Authors: Bev Elle
by Bev Elle
Published by Bev Elle Press
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locale or organizations is entirely coincidental.
OBSIDIAN FAITH • Copyright © 2014 by Bev Elle
Editing by Rare Bird Editing
Book design by Thaigher Lillian
All rights reserved in all media under International and Pan-American Copyright conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, now known or hereinafter invented, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. For permission requests, write to the publisher, addressed “Attention: Permissions,” at the email address below.
CreateSpace Trade Paperback Edition Published 2014.
First Edition: December 2014
14 13 12 11 10 / 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
PART ONE: The Substance of Things Hoped For
“Leave me alone!”
The plaintive wail got to him. At ten, Trevor Landon knew to mind his own business, but something about the little girl, Shanice, the newest resident at the Baptist children’s home, made him feel protective. Trevor had learned in his short three years in the system to keep his head down. He was only an orphan, after all. Not an idiot. Sometimes orphans had to be selfish in order to survive, but today he couldn’t ignore the cruelty, even though it wasn’t directed at him.
Maybe his reaction to Shanice was because she reminded him of his little sister, Natalie, who’d been about her age when their crazy-assed mom decided child-rearing wasn’t for her. A few weeks shy of her fourth birthday, and his seventh, Natalie stepped into an open elevator shaft while dear old mom was taking them on a field trip at three a.m. to score some meth from her local dealer.
That was the last straw for the Department of Children and Family Services, and they inducted Trevor into the foster care system. When his mother overdosed six months later, he became a “permanent resident of the system.” His mother may not have killed his sister with her own hands, but she might as well have. He didn’t know what the hell had saved
life, and he had mixed feelings about it most of the time. That was about to change.
“Stop it!” Shanice said.
She had a cute little voice with the slightest lisp. He moved away from the computer, which is where he planted himself most days after his chores were done.
A couple of older children were picking on her, and he’d had enough. Trevor wasn’t a vigilante, per se, but he’d certainly learned to take care of himself since he’d become a ward of the church-operated facility.
“Give it back,” Shanice said, now near tears. She reached in vain for the teddy bear the bullies had taken from her. One boy, Darrien, and a girl, Shayla, both taller and bigger, were playing keep-away with it.
“Don’t be such a baby.” Shayla sneered. “There’s no room for teddy bears in a children’s home.” She tossed the bear to her partner as Shanice looked on in terror.
“Yeah, a baby in diapers even,” Darrien said. “They only adopt babies from this joint, so maybe you’re onto something.” He tossed the bear back to Shayla.
Shanice reached for her toy. “I don’t care. Give it. It’s mine.”
Trevor stepped up to Darrien, who he bested in height by an inch or so. “Give the little girl her toy back. Now,” he said, careful to make his ten-year-old voice sound as ominous as he could.
“What’s it to ya?” Shayla asked. “This brat your little sister, or something?”
Hitting a girl, no matter how mean, wasn’t an option, but he remembered what his mom used to do. A few well-placed pinches and she dropped the teddy bear, which Shanice promptly scooped up. When Darrien moved into Trevor’s personal space, fists raised, Trevor tagged him with a perfect right hook. Blood spewed from the boy’s nose like a geyser, and he cried harder than Shanice had just moments ago.
With all the noise they made, they wound up in the office of the house parents, an apprentice pastor named Isaiah Bailey, and his wife, Brenda. Trevor liked them better than the last house parents, because they were fair and actually listened to what the kids had to say. Isaiah had a pro wrestler’s build, but he was a kind man. While Brenda took care of Darrien, Isaiah took them, one-by-one, out into the common area to get their stories.
Afterward, Isaiah said, “I have two of you telling one version of events and two telling me another. It’s almost dinner time and I want to get to the bottom of this. Right now, Trevor, I can say you’re clearly the aggressor, because you pinched Shayla and punched Darrien.”
“They were asking for it. Picking on Shanice who’s new and younger than the both of ‘em.”
