Chapter 1: E Lui

Kinley Kahn surveyed her new charges with something approaching disgust. Planting season was coming on; how could anyone possibly think she had time to take care of children!

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She followed the toddlers into the old brick house and sighed. She had been provided with a small stipend upon being told that she was to be a mother, but it was barely enough to fund the purchase of a small plastic toilet for potty training and a pack of flashcards. She silently prayed to the Watcher that she could get the kids out of diapers quickly, then quickly threw in a prayer to the Patron to the same effect. Thoughts are probably private, but you never know who’s watching.

Looking over by her bed, she realized that the oil lamp on the floor would have to go, or at least be elevated. The lamps elsewhere were on cheap foldout tables, and all the other lights were modern battery-powered lamps, but this one wasn’t. It was a shame- the light by her bed was nice. Maybe if she found some raw lumber, she could test her rusty woodworking skills and make a nightstand.

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A crash brought the toddlers back to her attention, One of them had found his way into her pots and pans. She sighed. Both of them would need shoes, and one was wearing nothing but a diaper.

After a short battle, she managed to wrestle the naked toddler into a pair of cargo pants and a tiny grey hoodie. She felt a little glad for once that she hadn’t managed to sell her baby clothes.

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Kinley sighed again. Time to get to work. She set one toddler on the potty and got out the pack of flashcards. “Colors,” she said. “See-oh-el-oh-ar-ess. Colors.”

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“Momokwe?” the toddler said, eyes hopeful.

“No, colors. Look, kid, if you’re going to be difficult this is not going to work out. Say it with me. Col-ors.”

“Col-ors,” said the toddler.

“That’s right. Not bad, uh… damm, you little brats don’t have names, do you?” Kinley suddenly realized that she was in charge – and she didn’t like it.

“Well, let’s see. You, over there. Yeah, you kid. You can be David, after Dad. And you…” She looked back to the toddler on the floor in front of her.

“E lui!” the toddler chirped.

“Elui. Yeah, Elui. That’s a good name for you.”

Kinley stood up and looked around.

“Well, David and Elui, welcome to the family.”

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