More backstory for Blank Mastermind! And this time we have a theme.
Happy sibling stories!
Yaaaayy for happy!
So, we get to see a little of younger Wolfgang. Seeing brand new baby Eloisa in the first one, then games with Eloisa and Peter in the second. And theeennn a Never Before Seen look at Dallas’s younger sister, Penny.
Hope you guys enjoy!
#1 ~ Wolfgang POV
Having a baby sure takes a long time.
Two whole days staying over at the neighbors’ house without Mom or Dad. It took the baby that long to come out.
Holy smoke, can’t the baby just come out all at once and not keep everyone waiting around like that?
It was just before lunchtime when Dad brought me back to our house to see Mom and the new baby. There were a few of Mom’s friends hanging around at the house still, all looking tired, but happy.
“Stay down here for a minute, okay, buddy? I’m gonna go talk to Mom.” Dad ruffled my hair and went for the stairs.
“Hold on, is it a boy or a girl?” I called after him.
“You’ll see.” He winked at me and bounded up the steps two at a time.
I pulled the straps off my shoulders and set my backpack by the stairs. It made me feel weird, being in a house with just adults. Like a tiny little Lego guy.
“Hello, Wolfgang,” came a kind voice from somewhere up high behind me.
I turned to see Miss Jessie, one of Mom’s friends who’d been around a lot lately. She said she really liked babies, so I guess she had something to wait around for.
I craned my neck up gave her a smile. “Hi, Miss Jessie.”
She smiled back, her eyes crinkling at the corners, and she bent down so she was closer to my eye level. Her light brown, straight hair whooshed around her shoulders. “Are you excited to have a new sibling?”
I nodded, “Yep. I can have someone to play with now.” I tugged at my hoodie strings. “I have a present for him, too.”
Some kids I knew didn’t want other siblings. I couldn’t understand why. It sucked to have to go over to someone else’s house every time I wanted to play with another kid. Having someone else in the house I could build Legos and play cars with all the time sounded awesome. Well . . . I was pretty sure it was a brother, so . . .
Miss Jessie laughed and gave me a hug. She smelled like oranges. “I’m sure you two will be best friends.”
I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to hug back, but she’d pinned my arms to my sides, so I kind of couldn’t.
She let me go after a couple seconds, ran a hand over my hair to stick it up more and went off to talk with a couple of other ladies.
I thought about going to the kitchen, since I was hungry. But there was a big clump of grown-ups blocking the way. And no one had food anyway.
I sat down on the stairs and propped my chin in one hand while I waited for Dad. Adults kept on walking past and giving me knowing smiles. I sighed. What was taking Dad so long?
Finally, footsteps came down the stairs in back of me, stopping partway down. I turned.
“Ready to meet the new Dankworth, Wolf?” Dad grinned at me.
I nodded and sprang to my feet, running up the stairs after him. We reached the top and came down the hall, walking past my room and the nursery. I slowed a little. There had been two sets of baby clothes hanging on the nursery doorknob. A pink set and a blue set. One for if it was a girl, one for if it was a boy.
The pink one wasn’t there anymore.
I drooped a little. My mind went in circles, trying to think of a way it could still be a boy.
“Come on,” Dad whispered. He opened his and Mom’s bedroom door a crack and motioned to me.
I scuffed forward and came to his side. The door swung the rest of the way open, creaking softly. I stepped in, feeling like it was bad to make any noise, everything was so quiet. The bedroom smelled weird. Like rubber and a sweet something I didn’t recognize. The music by that other Wolfgang guy was playing quietly on a disc player in the corner.
“Hi, Wolfy,” Mom’s soft voice broke my thoughts and I jumped a little. Dad pushed me past him and towards the bed.
In Mom’s arms was a tiny bundle of blankets. She looked tired and was wearing one of Dad’s old jackets. It looked kind of like she’d been crying, but was smiling really big so I guessed she was happy.
“Come see,” she nodded.
