The Perfect Daughter

Mr and Mrs Dunnet had the perfect family consisting of four beautiful boys and themselves whom had the perfectly loving and supporting relationship. It seemed as though they had the perfect life but they all knew something was missing - a little girl. The perfect daughter.

Contains some sensitive topics.

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2. Chapter

CHAPTER ONE

Everything was going as it usually would in the Dunnet house that morning. Nothing abnormal. Christopher left for work, the twins, Noah and Angus left to be in the garden, Callum went to bury himself in books and Archie found a comfortable spot under some trees and played with his toy cars. At twelve o’clock Antoinette set lunch on the table and all four boys came to eat. Nobody made a noise until Callum broke the silence, “There’s a new woman in the village.” He stuffed a forkful of tuna pasta into his mouth. “She’s going to be the new librarian.”
Angus ruffled his little brother’s hair, “She better be a good ‘un eh Callum? Nobody’s in that place more than you.”
Callum blushed crimson up to his hairline where his dirty blonde hair stopped and his freckled face started.
“Yeah!” Noah chimed in, “If she’s rubbish I bet you could do the job!”
“Alright boys.” Antoinette chimed in after noticing her son’s embarrassment. Archie looked up at Callum with marvel spreading across his tiny face, “If you were the lib-ray-on Callum, I would go every day!” he gave Callum a grin full of love... but it was missing a lot of teeth.

Once everyone had finished lunch Antoinette cleaned up the mess and grabbed her purse. “I need you two to look after your brothers,” she turned to the twins, “Your father’ll be home soon, I’m just going to the market so I shouldn’t be too long either. Clean up your faces will you?"
The boys grinned at each other, their faces painted brown from the oil from their bikes. "Sure mum." Angus nodded. 
"Once Dad's home he can help us fix our bike chains." Noah suggested to his brother. "Angus's chain won't go back on properly so we'll need Dad's tools to help fix it." 
"Okay well just make sure he doesn't get his shirt covered in oil again please, I think he has his good one on today and there's no way I can get oil out of it." 
The twins nodded excitedly.

Antoinette kissed each of her son’s heads as she left through the back door and around the side of the house. The air was warm and comforting and the baby blue sky was never ending. Everything around her was perfect. The same crisp white house had duplicated itself fifty times over, the streets were rimmed with the same pink cherry blossom tree that was dressed in a clear cage that sat comfortably around the trunk. As Angus had pointed out many times, the cages were there to protect the tress from hungry animals. It didn’t matter how many times Angus said it, the simple fact made Antoinette bubble with joy. Just to see how happy her son was made Antoinette’s day a little better. Nothing had changed since the newlywed couple had moved there. As Antoinette neared the market everything began to become uncomfortable, the sun glared down at her as her body began to slowly sink into the pavement. The once peaceful hum of the birds suddenly became a horrifically loud, low droning noise. The baby blue sky was now so close that if Antoinette reached up, she could touch it.

 

Once Antoinette reached the market, the usually welcoming smells of freshly cut fruit and new flowers assaulted her senses, the normal voices trying to convince her to buy things became all too loud and were full of rage. Desperate to get what she needed, Antoinette sluggishly continued her journey through the thin trickle of people. Through bleary eyes Antoinette examined a far too orange – orange but as she was going to ask for a price her hand became boneless and had no feeling. Everything around her began to spin as if she was on an amusement park ride. Things that weren’t right in front of her faded to nothing but was replaced by a chunky black bar that was slowly growing until nearly everything was black. As she began to fall, an ear-piercing scream made everything stand still, the heat was comfortable once more, the bird’s songs were beautiful, the sky was farther away than ever before and the smells surrounding her were delicious once again.
 Once she had recovered, Antoinette ran towards the source of the scream, shoving past strangers and friends who threw angry glares at her, Antoinette didn’t care. It felt as if she had been running for hours before she saw the source. It was a sight she would never want to see ever again. There was the new woman Callum had been talking about thirty minutes earlier. She was beautiful. She has fiery red hair that seemed to be flowing effortlessly down her back, a small patch of freckles sprinkled her oval face and as Antoinette got closer she noticed that the woman’s eyes were the most mesmerising shade of blue but there was something wrong with the scene playing out in front of her. A large boulder like man had his fist wrapped tightly around the woman’s arm and a sausage like finger was wagging in her face. He was shouting loud enough for everyone in the market to hear what he was saying. “Stupid girl! Trying to steal from meh stall are yeh?” His face was getting closer to hers and his spit was spraying on her face, “I’ll teach yeh not to steal from meh!”