Isaiah touched Trevor’s shoulder in a calming gesture. “That may be true, son, but how do we handle conflict here?”
“With our words, not our fists,” Trevor mumbled.
“Now, how am I to rule on this one? Shayla and Darrien say you used violence against them for no reason. They were just playing with Shanice.”
“What if I can prove them wrong?” Trevor said.
“How would you do that?”
“I left the video cam running on the PC when I asked them to stop bothering Shanice.”
Isaiah’s eyebrows rose. “Want to play the video back for me?”
Pastor Bailey was so impressed with Trevor’s video surveillance he began to use the makeshift security cams to help figure out who was breaking the rules and to solve disputes. Trevor was able to do things on the PC the average adult couldn’t do. This included writing programs and retrofitting the outdated systems.
Recognizing Trevor’s skill, Pastor Bailey introduced Trevor to his friend David Kyle, a Harvard-educated computer programmer who’d also been a Marine intelligence officer. David was one of the best “white hat hackers” in the world, and he began grooming Trevor when he was able to get up to the Sanford facility. But the majority of their mentoring sessions were done by computer.
After the incident with the bullies, two things changed. Because of David Kyle, Trevor’s computer skills improved exponentially, and Shanice was so thankful for his help, she became his lifelong fan club of one. She was never far from him when they got home from school, and she always sat next to him at dinner. They fell into a routine of doing their homework together in the common room. Shanice would try to get Trevor, who usually liked to keep to himself, to talk to her any way she could.
“Can you write all your letters and numbers?” Shanice asked.
“Yeah,” he said. “You kinda have to know that stuff in order to do homework.”
writing letters and numbers…and making colors,” she said glumly. “When will I be able to write lots of stuff like you?”
“Probably when you’re about second grade,” he said.
“Good, because I’m bored.”
She colored another picture, being careful to stay inside the lines, while Trevor turned back to his own math homework. She stopped coloring and sighed.
“Trevor, do you remember your Mommy?”
He frowned. “Yeah, probably more than I would like to. How about you?”
“Yeah. She got sick and throwed up then went to sleep and didn’t wake back up. The lady in the blue suit brought me here, and I didn’t see her again.”
“What about your Dad?”
“I never had a daddy. Mommy had lots of boyfriends, though.”
“Don’t tell that to the other kids. Darrien and Shayla will use it against you.” Trevor learned this the hard way when he naively believed all the other kids in the home were his friends.
“Okay. It can be our secret.”
Trevor also knew about mothers who sold their bodies for money and drugs. He didn’t like to think about how he’d never know his dad, because it hurt. Even though Shanice was half his age, he knew he could trust her. It was likely neither he nor Shanice would ever know their biological fathers.
“I miss my Mommy. Do you miss yours?” she asked. Her brown eyes were wide with curiosity.
“I do, and I don’t.” Trevor missed the mom he’d never known. The one before she became a meth-head.
“I have a picture of my Mommy. You want to see it?” Shanice asked.
She picked up the tiny locket she wore around her neck all the time and opened it. Inside was a picture of a brown-skinned African American woman who looked to be in her early twenties, and on the other side was a white baby.
“This is my Mommy before I was born, and this is a picture of me when I was a baby.”
Trevor pushed his blonde hair out of his eyes and studied the pictures.
“Uh... nice.” He didn’t have many good family memories, so he didn’t quite know what to say.
“You know what we should do, Trevor?”
“We should adopt each other, since we don’t have a Mommy or Daddy.”
“Okay.” He grinned. “We can be like the two musketeers.”
Shanice looked confused. “What’s a musketeer?”
“They were like these special soldiers who guarded the king of France a long time ago. Their special motto, uh, saying, was ‘one for all and all for one.’”
She looked more confused. “And what does that mean?”
“They had each other’s back... looked out for each other.”
“Like we’re always going to do, right?” She said and gave him a big smile.
From that day forward, in Shanice’s eyes, Trevor could do no wrong.