I came up next to the bed and Mom shifted the blankets in her arms, pulling it back the corner so I could see what was inside.
It was the tiniest little baby I’d ever seen. Its eyes were closed and it lay still, breathing tiny little breaths. Its tiny hands were balled up next to its face and a thick, dark fuzz of hair lay over the forehead, looking especially dark against the white blanket.
I stared, not sure if I could touch it.
Dad came closer and Mom smiled at him before looking back down at me.
“What do you think of your new sister?”
So it was a girl. But I couldn’t find it in me to be disappointed. I couldn’t make myself look away from the little sleeping face in the blanket bundle. Maybe I wouldn’t mind dolls and teaparties . . . every once in a while, I guessed.
“She’s so small . . .” I whispered, chancing to reach forward and touch one of her hands. I looked over at Mom. “What’s her name?”
“Eloisa Hope,” Mom answered. “Isn’t she pretty?”
That was a long name. Not as long as mine, but she still needed a nickname. I nodded, still feeling her fingers. Dad nudged me. “If you sit on the bed, you can hold her.”
I scrambled up on the bed next to Mom, crossed my legs and held out my arms.
Dad laughed. “Here, like this.” He came behind me and moved my arms around a little so they formed a cradle. I held my hands there and smiled involuntarily as Mom set the warm baby bundle in my lap.
The baby sighed and gave a teensy-weensy yawn. Her eyes opened. Bright . . . I couldn’t tell what color . . . but they were still sparkly. And kind of crossed. I giggled.
“Oh, she’s awake,” Mom leaned over a little.
I wiggled one arm out from under Eloisa to reach the present in my hoodie pocket. My fingers touched the little chocolate chip I’d saved there and I pulled it out, setting it on the blanket near her chin.
She just blinked at me, not noticing it.
I smiled and booped her nose. “Hi, Ellie.”
#2 ~ Wolfgang POV
As the older brother, I took it upon myself to make sure that my siblings got the best entertainment possible while Mom and Dad were on date night.
Peter wanted to play hide and go seek. Now, the best way to do that was to make me the seeker. Both of them wanted to hide . . . and it always took them an eternity to find me if one of them was the seeker . . . so the choice was obvious.
Didn’t really occur to me until later that I was kind of being the anti-babysitter by covering my eyes and ignoring my charges while they went and hid from me. Next time, we’re playing Go-fish or something.
“We start in the basement,” Peter commanded, grabbing my jacket and tugging me towards the stairs.
I raised an eyebrow at him. “Why, exactly?”
“Because. It’s a good place to start.” Peter jumped down the stairs like some crazy-haired little bouncy ball.
Eloisa hung by my elbow as we descended after him into the damp coldness. Her face looked pale in the dark. She looked up at me, “D’you think there are rats?”
“Lots of them,” I assured her.
“Just probably not down here.”
Ellie made a face at me and uncuffed my leather jacket sleeve so it hung down past my hand. I cuffed it back as we hit the bottom step.
“Okay, so what am I counting to?” I looked around the basement, letting my eyes adjust to the dim light. Ellie still stood right near me and tugged on her two braids.
“Fifty-five and a half,” Peter answered with a grin.
“How do I even . . .”
“Readysetgo!” Peter and Eloisa both darted off. I sighed and covered my eyes. I heard two doors slam shut and small footsteps receding. I counted out loud at first, but trailed off around twenty and just counted the rest in my head.
Fifty-three . . . fifty-four . . . fifty-five . . . and a half.
“Ready or not, here I come!” My voice echoed.
I tromped up the stairs and over into the kitchen, making a dramatic show of opening and closing various closets and cupboards. Eloisa had mentioned earlier to me what a perfect hiding spot it was under the kitchen sink. And, sure enough, there she was. Curled up like a kitten next to the dish soap.
And then we started the quest for Peter, who usually giggled and gave himself away. But ten minutes later, I was starting to get worried. He wasn’t in the laundry basket . . . he wasn’t in Dad’s closet . . . he wasn’t in my dresser . . . those were usually the three spots . . .