Antoinette rushed forward towards the pair and threw herself between them, “Stop!” she yelled. The man looked as if he could burst at any second. In a hurry Antoinette thrust a ten pound note at the man, “What us she accused of stealing?”
The man jerked his head in the direction of three fallen apples.
“Well I’ll have six apples please.” The six apples were given to Antoinette and she thanked the seller. The two woman scurried off like a pair of mice that were being chased with a broom.
Once they reached the safety of the many flower stalls, they stopped to catch their breath. “I’m Antoinette Dunnet by the way, pleasure to meet you,” she smiled, “and you are?”
“Mabel.” Her voice was soft and sweet like honey, “Mabel O’Brien, I’m going to be the new librarian.”
“Ah,” Antoinette laughed, “I’ll be seeing you quite often Ms O’Brien. My son loves the library, we’re there every other day.”
Mabel laughed along, “I look forward to it.” Her soft smile faded into a slight frown, “How can I repay you for saving me back there? I was sure that guy was going to crush my arm to a pulp.”
“Don’t be silly,” Antoinette laughed. The thing she wanted, nobody but God could give her.
“Really?” Mabel’s face lit up with a smile, “Money? I can make you rich? Luck? Love? Anything, you name it.”
Antoinette rolled her dull brown eyes, so this woman was one of those looney tunes.
But then Mabel made an offer Antoinette could not refuse.
“You would like a daughter. A perfect daughter, that is what you desire.” Mabel giggled with realisation, “I can sense it.”
Antoinette’s head snapped up quickly, her face alight with hope, “You can give me her?”
“Of course I can. Meet me in an hour at the library. Bring me a few ingredients to represent things you would want in this daughter that you wish for.” With a flash she was gone and Antoinette was left standing alone with her bags.

Antoinette ran around in a flustered panic as she tried to find everything her imaginary daughter would need.

 

A single yellow and orange lily for her beauty

 A jar of honey for her sweetness

 A single cherry pie for her humbleness

 A book for her creativeness

 A loaf of bread for her appetite

 A sheep's heart for her love for everyone/everything

 An owl's feather for her to be wise

A golden necklace in the shape of a lion's head for bravery

Oh how she wished this would work, no matter how ridiculous it seemed.

 

She covered the items in her wicker basket, much like the one she had saw in her dream all those months ago, with a cloth and rushed off to the library where her daughter would hopefully be brought to life. Everything was blurred as her eyes locked on the library across the road from her. It was a small grey building, only one floor, the walls had a fresh coat of paint on them to cover the hidden words beneath it, scrawled in the walls in bright green, red and blue spray paint. The vandalised library was the next big scandal for the town after her family's own tragedy had spread. However, even though the building was rather small an unimpressive it held many worlds within its four walls all contained within the pages of the books that were tattered and dog-eared and wrapped in a plastic cover to preserve what was left of it.  Normally cars would obstruct her vision of the library as they flew past but today there were no cars in sight... Almost as if it was magic. Antoinette shook her head and carried on across the road until she was tugging on the library door with her basket in the bend of her arm. The library was full of light as she stumbled into the lobby where normally a receptionist would sit behind the desk but today there was no one there. As she got closer to the area where the librarian and books would normally be she could hear the slight patter of rain dripping down. The glass doors had been blurred out so no-one could see what was held inside except for a messy blur of colour, it was like looking down into murky waters and seeing lots of coloured pebbles on the ground that had been melted together. As she pushed open the door her mouth fell open to see no books but a forest full of green life, birds flitting above her in and out of the invisible tree tops that disappeared smoothly into a silver mist that swam above them.

 "Mabel?" Antoinette called out holding onto her basket tighter. As she looked around, she chuckled to herself, "Callum would hate this..." she whispered.

 

One of the bushes that was covered in beautiful white, blue and gold flowers parted to reveal Mabel sitting in a cloth hammock held up by two trees that were covered in different shades of green mosses, leaves and flower buds. Mabel stood up to greet her and as she did so, two golden lionesses approached her from either side, flanking her like a queen and her guards.

 

Mabel smiled at her like an old friend, "Welcome, welcome! Come in..." she scratched behind one of the lioness's ears and watched as it began to smile, grinning its teeth, "Don't worry, the ladies won't bite."

 Antoinette took a deep breath and stepped over the parted bush and into the beautiful area filled with flowers and mind boggling beauty.

