Spring. Time of rebirth and beauty.

 

And usually the stork’s busy season.

 

 

            Ask anyone in the area, and you’ll hear stories about the Stork and his happy deliveries of children to couples unable to have their own. Which, in this unfortunate world, was nearly everyone.

 

They say he’s always got a smile on his face as he carries his cargo, his deep blue vest and pocket watch keeping him on schedule, sending him high above the rooftops and to homes with plenty of love for his little ones.

 

            The wind underneath the stork’s feathers was warm as he descended towards the house with the red door. “Odd” the stork idly thought to himself, “don’t see too many houses with a red door.”   The stork landed softly on the driveway, taking a moment to cradle the tiny kit he held in his wings.  The stork tickled the little fox with the end of his beak, and played with him for a moment “you’ll be happy here little guy, and I’m sure you won’t remember any of those horrid memories.” The little kit laughed and played with the stork’s beak “that’s right; you won’t remember any of the bad things, will you? Cause you’re just a tyke.”

 

            The stork stepped lightly up onto the porch, almost with a skipping gait, and rang the doorbell. Waiting patiently for the door to open, and a young raccoon to answer,   the girl couldn’t have been more than 27 or 28, but then again, the stork thought everybody was young.  The girl was still rubbing sleep from her eyes when she realized what was going on. 

 

            The stork gave a little coy smile, “I’ve got a little present for you, Jenny.”

 

Jenny smiled brightly and wiped a tear from her eye “for us?”   The stork nodded and passed the bundled kit into her paws. Jenny smiled and gave the little one an Eskimo kiss, and giggled along with child while she stroked his ears and held him close. “What’s his name?”  The stork gave the kit an affectionate rub on the head. “Cale.”

 

            The stork gave a jaunty wave and walked off before Jenny could barely say a thank you.  The stork watched from the driveway while Jenny and her husband were hugging and cradling the newborn.   He smiled and walked down the sidewalk, taking a moment to tickle a grown wolf underneath the chin. “Haven’t seen you in forever, William.”   And without missing a beat, the stork flapped his wings a few times, and was gone, leaving behind a bewildered wolf still clutching his morning newspaper.

 

 

With the final delivery of the day over and done, the stork flew high above the rooftops to the north, flying high over the river and through the mountains, into the seclusion that was his home.  The stork liked his home, it was private, nobody watching him if he didn’t want them to.

 

            The stork landed softly on the deck, taking a moment to savor the summer wind,

Checking his pocket watch, the stork stepped into his living room and sat down for a moment at his desk, looking over the numerous manila folders complete with histories, photos, and time schedules.  The stork filed each into his satchel, and set it aside for later.

 

Continuing with his evening routine, the stork ate a simple dinner, and watched the evening news, the stork commented to himself about how pleasing it was to see his work featured again, for you see, without that many births going on in the city, a child by delivery was cause for celebration, and news coverage.

 

            The stork looked at his watch, noted the time, and started to clean up. The stork was tired, but tonight was Friday, and on Friday, the stork always checked his stock, so he’d have to put off bed for a while.

 

            The stork idly wandered down the stairs from his hallway, and unlocked the wooden door at the bottom.  Unyielding to the crying and whining all about him, the stork wandered about the underground rooms, checking the medical clipboards for each of the oversized cribs and their occupants.

 

            The stork stopped at one particular crib and tickled the footpaw of a seventeen year old irish setter. The dog struggled against her restraints and tried to yell through the pacifier at the stork.

 

            “How are we feeling tonight Andrea?”  The stork unzipped the front of the dog’s sleeper and stuck a probing finger into the legging of her diaper. “Wet, just as I’d suspected. You’re doing much better Andrea, give it some more time and you’ll make a sweet little baby.”  Andrea muffled through the pacifier, but the stork was too experienced to let her mouth free.

 

“Andrea, you know you shouldn’t curse at me, I’m doing you a favor.”  The stork admonished, now, let’s get that wet diaper of yours changed.  The stork loosed the bonds that held Andrea to the bed, but not the ones that held Andrea and kept her from moving.

