Octo-Prep Contest Round; Prequel to story
George went and locked his son's room from the outside; slipped a feather and lock pick under the door as a warning, and got his shot gun. He may not be be running, but he still had pride. He was not going to let them take him, wipe his memory and contributions from the world without a fight. As the horse hooves approached with ever more intensity, George stood from his favorite chair, prayed his son would be able to forgive him one day, or maybe if lucky, even remember him. With enough resolve to scare a bear, but not enough to scare monsters, George stood in front of the door with his shot gun aimed.
The door flew open and George began to shoot.
Emmet was dreaming dreams of a typical five year old when soldiers started running through the fields of his innocent subconscious. They were shooting each other. Emmet didn't want them to kill each other so he started yelling his in his dream; but they never stopped. And then finally, he started to slip out of the dream, becoming aware that the shooting was actually real and happening beyond his door.
He got up, ready to run and open his door when he noticed the feather and lock pick on the ground. He had practiced this with his father but it was always when his father was playing with him. His initiated the game, saying, "Let's play a game and have a secret code. If you see a lock pick and a feather under your door, it means hide. Get under your bed because the monsters are coming."
Emmet had asked his father where he will be while hiding. "Outside fighting monsters of course."
Emmet remember asking why he couldn't fight the monsters with his father. "Of course you can! After we play this game first."
But the sound of gun shots told Emmet this was not a game. They were very real; the feather and lock pick were also very real. And more adrenaline than a five year old should ever feel told Emmet to run and hide.
Which he did, until the gun shots stopped. Hoping his father got them all and wondering what these monsters looked like, Emmet walked to his door and peaked through the keyhole. The monsters weren't dead. Emmet wasn't even sure they were monsters. They looked very human to him.
They stood surrounding his father, who was bloodied and on his knees. And then Emmet saw a fire collect above his father's head. It was blue, and orange, and red, and some color he did not recognize. It twisted and spiraled, flared and stretched, balled and twisted again, knotting in contortions that defied any experience the young eyes had with normal behaving fire. Then Emmet heard the monster men chant something in a language Emmet had not recognized.
Emmet knew his father would want him to back away, but he was stuck. He had to know what was going to happen; intuitively he was aware that he was about to witness his father's death, but the fire was mesmerizing. It froze him. And then, without any warning, The infernoengulfed his kneeling bloodied father in a ball of light that blinded Emmet. The young boy, having just witnessed his father murdered, passed out into a heap on the ground.
Emmet became aware of his surroundings again when his neighbors began showing up to help. The cottage was burning down, but had yet to touch Emmet's room. Mr. Ruskin pulled Emmet from the fire, unable to remove the clasped feather and lock pick from his hands. Emmet would not let go.
Emmet had no memory of the event. And even stranger, the neighbors had no memory of Emmet.
As he sat in the hospital bed coming in and out of sleep, Emmet heard words like squatting, runaway, street urchin, abandoned, amnesia, and trust.
When he was awake and alert, a man with a heavy beard walked into his room. "Hi son, I am doctor Benton. You have been through quite a lot but I think you will be alright. Do you have a name?"
The doctor showed a kind smile. "Emmet. Good. A last name?"
Emmet shook his head no. "Thats alright. Do you know how old you are?"
Emmet nodded yes, "Five."
"Five. Wow, you are the same age as my daughter. You remember how old you are, but can you recall what you were doing in that house or what happened? Do you know where you are from?"
Emmet shook his head again. "Where are my parents?"
The doctor looked surprised. "You have parents?"
Emmet nodded yes again. "I am sorry Emmet, but we didn't find anyone else in the house. It seems that you may be experiencing a bit of memory loss; but we are pretty sure you are an orphan, son."
Emmet knew that word, and said so when the doctor asked.
"Well Emmet, if you remember them we will keep looking for them. But at this point, as soon as you are well enough, we will be sending you to a home with other young boys who are also looking for their families."
The doctor stayed true to his word for a while. He did put out adverts and asked around, describing Emmet and seeing if anyone knew a young boy who fit his description. Nothing came back. After a few months, the search ended, officially categorizing Emmet as an orphan.
The first time Emmet stepped foot into the Home for Wayward Boys, he cried. This wasn't right. This didn't feel right. He had a father. He thought he had a mother. Where were they?