 "What have you brought?" Mabel hummed as she took a seat back on her hammock, watching Antoinette intently. Antoinette felt strangely comfortable in front of her as Mabel dragged her eyes hungrily over her and her basket, much like one of her lionesses looking at her prey.
“Take a seat.” Her hand stretched out towards a chair made from vines, leaved and twigs. It looked as if it had grown straight from the ground.

 Antoinette rested the cloth over her knees and set the basket on the ground before she took out an item one by one and placing them on her lap.

 Mabel raised an eyebrow, "A sheep's heart?" she laughed, "Your making my babies hungry..."

 One of large cats gave a low growl in response as she lowered herself onto the ground slowly, never taking her eyes off of the brown paper package.

 Quickly Antoinette placed all of the items back in the basket, leaving the necklace for last. As her eyes roamed around Mabel's leafy sanctuary her lips parted in awe at the beauty that surrounded them. If Antoinette didn't believe in Mabel's 'loony tune' ways now, she doubted that she ever would.

 Mabel got to her feet before her hammock vanished and it was replaced by a silver cauldron lined with different jewels that spiralled into a large lily on the side.

 Yellow fog began to spill out from the cauldron and onto the forest floor where it lapped over the lions like waves rising and falling onto a rock at the beach. Much like the rock, the two lionesses didn’t move. They lay there peacefully and just watched as their master moved her hands slowly in and out of the cauldron, each time scooping up some of the fog.

 Mabel began to chant... 

 

"Auxilium hanc mulierem consieve puer dominus..."

 

 Mabel took Antoinette's hand and guided her to the cauldron and placing her in one spot. Mabel stood on the opposite side of the cauldron from her.

 "Please hand me the items..."

 Antoinette passed her the basket over the top of the cauldron before she stood like a marble statue once more.

 Mabel began muttering into the glittering fog which cast a yellow tinge onto her porcelain skin making it look waxy which in turn made her face look sunken as well as ill. Much like a leaf floating to the top surface of water the apple from an hour before rose to the surface of the fog, still as red as ever. Mabel snatched it from the fog's grip and took an aggressive bite out of it which left the centre of the apple open to view. Antoinette watched as Mabel spat out the severed apple half onto the ground and dug her fingers into the core with a crazed expression on her face. From the centre of the apple she pulled ten apple seeds.

 Her fingers now sticky with apple, Mabel dunked her hand back into the fog, releasing the seeds into the cauldron.

 

"Tradidit dominus in me auxilium desperatis muiler

 

Sit bonum, est purus."

 

 One by one Mabel dropped the items into the cauldron first the book, then the honey, followed by the pie, the heart, then the feather, finally, the loaf of bread.

 Antoinette stared and cringed as everything was dropped in, making an ear piercing squeal as it penetrated the fog.

 Mabel's face contorted into a look of horror as her head flew backwards and her arms became outstretched as if she was being thrown backwards by some invisible force. Antoinette tried to run but her feet had become intertwined with vines, branches and leaves up to her knees which held her in one spot. She watched in horror as the two big cats too became tied in branches, flowers and vines. They tried to rip them off but their normally bone crushing teeth did nothing to their magic infused traps. One of the lioness's eyes turned a dark shade of purple as her glare was directed Antoinette, penetrating her mind.

 The Lioness began to speak. Her voice was warm and comforting in Antoinette's mind, nothing like her mother's or anyone else's she had ever heard in her life, "You're the one, you need to finish this."

 Antoinette stared at the lioness in shock until her eyes had gone back to her normal shade of dark brown. She began to panic as her vines bound themselves tighter around her ankles and the flowers that once were beautiful had grown mouths filled with lines of needle sharp teeth that were snapping at her clothing.

 Antoinette stretched out her arm for the basket but nothing happened, for a minute she continued to try and reach for the basket with one hand whilst she swatted at the flowers with another. That was until one of the trees above her brought one of its branches down to her as if it were alive and its branches were fingers. It scooped up the basket with the remaining items so she could reach it easier, it was still a stretch however. Antoinette grabbed hold of the basket just as the flowers began to bite at Mabel who was becoming sickly looking.

 Digging through the basket she found the flower and threw it into the fog next was the necklace. Her long fingers grasped onto the string of the necklace. Without even thinking she threw it into the cauldron. The fog was no longer yellow. It turned thick like smog in addition it was now an alarming shade of red that was beginning to envelope everything in her path including her... Everything began to spin... everything went red… then black.