 

It took time, but the stork finally had Andrea prepped and ready.  He ripped the tapes from the diaper, pulling it down and away from her body, cleaning the girl up with a wipe, the stork kept her in constant conversation “you know, you look much better than you did a couple of weeks ago, but I guess I have that effect.”  The stork fleshed out a new disposable diaper and taped the girl into it. “There, all better.”  Andrea was still struggling as she was let back into the crib and tied down yet again.

 

The stork laughed as he walked on.  “See you next week, Andrea.”

 

 

            The stork continued his rounds, noting all of his assistants, and reviewing all the progress that was being made, middle aged, to newborn.   The stork sighed, it was all so busy this time of year, and he still had a month to go before he was due to make most of the deliveries.  The stork took another look at his pocket watch, “dear me, I’m late again! I’ve got to go pick up the last of my list tonight!  I’ve got to get going, or I’ll miss him entirely.”  The stork motioned for one of his assistants, and since he hired only his own kind, the two grabbed the satchel and were off, back to the city in the early hours of the morning.  The storks flew low, and landed near a restaurant where the target was.  The stork motioned to the assistant to bring the file out on his new acquisition.

 

“I can’t wait to finish the list off with you, William.”

 

            Inside the restaurant, not so far away from the storks, was William, eating his quiet dinner.  He’d had a penchant for Spaghetti since he was little, and he always indulged himself at Luigi’s little Italy whenever he got the chance, always on a Friday,  he felt it made the wine taste that much better.

 

            William thanked the waitress and gave her the usual hefty tip that he always gave, and taking a toothpick to chew on, William strolled out onto the sidewalk and down the street in the vague direction of his car. Unaware of the long-legged kidnappers who leaped rooftop to rooftop, following his every move.

 

            William stopped.  He felt like he was being watched from some angle, and to be truthful, it scared him a little bit.   William looked around into the darkness, saw nothing and kept walking.

 

            It was but a few seconds later when William whirled around, alerted by the sounds of wings.  He saw two forms, but was unable to make out what they were, so he did what any normal fur would do in the situation. He ran his tail off.

 

William assumed that the birds (he figured whatever the things were, they were birds) wouldn’t be able to tail him so easily if he ran in tight areas, so William ran for the first alley he found, and ran in-between buildings and anything he could find, trying to get away. 

 

            The stork and his assistant flew high, watching and waiting patiently for William to tire, and they did not have long to wait…

           

            For William, who tired quickly, thought he had outrun his captors, He slumped against a dumpster and panted.   It was then that William was grabbed from above with a long spindly pair of feet, which he could not seem to run from.  William ran into the street, until he fell, and noticed the calm stork, testing what seemed to be a needle…

 

            William struggled to get up, but the stork, in smooth, continuous movements, quickly had the needle in his leg.  William was knocked out in a manner of seconds, but did manage to catch the last words of the stork as darkness crept around the corners of his vision. 

 

“You should be more careful, you never do know who’s out this late.”

 

            With little ceremony, the inert body of William was split between the stork and the assistant, and then the trio flew into the night, without so much as a feather left behind from the kidnapping.

 

 

 

            William entered reality suddenly, his brow sweaty, his shirt dirty and torn, his pants gone.  He was sitting in a leather chair, it was dark out still, at least, that’s what he could tell from the windows   another figure sat slumbering in the leather chair next to William, one glance told everything that needed to be told, this was the same creature that had captured him in the street.  William got up silently and crept towards the windows, seeing a rising sun in the distance.   Looking over the ridge and down to the river far beneath, William felt his heart sink, he couldn’t survive that jump, no matter how lucky he was. 

 

            William felt a wing on his shoulder, and turned suddenly, surprised by the light touch.  He turned and faced the stork, still unsure of where he was or what was going on. 

 

“Who are you?” 

 

            The stork gave a jaunty bow, and straightened up, if you don’t remember, my name is Cornelius, but most people just call me the stork.