I frowned and ran a hand over my hair. Ellie emerged from the dining room with a worried look, “Where is he?”
I shook my head, cupping my hands over my mouth. “Peter! You win! Come out now!”
A faint squeal came in response. “Help meee!”
Eloisa and I exchanged a look before both running outside.
And there he was. On the top of the roof, holding onto the chimney for dear life and looking down at us with eyes as wide as a dragonfly’s.
Some babysitter I am.
I swore and Ellie stared at me.
“Help me,” Peter whispered.
I jogged over and started the climb up our woodpile to the roof. My feet slipped a couple of times as I walked the ridge to get to him, but a few minutes later, I sat next to him.
“Holy smoke, Pete. What were you . . .?”
Peter grinned at me shakily. “I still win, right?”
#3 ~ Dallas POV
Unless Penny worked here, I never would have come in.
I mean, it was very much her sort of place. She loved it. But it . . . wasn’t somewhere I fit in, really. And most of the things on the menu were too sugary for my taste.
I shuffled forwards in line, craning my neck a little to peer behind the counter. She wasn’t at the register. Probably back in the kitchen
The person in front of me got their iced mocha and cookie and moved away. I swallowed and stepped up.
“What can I get for you?” asked the girl at the register, not looking up.
“Um, I . . .” I rubbed my hands together nervously and felt a bit of an electric prickle. “Nothing today, ma’am. I’m just wondering if one of your coworkers, Penelope Knight? Is she around?”
Before the girl could answer, a delighted gasp came from the kitchen and running footsteps sounded on the tile.
Penny appeared out of the kitchen and stopped, putting a hand to her mouth. She looked the same as ever, with her brightly colored, short hair, fluffy skirt and sneakers. It was quiet for a second, then she broke into a run again, skidding out from behind the counter.
“Dallas!” she barreled into me, wrapping her arms around my middle and squeezing in a tight hug. Her colorfully highlighted hair tickled my nose, a pink strand of it getting in my mouth.
I awkwardly hugged back with the arm she hadn’t pinned to my side.
She popped back up, grinning widely at me with her green eyes sparkling. “Well, about time big brother paid me a visit, hmm?” She propped her hands on her hips playfully.
I smiled back, nodding to her. “It’s nice to see you again, Penny.”
“I heard you got a new job?” Penny tipped her head, then waved one hand and pushed me towards the door. “Come on, tell me about it outside.” She took my hand in hers and squeezed.
A minute later, we were both seated at an outside table in the sunshine.
Penny swung her legs and raised an eyebrow at me. “So? What’s this new thing you’ve got going? Are you a superhero now or what?”
“Sidekick,” I corrected, pulling at my jacket sleeves.
“Of course, right.” Penny nibbled on the end of a purple strand of her hair. “So . . . what can you do?”
Technically, I couldn’t tell until the media gave the reveal . . . which they hadn’t yet. I looked around. No one else was here.
I felt the teleportation energy prickle over my arms again. “It’s complicated at the moment. Just . . . don’t be surprised when I disappear.”
Penny frowned and opened her mouth in a question.
Before she could, there was a blue flash and I reappeared a table away, knocking over one of the chairs by accident.
“Oh!” she laughed and clapped, jumping to her feet. She ran over and hugged me again.
“Something like that,” I waited for her to let go, feeling a smile pull at my mouth.
Penny pulled back and grinned at me. “Even more of a super-brother than before.”
Oh oh and also ANNOUNCEMENT.
Draft 2 of Blank Mastermind is officially finished. Topping out at over 300 pages and over 100k words.
Yeah. I’m still kind of in shock about that.
Though I am very happy with it.
So, plans are to get that combed over for typos and send it off to Enclave Publishers (hoping they’ll take meeee) and I’ll probably share some spiffed-up new bits with you guys next time. 😀
-announcement over- -as you were-
So which story was your favorite? How many siblings do you have?
See ya next time,