“Molly, Molly,” Hello Mr. Snugglykins, nice to see you here again, have you come to take me from this land of nightmares? Mommy and daddy are screaming at each other again, “yes Molly, I’ll come take you away, it’s going to be all okay now.” His voice is soft, the little girl takes the giant rabbits hand and holds it tightly as he leads her from the darkness of her bedroom to the room of her dreams which is not a room, but something wide and big and incredible, the land of her dreams with butterflies and rainbows and happiness where mommy and daddy don’t fight and hold hands and smile and skip and sing with her, like they used to do before mommy got remarried after her real daddy died in the war.Storm clouds fill the land, they fall over the picture of mommy and daddy, flames burn their image from her dream, she hears the screaming but forgets it’s from her as Mr.Snugglykins draws her form the dream and holds her close, the tears fall from her cheeks as his words whisper in her ear, “it’s okay Molly, everything is going to be okay.” She falls asleep to the sound of human breathing under her cheek with her snuggly bunny under her, she feels safe, even when she knows it’s a lie.“Is she still showing signs of a daze?” Dr. Maverick asked as she watched the girl, she was just a little girl, rocking back and forth in a white padded doctor room, staring blankly at the space ahead of her without seeing it, even as a contented smile spread her pale lips, split with blood from a hard blow even as her eyes were distant, a single tear slid at the corners, the social worker sat close to her, holding the girls hand tightly as if she was the one who needed the lifeline and not the little girl she was soon going to take to the orphanage. “Nothing, the doctor has done all he can for her physically, she will have to decide what she wants to heal mentally, her mind might be saving her from what has happened with pretty pictures and dreams, even an imaginary world or split personality, when her step father was brought out of the house after the police got there, she screamed and cried and called him 'Mr.Snugglykins,' and tried to get to him, even when he was the one who has done all of this to her. We believe he is the one to have encouraged this imaginary world as an even greater way to take advantage of the girl’s already fragile state of mind, she didn't calm or possibly get worse till he was taken away… the poor girl.” Officer Matthews whispered, clenching his fists, being a rather young cop, he was ignorant to the evils of the true world, “if that bastard gets off with less than life in prison without parole, I may be tempted to go after him myself, what he’s done to this little girl is just sick.” He whispered, making Dr.Maverick nod in sympathy, she couldn't say she wasn't tempted to do the same. “What can we do?” Officer Matthews asked, looking to the little girl who was rocking gently, staring to come back into herself as she gripped her eyes and began to scream, making all the nurses and doctors rush into the room, settling the girl back into another state of graceful bliss as she fell back onto the pillows, the social worker looked like she was going into her own burst of tears and mental wreckage as Dr.Maverick whispered, “we wait…and we pray for the best.” Officer Matthews thought that wasn't going to be good enough, not now, not ever, but what else could they do? So he watched the girl, and prayed.( 11 years later)Molly brown wiped at her eyes and gripped her bag tighter, she looked back on the home that had never been her own, her eyes closed tightly a moment before she let go of a breath she didn't know she had been holding as she opened the door to her foster home slowly, the last and final time she would exit the door of any home, she was done at last, the final button had been pushed, pushing up the jacket that barely covered her thin shivering frame and the bruises that lined her neck and the burns on her breast, she dropped the lit match and closed the door gently behind her, leaving the ashes to dance in the flaming snow.Mr. Pugsly’s hands moved along her skin, her eyes closed tightly against the feeling as she arched against him, she heard him grunt and snuffle at her neck as he pushed at her thighs, she parted for him with a whimper when she felt the hot burn of his snout against her neck, the hot press of the burning heat as the skin beneath the offending thing bent and twisted and formed to something else, as she formed to a small butterfly and then a caterpillar in its cocoon once again, her mind lost to the grunts of the animal above her even as her hands twisted in the hold of the wild flowers beneath her touch, the soft caressing silk as he worked above her, with her eyes to the sky above, she watched the drifting of clouds as movement in the darkness tore her apart, the hands against her neck reminding her not to try escape again.Her dreams seemed to be getting more violent lately, she was sure Alice never had this much trouble with her white rabbits.Officer Matthews found someone he thought he would never find again in a box on the corner of Fifteenth Avenue Hillshire and Berkley, curled like a kitten shivering in the cold, he crouched before her and poked her gently, not knowing what else to do, “Molly,” he whispered, she jerked violently and her eyes snapped open, white all the way round as she sat up to stare at him unseeingly as she pushed against his hands and screamed, “NO DON’T TOUCH ME! DON’T TOUCH MY MOMMA OR ME AGAIN!” she screamed jerking and fighting against him as he tried to restrain her, panicked now at her fit, seeing she was having a memory, cursing for saying her name so commonly, forgetting in all the years he had half hoped that her rotten luck had changed and that he could fool himself into thinking she had found a good home, like some puppy that had been kicked too many times, he was still the fool he had been all those years ago, just meaner and older, he still didn't forget, he could never forget the case of Molly brown. “Please don’t hurt me anymore, please daddy, I’ll be good I promise, please don’t hurt me anymore.” She sobbed, falling back against the filthy sheets she had been sleeping on as he held her gently, staring into her sad and tightened face, tired with lines and sorrow, his heart tightened in his throat when he saw how thin she was, how emaciated, as if she hadn’t been eating for days, and with the state of the empty bag beside her, he guessed she hadn’t, wondering what exactly she had suffered, he gently helped her into his arms, the bag hanging tightly in his free hand, “you’re safe now Molly, you’re safe.” He whispered, praying it was true as he began to walk slowly to his house.