 

Williams’s memory returned to him quickly, remembering all the newscasts about the stork.  “You have a first name? I thought you were just, the stork.”   

 

            The stork laughed, “Most people never bother to ask, and the people I do tell, never remember after I tell them.”

 

            William’s mind turned over the thought, and he was still groggy from the drug, “if you don’t mind, I’d like to take a little nap, I feel really tired for some reason…”

The stork took a loving wing aside his the wolf and led him back inside,  “of course you’re tired, you’ve had a long night, why don’t you go rest and we’ll take the tour when you get up…”

 

            William gave a weak nod and shuffled under the guiding wing of the stork to what he assumed was the bedroom...

 

            There had always been something about the early morning sun that always seemed to wake William at the earliest possible time, regardless of whether or not he felt like it.   William mumbled slightly, hardly remembering anything from the night before, and still slightly oblivious of his surroundings.   William moaned slightly and clutched his pillow tightly, slowly arousing his mind.  William’s mind finally woke to the point when he realized that he wasn’t in his room anymore. 

 

            It was a beautiful bedroom, small and cozy, tucked away in a corner of the house, surmised William as he saw the layout of the rest of the house, and out on the veranda, he saw the Stork eating breakfast and studying a book.

 

            William opened the door and took a seat across the table from the stork.  “Good Morning” The stork looked up, surprised, for he had been so absorbed in his studies that he hadn’t noticed William.  “Oh, William, I hadn’t noticed you get up.” The stork closed his book, and took off his spectacles “you slept well, I take it?”  William nodded and

scratched behind his ear,  “yeah, your bed is quite comfortable”    The Stork smiled, “I’m glad you like it, I don’t have many visitors for breakfast.”  The stork touched his temple with his wing “Where are my manners? You haven’t eaten breakfast at all, you must be starving.” The stork made a gesture towards various bowls of fruit and such “You can have whatever you’d like, and I would be glad to make you something”  William had already made himself a plate with what was on the table, and shook his head “no, thank you, but I’m fine.” 

 

            William and The stork talked during breakfast of many things, and eventually, as the reader can guess, the conversation made its way to William’s abduction.    William finished the last of a glass of milk and sighed “So, why did you kidnap me in the first place?”  The stork had a shocked look on his face “Kidnap? That’s such a strong word, I prefer to think that I merely borrow your extra years to help those less unfortunate.  Some would say that I’m doing a service for the community.”   William was about to argue with the stork, but he was never given the chance.  The stork took a glance at his pocket watch “dear me, we’ve been talking for so long, we should get you downstairs before my old memory forgets why you’re here.”  The stork got up and walked through his living room and towards the stairs with William in tow.   The wolf looked at some of the pictures on the wall, and noticed a recurring theme; the pictures were always of the stork with a baby, sometimes with a family, and occasionally without.  William noticed a picture, and a little caption that he’d never noticed before that accompanied each picture.   –July 14th, 1972.  William Hawkins-    William looked closely at the picture and the date, it was his birthday.  “Is this me?”  The stork stopped and retreated up the steps, taking a close glance at the picture, and then giving a nod “mmhmm, that’s you.”  William followed the stork down the staircase, after prying himself away from the picture.  William couldn’t make the math work in his head, the stork didn’t look a day over 30, and he looked the same in the picture as he did walking down the hallway.  “How old are you?”  The stork stopped for a moment, “I think I’m around 170 or so, I stopped counting a while ago.”  William was still pondering when he noticed another picture, this one of Cornelius and a younger female stork.  She looked around 17, William looked closely at the caption “Jenny, to be taken is an unfair fate-  1962”    The stork opened a wooden door and gestured for William to go first “Come along now, we’re behind schedule, and we should really get started.”  William still didn’t know where they were headed, but he could hear crying.  The stork opened the door, and without acknowledging William, went over to one of the oversized cribs and busied himself with the dog that was inside. William thought the girl looked around 9 years old, but he had too many questions.  “What’s going on? Is that girl in a crib?”…  William never did get his answers; he was restrained by two other storks, and he felt a cliché pinprick in his neck.  William was still wide awake, and it confused him slightly “aren’t I supposed to pass out now?”  One of the storks laughed, “Naw, that was just an antibiotic and a numbing agent, makes you less resilient.”  The stork held up a small pill “this on the other hand, is an entirely different matter…”  William did his best to keep his mouth shut the whole time, but the storks succeeded in the end, and William ended up swallowing the pill.  With the blackness filling the corners of his eyes, William heard the stork telling his assistants to help him, and then everything was dark.