 

Light burned into Antoinette's vision like it was burning through a sheet of film. She hummed lowly as her arms reached out for the soft grass of the library but instead of dirt she found her fingers gasping onto her cotton bed sheets. Antoinette winced as her head spun with clips of her dreams of the magical library, the market and the strange woman who promised her a daughter. Her body sunk farther into the bed as the visions of two lionesses faded away to a blur of green's, blues and pinks. Tears began to fill her eyes like the way she had had her most valued possession stolen away from her - quickly and unnecessarily harshly. Everything began to blur as a wave of nausea washed over her and forced her out of her bed and into the bathroom where her head automatically dunked itself into the ceramic bowl, where her last meal now lay and where her pride was now swimming in a clockwise whirlpool in the place where fish go to die. 
The sound of heavy footsteps echoing off of the hallway walls was music to her ears as Mr Dunnet came bursting into the bathroom like some sort of comic superhero here to save the damsel in distress, in this case, his wife. He too dropped to his knees, without saying a word, and wrapped her in one of his arms whilst the other held her hair back, his one good leg helped prop her up whilst the other one was trying to shut the door over by pushing it as hard as he could with his prosthetic.

“What’s wrong?” He hummed and kissed the top of her head.
Antoinette shook her head, “I’m not quite sure.”
“Are you getting you’re… You know…” Christopher’s cheeks went pink as he was unable to say the word.
“For Christ sake Christopher!” Antoinette growled as she wiped her mouth with back of her hand. “It’s call a period. It’s not some taboo thing!”
Once Antoinette seemed stable enough to stand, Christopher rose to his feet and held out his hand so he could help her up. Carefully she rose to her feet and held onto her husband for dear life. Antoinette groaned and doubled over - If she was on her period, this was the worst pain she had ever experienced. She cried out in pain as her stomach tightened considerably. It was like she was some sort of human balloon animal who was being blown up from the inside.
“Christopher?” she gripped onto her husband’s arm and squeezed as hard as she possibly could as another cramp stayed with her. "I need to go lie down." 
"Do you want me to call your mother?" Christopher's panic increased as he placed once arm under his wife's armpit as his other arm reached across her body to hold onto her hand.
Antoinette nodded her head, yes. Together they made their way slowly to the bedroom where Antoinette lay, writhing in the pain that enveloped the bottom of her stomach. She watched in agony as Christopher ran from the room to the phone to call her mother but in the mean time Antoinette felt the strong urge to push. 
"Christopher!" Antoinette screamed as she her body began pushing. She quickly tried to pull off her jeans which trapped her body tightly. "Help me!" 
Just at that moment Christopher came back into the room with her mother. "The boys are in the garden. She rang the doorbell just as I was about to call and-" His face drained of colour and he ran to her side. "What's happening?"
"I don't know!" Antoinette screamed and gripped onto the bedsheets as another urge to push washed over her. 
"Nettie." Her mother whispered. She hadn't called Antoinette that for years. "I think you're having a baby." 
"What?" Christopher looked at both women in shock, "It's only been four months since we lost April how can she be-?"
Antoinette screamed and pushed once more, her mother abandoned her things at the door and sat on the end of the bed, "Push Nettie, push. I can see a head." 
Christopher and Antoinette stared at each other in panic as she continued to push and suddenly there was a sense of relief. Everything was silent. 
Her mother stared up at the couple in disbelief. Suddenly she reached down and picked up a little baby who let out an almighty scream. It didn't sound like a normal baby's scream however, it sounded like a scream of triumph almost. 
"I can't believe this." Christopher whispered, "Wait here and I'll go get some blankets and phone the hospital."
"Go get Mrs Gardiner next door!" Antoinette's mother told him, "She's a doctor, she'll know how to cut the cord." 
So Christopher left them in the room. 
"Is it a boy?" Antoinette whispered. Her mother looked at her and smiled, shaking her head. 
"Would you like to meet your daughter?" 
Antoinette nodded vigorously as she reached for her beautiful baby girl. As she looked down at her, her eyes opened slowly to reveal the most beautiful eyes Antoinette had ever seen. One was a baby blue and the other was a soft green. That didn't matter to Antoinette though. She continued to inspect the child and she noticed that on her right shoulder she had a small red mark in the shape of a lion's head and Antoinette smiled. "Why don't we call you Charlotte Mabel Marie Dunnet? Hm? I think that suits." 
 

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