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“Reverend, no,” the girl shouted, racing across the room to grab the arm of a doll like being and lead it back to a chair in the middle of the room.  “Sit.”

Reluctantly the thing sat.  It was rather odd looking, with no defined features and pasty, dough colored skin.  Currently, the arms and legs were connected to a round body with slim joints.  The girl leaned forward and began to press her hand into the head, molding eyeholes like clay.  For several seconds she was engrossed in her work before she spotted another wandering creature.

 

“Galaxy, come back,” she called getting up, she only took two steps before she turned back to the one in the chair.  “You better not go anywhere, Rev,” she commanded.

Galaxy had been making its way to the door but froze when its name was called.  This one looked more human, if only slightly.  The joints were rounder and more natural.  The skin had more color.  The face was defined enough to recognize shame.  Still, there were no fingers at the end of its doll-arm, ending instead in a rounded stump that matched its feet.  Hair looked more like a helmet than individual strands.

“I told you not to leave,” the girl told it sternly.  “You have plenty to do in this room and you will be just fine without leaving for just a little while longer.”

The girl watched as the thing shuffled back the way it had come before returning to Reverend who was beginning to shift in the chair.

“There, there, baby,” she told it, patting it’s barely formed knee.  “Don’t you worry; I’ll take care of you.  Before long, the two of you will be able to go out and play but for now, you need to stay inside.”

She talked as she worked, which seemed to have a soothing effect on the creature.  It hardly shifted for the hour she painstakingly rounded out cheeks, shaped eyebrows, and formed lips.  After a few hours of work, she sat up, stretched her back and wiped the sweat from her forehead.

Reverend, as she had called it, now all the features of a face but was still connected by a doll’s body.  It reached up to touch its nose and, very slowly, blinked.

“Mamma,” it said.

The girl beamed.  “That’s right, my sweet little boy, you precious little thing.  You can speak now.  You always had a mind but now you have a voice to go with it.  Pretty soon you will be like Roman and Sona, full of form and running around causing mischief.”

He turned to look towards the door again and the girl sighed.

“Galaxy, no,” she repeated, this time sounding tired.

Galaxy turned around and tried to look like it wasn’t about to open the door.  The girl rubbed her face.    She took a deep breath.

“Reverend, you are done for now.  Stay in the room.  Galaxy, come here and sit down.  You were supposed to have a day off today but apparently you aren’t going to accept that so I’ll do a little something.”

Galaxy shuffled over to the chair Reverend had just vacated and sat down.  Unlike, Reverend, however, Galaxy crossed its arms and tapped one foot in what was clearly annoyance.  The girl motioned for a hand, which was given reluctantly.  She began to knead and pull on the end of its arm.

“What’s your name?” Galaxy asked.  Its voice was an odd mixture of sounds, like it was using several different voices in order to get the idea it was looking for.

“Gal, we’ve been over this,” the girl said, beginning to sound exasperated.  “What did I tell you last time?”

“You said you were just a mother.”

“Alright then.”

“But everyone has a name!” Galaxy insisted, pulling its hand away angrily, making one of its fingers longer than the others.

“Great,” the girl growled, pushing her hair out of her eyes again.  “Now I have to make the other one do that too.”

“Why won’t you tell me what your name is?”

“Galaxy, please, why do you always have to fight with me?  This would all be done so much faster if you did not need to argue,” the girl pleaded.  Galaxy began to pull its arm back from where she had left it resting on its lap.  “No, don’t do that.  It’s not ready yet.”

The girl worked on forming the other fingers for a moment before taking a deep breath.  “Why does it bother you so much?”

Galaxy shifted uncomfortably in its chair before mumbling something under its breath.

“Speak up sweetie.”

Galaxy huffed but repeated itself.  “It feels like you’re lying to me.  To us.”

“Oh, baby, it’s not that, I promise.”

“Then why?  Why won’t you tell me?” Galaxy asked, its voice resolving to only two or three sounds instead of the many it had been using.  It used its other arm to gesture vaguely to the room.  “You spend all this time with us, making us into ourselves but you won’t even tell one of us something about you.”

The girl carefully set the unfinished hand on its knee before reaching up to its face.  Carefully, she began fiddling with its eye.  It knew better than to try to stop her but it did refuse to look at her.  A few seconds later, she finished, kissed it on the forehead and resumed her work on the hand.

She pretended not to notice when a tear trailed down its face to land near her.

“What’s this?” Galaxy whispered.

“Remember how we went over emotions before?” The girl asked carefully, still looking only at her current task.  She waited for Galaxy’s nod before continuing.  “It turns out that when you feel strong emotion, you cry.  It’s okay, Gal, you’re fine.  It’s normal.”

Galaxy nodded and she patted its hand, now with five complete digits.