 

            William’s head felt the aftershocks of a headache as he woke up, and he was still slightly out of it.  Not enough however, not to notice that he was strapped to his bed, William looked around and thought better, his crib.  William drifted back to sleep, he felt drained and tired.    

 

            William felt he was in a nightmare, with storks.  Not that storks were known to make appearances in nightmares, William thought to himself, but apparently they were central in his…  The storks were pumping him full of strange liquids, and putting odd mechanical things on his head and neck and paws. The storks never spoke in his dreams, only smiled.  William had tried to talk once, it hadn’t gone well.  One of the storks tied an oversized pacifier into his mouth, and tied it in place, and that was the end of that. 

 

            William had spent nearly a week in the devices that kept him in REM sleep, wavering in-between consciousness and sleep.  Whenever William had thought that he might’ve been awake, the storks were always doing something, but it didn’t matter much to him, because he was sure he’d wake up eventually….

 

            One of the storks made his usual wave, “night-night, little William, we’re all done for now.”  William made a weak nod and fell back asleep, assured that this was the end of his horrid nightmare.

 

If the genius of Poe has anything to teach us, however dear reader, it is that when one is in a nightmare, one has little control over anything, especially when he wakes up…

 

 

            William heard a little girl’s voice. It was squeaky, and it spoke with the tiniest of lisps.  His head hurt, and he’d no clue about his dream, it felt so real…  “Mithter,  mithter!” the voice urged  “wake up! Nap time over!”  William groaned and rubbed his eyes opening them to see a little dog, a setter to be precise.  William tried his hardest to move, but was having trouble, the setter seemed to notice and commented, while she sat on his chest.  “Dat’s the dwugs dey put in you, make it hard to move.”   The setter wagged her tail excitedly and scurried off to another corner of the nursery and retrieved a ball,  toddling back over to William, the setter plopped down next to him, and looked up at him, with the gleaming eyes of youth “wanna pway wif me?”    William’s mind was clearing up, though he was still having trouble moving, “where am I?”   the setter played with her ball, and took a moment of reflection before responding,  “dis is da nursery, dis is where we play!”  William rolled over on his side, and heard a curious crinkling sound,  examining himself, he noted that he’d been dressed like a toddler, sleeper, pacifier and what’s worse, William thought, the proper undergarments were included as well…

 

The setter seemed to notice William’s consternation and stood up, padding over to the wolf, and giving him a hug “it’s okay, mithter, it’s not so bad after a while.”  William held the little form of the setter, “What’s your name, little one?”  The setter stood back, and proudly announced herself as Andrea, (she pronounced it as “Andwea”) and that she was 5 (she had to count out the years on her paw digits)

 

            William was still having trouble moving hours later, Andrea had done her best to explain, but he still didn’t quite understand what was going on.   Yet another stork, this time, a caretaker type person picked up Andrea and announced that it was snack time for the little ones.  Andrea waved with bye bye with her paw as the nurse carried her off commenting about how Andrea could use a change, and William could do nothing, as two others carried him off to his lunch date with Cornelius.

 

            William tried to engage the stork’s assistants in conversation, but like his dream. His attempts were short lived,   for the moment William tried to talk; a pacifier was stuffed in his mouth and tied in place, just like the dream.  The assistants finished restraining him in his oversized highchair as William muffled and cursed, and saw that a tray was being pushed nearby that had the instruments of infant feeding upon it, laid out as though this was a medical procedure.