“Molly, Molly, it’s going to be okay now Molly, you’re safe, you’re safe…” this wasn’t anything she had felt before, this wasn’t anything she had known before, the figure above her was shadowy, something it had never been before, she could always seem them clearly before, see the monsters, what was this thing that her mind would torture her with now, what was going to happen? But the monster, the shadowy thing only stroked her cheek gently, caressed her soothingly by her soft silken hair that wasn’t ratty or matted any more, it was as smooth as it had been at that white place, the strange place the people had taken her to as a child after her daddy had set fire to the house and killed her momma and marked her, but this spirit was gentle, he was feeding her something, what was this? Was this another trick to get into her body? to Hurt her with a new tactic? What was this?! “It’s okay Molly, it’s okay…” the voice whispered, soft and soothing, as the figure stooped down and scooped her into its arms and held her gently and tightly, she nuzzled into its chest and wept at its cruelty, even when it took nothing from her, she felt it was only a matter of time, it would be a matter of time indeed, nothing good ever stayed in her life, ever… what was this cruelty? Why? Why was she so cursed, so punished? Why?! What would it do to her? She was scared…so scared…Officer Matthews had the distinct feeling he was living with a bird, a poor sick little broken bird, sometimes he swore he could see her broken wings tucked neatly against her sides, tattered and shaking with some internal cold or memory of pain that had rendered them incapable to fly, it always seemed to break his heart to see her so sad. “Come and see something for a moment.” Matthew said softly to the scared little bird one day, a couple months after the time he had taken her in, after all the time he had found everything that had happened to her after that fateful night of first meeting her, and he had figured it would turn just as he had thought, shit he should have adopted the kid when he had the goddamn chance, now he had to fix the problem himself nineteen years later. The little Molly bird came to him hesitantly, her eyes still wary with distrust even when her distant little smile showed the shyness of a normal girl or what once could have been then hint of a normal girl had she been allowed to blossom into one as her soft lilting sing song sadness reached his ears like distant bells, “y-yes?” She was scared, so damned scared and there was nothing he could do to change that, but he could make it better, he could make her less scared of everything, and give her something to make her stronger, to know she’s not alone, taking her hand gently, he lifted up the back of his shirt and turned, guiding her trembling hand to his back, letting her trace the scars that ran along there like a ragged rogue of a once long ago lightning bolt that shot off in all directions of skin till the electrical current of his back was spent. The girls tiny breaths hitched in horror as Matthews shuddered at her soft touch, small and hesitant like the little mouse she was, the lovely little dove, Molly bird, his Molly bird… who was horrified… for him. “My father was a drunk from the army, something had been taken from him then that could not be replaced, my mother had been a nurse for the camp they were at, when my father was away one day, the enemy came and attacked where they were weakest, the nurses and the campsite, they waited till my father was dragged back from another ambush, this was in retaliation for another killing, when the United States had bombed an innocent village, so the enemy tied my father to the ground, beat him then made him watch as they raped and killed my mother before his eyes. When my father came home from the war, it was with a baby my mother had kept hidden, it was my father’s baby of course, my mother had known something would happen, she would tell me stories of it, my father believed she was a witch, before the war he would joke and say that was how he fell for her, she put him under a curse. After the war there were no jokes, there was only tears and cries of pain and wars of our own, my father with the demon he had become and the grief he felt over losing his wife, and the burden of being left with the curse of a son and no woman to raise him and no common sense about jack shit but the drink and the whip. So one day when he was really out of it, he took the horse whip down from the wall and told me something very important when he whipped me for the final time, ‘ it was thundering and flashing lightning when your mother died, in the sense of the war, and what your momma used to tell me before that damned cursed day, she used to tell me that whenever thunder danced with lightning, that something was bound to get burned, and if something burned, it could never mean something good. Today it’s gonna thunder and make you a man, in some way you might thank me for this someday.’ I was gonna kill him after, I waited till he was asleep and crawled from his room to where his war things were, there hung a picture of my momma there, she looked to me as I looked to her and seemed to smile, but I knew it was just me missing her and the grief of my childhood dying before my eyes as I imagined my father to die once I ended his life for what he had done to me. When I got to the room he had passed out in where my blood lay on the floor beside him, I found he was already dead from years of alcohol and failing lungs, it made me wonder if my father already knew that he was going to die, and that if he had willingly wanted to deny me that final salvation from this hell I had been forced to live, my only thought as I shot off that gun through the window, was that he would be with momma now, if he hadn’t set his own special place in hell. When the cops came, it was to find a dead man and his son sitting silently beside him, staring straight ahead at nothing as a nice cop took my hand and tugged me away. Thoughts of my momma got me through everything till that man got through to me finally, through patience of nightmares and soothing words and riddles for me to work out, and that was how I got to be who I am today, and in a way I guess I did thank my daddy dearest for what he did to me, because if lightning hadn’t struck that night, I wouldn’t have realized how fucked up of a world we live in.” Matthew turned to see why the girl had gone so silent, wondering if she had run from the room in that lithe deer like way of hers to deny the truth of his words, wanting badly to live in her fantasy, even if it was a worse hell from the reality she was trying to seek some kind of refuge from, but he found her staring into his eyes with something unreadable then, and in the small moment she slipped her trembling hand in his and squeezed, he saw it in her eyes that she understood, finally they connected on something, that they were not alone in their misery, that finally, she understood what it was meant to find yourself again. He pulled her close and let her cry into his arms, his own tears mixing into her hair, and finally, finally Officer Matthew could bless the gods for finally saving this angel from herself. Lifting her face from his arms, Matthew brought Molly to his lips and kissed her softly, for the moment, when her small trembling arms wrapped around him as he pulled his little dove close, for the moment, everything, was complete.It was said that there was always meant to be two Molly’s, the Molly of flight from pain and suffering, and the Molly that was meant to be normal and live, the Molly unfound beneath the bird Molly, Molly bird the man had called her, the man she vaguely remembered, the man that did not hurt her, he had kissed her, he had healed her… he had scared her again. “Molly, Molly bird, it is all right, nothing can get you here, you are safe.” from myself? “I do not know.” Molly whimpered softly and curled tighter into herself, even when the man held her tenderly and gently stroked her, caressing her rustled feathers into smoothness till she rest comfortably in his arms, “it’s okay Molly it’s okay, I’ll protect you.” The voice soothed, kissing her cheek gently before whispering into her ear, “I love you.”The three little words that shattered everything, the three little words she had never heard, the three little words that she was terrified at the thought of, and suddenly everything shattered…and then she spread her tattered wings and began to fly.Matthew knew anything could happen with the move he had made, the spontaneity of the moment and the sudden move of the earth on its axis that had tilted his lips into hers or her fate into his arms the tense and uncertain future of them both, two unstable beings who he felt could stabilize each other, there was only one flaw in this perfect logic, Molly was gone. Matthew tried to be calm with this knowledge as he stood from the bed, tugging a robe tightly about him as if with sudden cold, the fact that she had seen his weakness and ran with it made him more scared than he had ever been in his life, even when his father had beaten him or when his mother was killed, he wondered mostly if she could survive, after everything else that had happened in her life, he doubted it, he only hoped the rest of her tragedy could end quickly. If he could not find her in time, his deceitful mind whispered as his feet hastened out the door, he froze when seeing her there before him, her eyes silent and giving away nothing as she trembled like the little bird she was, his voice was hoarse as he walked toward her slowly, “little bird, Molly bird.” But the words would not come, only form in some strangled sound before he fell silent and stood before her, as silent as the unsaid words circling around them. Finally, words didn’t seem needed for them to understand as she ran into his arms, holding him tightly nuzzling his neck as he spun her around and held her close, the peace in her eyes when meeting his making the breath choke from his lungs as the tears filled his eyes, he bent and kissed her as the songs of their lives spun together to twine into one single beautifully gorgeous note, they were finally home.The pain and sorrow slipped into the blankets and dripped down into the cracks of the wooden floor, to the deepest parts of the earth where they continue to soak into the earth, forever moving between the wet dew of the mud and ancient bones of lives passed and forgotten, as the love of the air and the life of the normal and the living dances upon the air and breath of those breathing and blessed like fairies leaving blessings under doors and windows, falling upon the chosen blessed peoples like a pressed blankets, a light stunning suffocation, a sweet intoxication of the senses that had Molly reeling. As such strange new feelings ran through them both in their gentle passion and exploration, as the pain continued its endless journey and fairies danced in the air and sprinkled imaginary love dust, the pain sank into the sheets, and left the true Molly in its wake, the once black feather of the Molly bird became white with the small speck of red, the blood of the innocent now awakened into something more. Molly had finally begun, to live, at last as she was,Reborn.