“Give me your other hand,” she said, her voice soft and kind.  Galaxy left its right hand on its knee and let the girl take its left.  “I don’t want to tell you a lot about myself because that’s not what’s important.  You are what’s important not where you come from.  When you are ready to rejoin Roman and Sona you won’t need me anymore, not really.  It’s easier this way, my dear.”

“How would you know?” Galaxy asked, it’s voice nearly resolved but thick with tears.

“I did it once,” she admitted.  “My very first.  Her name is Isla and I told her everything about myself.  Where I came from, what my plans for her were, what my plans for me were.  And yes, my name was one of them.  Then I had to let her go.  She left, my beautiful little Isla, and I was more alone than I had ever been.  So, when I made Shawnee I didn’t tell him as much and it hurt less.  He was also stronger than Isla.  Part of that was just him but the other part was that I had allowed him to grow on his own.  That, my dear Galaxy, is why I don’t tell you my name.”

“Oh, I see,” Galaxy said after a moment’s pause when the story concluded.  “Why can’t I go out the door?”

“Why do you torment me so, Galaxy?  Do you like to watch me go crazy?”

“I just want to know,” Galaxy said, sounding a bit embarrassed but not apologetic.

“We’ve had enough of that kind of conversation for today, my dear.”

“Please?”

“No.”

“You still didn’t tell me your name,” Galaxy pouted.

“I know.  How about I make you a deal?  When you are all finished and I tell you that you can finally leave the way you’ve been begging to since I gave you your voice, I’ll tell you my name.”

“Okay!”

“When you leave and not a moment sooner.”

“And how much longer do I have, Mamma?  Will I be done today?”

The girl kept her laugh short.  “No, my dear, you will not.  You still have some time left.  You’re further than Reverend, I promise, but I won’t get you ready to leave today.  You still need toes and colors.”

“I think I saw someone with colors before but it was a long time ago,” Galaxy said, squinting at its arm as though trying to determine what color it would become.

“Indeed it was.  Colors are always the last thing to come.  It’s the finishing touch and—Reverend!”

The girl leapt up and raced across the room to where Reverend was fiddling with the doorknob, desperately trying to escape.  She led him back to where he was supposed to be before returning to Galaxy.

“It’s going to be forever until I can find out your name, isn’t it?” Galaxy pouted.

“It will seem like it but I doubt it will really be as long as it feels,” the girl said, smiling.  Galaxy slouched in its seat.  “But look at the bright side.  At least you found your proper voice now.”

Galaxy perked back up.  “You’re right!  It’s all the same now!”

 

Several months later, the girl was holding Galaxy’s hand in front of the door.  Galaxy had changed from a humanoid figure into a beautiful girl.  Her hair was smoothly pulled back but still hung halfway down her back.  The clothes she wore fit her perfectly, both physically and stylistically.  Next to her, however, the girl that had worked so hard looked nervous and worn.

“Alright my love, time for you to go,” she said, clearing her throat.

“You made me a promise,” Galaxy said.  Her voice was clear and strong.

“That I did.  First, need to tell you something else.  Never forget who you are.  I put all this work into you and you had better not go out there and throw that all away but always follow your own story.  You can do whatever you want to.  You have so much determination.  I love you, Gal.”

Without any warning, the girl launched herself into Galaxy’s arms.  Galaxy did not seem to be surprised but simply hugged her back.  Pulling away, the girl smoothed her hair back from her face and put one hand on the doorknob.

“Always do your best.”

“Mom, just tell me your name,” Galaxy said, trying not to laugh.

“My name’s Aurora now go knock ‘em dead.”

 

Aurora let out a shaky breath she had been holding.  Waiting, she reflected, was always far worse than the event, whatever it was.  Her hands tightened around the manuscript in her hands and she forced them smooth.  Again.

At long last, a slender woman opened the door to the waiting room.  She smiled and welcomed Aurora to their business.  Aurora followed her meekly down a long hallway, struggling to look confidant yet keep up in her heels.  In fact, her clothing was a focus of hers.  She much preferred the loose fitting t-shirts she worked in to the more formal attire she wore now.

They reached the proper doorway and the slender woman left.  With another deep breath, Aurora walked inside, holding her head high.

“Hello Ms. Clarke, I’m Michael Gray.  We spoke on the phone earlier,” the man said, the only other person in the room.  He was wearing a dark navy suit and stood to shake her hand when she came near him.

“It’s nice to meet you,” Aurora said, seating herself in one of the two wooden chairs opposite his desk.

“So, I believe you had something you wanted to discuss, am I right?” Mr. Gray said.

“That is correct,” Aurora said.  She fiddled with the paper in her lap before lifting the manuscript and placing it on his desk.  She smoothed the cover page before continuing.  “I have something that I believe you will be interested in.”

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