Little Acorn

The Lieutenant didn't know what he was getting himself into when he decided to pull that helpless little boy from the rubble of destruction. Neither did Collin when he fell in love with a single mother of a little girl at an ice cream shop. Neither of the children knew much beyond their friendship as they grew older. But, the boy's origins have cruel plans for them all.

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8. the taproot

Chapter 8

Alden followed Delia silently past Lu's office. When did she get so good at sneaking? She was like a shinobi. There was rustling in the kitchen. Her hand darted out to grab his and pull him down another hall to the closet at the end. She pulled him into the closet and shut the door.

"This is really cramped and dark. What do you expect to show me in here?"

She put her finger to her lips to remind him of his volume, then pressed her hand against the wall. A small panel beneath her hand glowed blue for an instant, then the wall to his left slid away to pocket itself inside of another door.

Delia nodded her head towards it and began to descend a pitch black flight of stairs. He followed her. The wall behind them slid to close off the closet once more.

"What is this?" He asked.

He had roamed the halls of this cabin his entire life and had never known about these catacombs.

"A secret stair case," she stated as a matter of fact.

"Yes, I had figured as much. Where does it lead?"

"Honestly?" She asked.

"No, lead me down a black stairway and lie to me."

"I don't know. I found the secret pocket door when we were playing hide and seek about four years ago, but I've never gone farther than the first three steps. As soon as the door starts to close, I get scared and make a mad dash back to the closet. I don't even know if there's a switch to open it up from this side."

She swallowed and the sound echoed down the hall.

"I'm kind of scared," he said

She never wanted to acknowledge her fears. He had to distract her or expose his own fears for her their entire relationship. She reached her hand back to him wordlessly and he caught it. He could feel her trembling.

"There, you scaredy baby," she murmured.

He smiled to himself.

Her hand was really small in his own. But, her grip was firm. She reminded him of the spaceship on his favorite science fiction show growing up. Tiny frame on the outside, enormously capable on the inside.

They hit a wall. She literally ran into it with a thud.

"You alright?" He asked.

"Sort of," she answered and rubbed her nose gingerly.

He placed his hand on the wall and swept it across the surface to find another panel. This one also let of a soft glow beneath his palm before they heard a soft click and the creaking of a heavy door swinging open before them.

As the crossed the threshold, harsh white lights hummed as the flickered on overhead. There was an enormous gymnasium stretched out ahead of them. Another door to their left. A large window let them see a cot and medical supplies sat in the room to which it led. There was another hall at the end of the gym. Bare sleeping chambers sprinkled on either side of the hall.

"Why would we need this? Why would Lu and Collin put this together?"

She shrugged her shoulders.

"There's something wrong with me," Alden concluded. "They've known it my entire life. Why would they go to all of this trouble, but keep it from me."

"I'm sure we'll find out soon," she said. "But, I don't think there's anything wrong. What's wrong with healing? That's a good thing. Maybe all of this," she gestured to the gymnasium behind him, "is to find out what else you can do."

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