. Yes, this should do nicely. 

"Well, I'll leave you to it," said Mr Walters, interrupting my thoughts. "Just make yourself at home."

"Yes, thank you." He smiled and gently closed the door.

Sighing, I dropped my bag and sat on the floor. Time to unpack.

I opened the bag and rummaged through my things. There was all my clothes, hats, and underthings. I gathered them up, putting the hats in the top drawer, the dresses in the middle drawer, and my underthings in the bottom drawer. Sighing again, I went back to my bag and pulled out my very important tools. My slate, my box of chalk, and, where was it? Ah. The framed photograph  of Mama and Papa. How I missed them. 

Kissing the photograph, I placed it on top of the dresser drawer and headed toward the vanity. When I had poured the water, splashed myself and dried my face, I had the feeling I wasn't alone.

Turning my head, I saw the child standing in the doorway.

How curious.

Startled, I stood up and approached Naieesha. In my eyes, she was beautiful. Dark skin the colour of chocolate, but no hair. I'd have to ask Mr Walters about that later. And her eyes. Oh. For one moment, they were calm, serene. But then at the sight of me approaching, those eyes turned angry. Red angry. She turned and ran out.

Baffled, I was about to return to my unpacking but heard Mr Walters announce that dinner was ready.

I hurried down the stairs, fled to the dining room and sat down, awkwardly. I cleared my throat.

Mr Walters nodded apologetically and signaled that the food should be served. 

Naieesha was sitting across from me, still glaring.

Butlers and maids passed around trays of roast beef, mashed potatoes, and peas. When everyone had served there share Mr Walters helped Naieesha with her food. Staring down at the plate, Naieesha grabbed the potatoes and peas, mashed them into a disgusting paste, and piled into her mouth, her jaw smacking up and down.

Typical hyena behaviour.

I stood up to correct Naieesha, but Mrs Walters demanded that I sit down. 

So I did. 

Mr Walters had the gravy boat passed to him. He reached out to put some gravy on Naieesha's plate, but she bumped his elbow on purpose, causing Mr Walters to spill on the tablecloth, himself,- and Naieesha.

The screams. Oh, the horrible screams that arose from that child's throat, as Mr Walters tried to mop up the gravy that was running down Naieesha's nightgown. She rufused, clutched her head, and ran again to her bedroom, leaving a trail of dripping gravy behind.

Well, it could only get better from here. Early tomorrow morning I would start with a lesson of table manners.

 

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