 

            The stork waited until all the preparations had been made, and then he himself took a seat near William, who tried to struggle against his bonds, but found himself unable to move.    The stork gave William’s cheek a pinch and gently removed the pacifier; it’s an unusual move to be sure, for the stork knew the obscenities that would pour out to him.  The stork tied a bib around William’s mouth and told him that if he spit any of the food up, or if he cursed any more, he would be given a little shock, due to the nodes that the assistants had placed near William’s temples, seemingly, he’d forgotten about them up until the stork reminded him of their presence. 

 

William had regained much of his voice in the past hours, and his reaction was understandable.  “Why you sorry little piece of sh…”    the stork didn’t even allow the obscenities to continue before he mashed down the little red button that caused William to convulse in the highchair.   The feeding continued, William doing his best not to cry every time he spit out the food or bottle, and the shocks continued.   William finally broke down, and his cries echoed down the hall. 

 

            The feeding never seemed to end, nightly his screams were heard as William was loathe to let his adult life go, but at one point, his training finally did subside, and he was lain to rest in his crib, nearly unconscious, and full from the baby food and milk that had been forced into him.

 

 

            William woke up in his crib again, this time, feeling slightly uncomfortable down below, if you catch my drift.  William reflected on the past few weeks, he’d never accepted what happened fully, not that he’d ever get used to it he was sure, no matter what the stork had told him.   So William was an old paw by now with wetting and messing himself, but this was a whole new deal, now William was wetting in his sleep.   William’s stork nurse came in and changed Andrea’s diaper first. Andrea’s chemical imbalance (her regression) had finally slowed to the point where she was stable at 7 months or so.  This being the lowest the stork could regress without harming the actual body of the, ahem, participant.

 

            Andrea, being cleaned up and entertained by the nurse, left William with some more time to think.  William had thought about his own regression, shocked at how much had been stripped away from him so quickly.   William could barely remember anymore, how old was he?  William thought around 12 or so, a far cry from his former self.  William thought about how he was becoming more cooperative, he had learned not to swear at the stork anymore, and he had taken slightly to cuddling a stuffed animal. (It made him feel better, something soft in a world of storks who wanted nothing more than to torture him)   William just relaxed as he took his turn on the changing table, he knew it wasn’t worth the hassle of making a fuss, so William just lay back and let it happen.   The stork making conversation while he ripped the soaked diaper from William’s groin and replacing it with a clean one.  With the stork helping William into a sleeper and giving him his plushie, William joined the rest of the kids in the playroom.  William was by far the oldest of the kids by now, but he was catching up, so to speak.

 

            William spent another month, mired in routine, and feeling himself slowly losing his mind, he couldn’t remember the stork’s name, nor what his life was like before he came to the stork’s mountain home.    I suppose that the old song was right  “ya don’t know what ya got till it’s gone”    I don’t think we shall ever know if William did get used to his babyhood,  all we do know is that the storks techniques had never failed.

 

 

Spring. Time of rebirth and beauty.

 

And usually the stork’s busy season.

 

 

            The stork flew high above the houses of the city; he let the warm air grace his feathers as his little bundles of joy giggled with the rush of air.   The stork landed lightly on the sidewalk and gave his cocksure smile, playing with the little paws.     This time the news crew came prepared, and it was all the stork could do to get the siblings delivered, announcing the names.   A little girl and a boy, who had no memories, because they were only babies.

 

 

            The stork, gave a condescending smirk to the usual reporter questions, dodging and weaving his way without ever giving any private information away.  The female fox shoved a microphone in the storks face and asked the same question as always, 

 

 

“Where do you get your children?”  

 

 

            The stork shook his head, “don’t you know to never bite the wing that feeds you?”  the stork flapped his wings and turned his head,  “perhaps you may find out one day,  Linda,”  the stork took off into the sky,  “perhaps, sooner than you think, for spring always returns, as do I”