Always there for the children
Mummy loves me, I know she does, she loves me so very much. She tends to be me without complaint, she cares for me without asking for anything in return, she loves me and I love her.
Yet there is this small voice at the back of my mind that says this is wrong, that I am not a baby, that I am older than this. The voice screams at what is happening and tries to speak out, only to be silenced when mummy makes me drink from my ba ba. The milk is so nummy and I enjoy it so much, it makes me feel so strange though.
And there is the voice she leaves on when I go to sleep, a voice that says that I am a little baby. I fall asleep listening to the voice and I feel strange, I feel like I am shrinking within myself.
The other voice screams and cries very loudly when I feel smaller while the voice mummy leaves behind is speaking to me, it sounds so unhappy.
As I close my eyes and feel small, a woman appears beside my crib, she is not mummy but she does look at me with such kindness and concern.
I reach for her tiredly but she does not reach for me, she just looks at me then disappears as she always does.
I do not know who she is, but she does look very worried about me. Mummy never sees her though, even when she is standing right next to her.
She is very nice, whoever she is.
Case ~ 2013:
Sip coffee, wince, vile stuff. Why she drunk it when she couldn’t stand it she never knew, she just downed the stuff like it was going to disappear any time soon. Another sip, wince, try to focus on her work, rub bridge of her nose, another sip, another wince.
“Faster, Alice, faster, the coffee will run out if you don’t go faster” Someone mummers to her close by, always the same jokes from the same people.
“Sod faster, find me something that can keep me awake that isn’t this disgusting swill and I’ll go at a much better pace” She mummers back in return. So much paperwork to go through, so many case files and her doubts about how much difference any of this was making continued to increase.
Paperwork Hell would be a better name for the job than Social Worker. All that would make it complete is someone playing some ‘music’ from one of the over hyped by teenage girls, manufactured pop singers that played on the radio so often.
And on that thought it begins to play. She groans and tries to cover her ears to no success.
“Kill me now, please, just kill me” She groans as the music gets louder.
“Pen, throttling or being buried by paperwork? Take your pick” The badly made sounds of the pathetic excuse for music continues to get worse and she looks over to the clock, hoping, praying that work is done for the day.
“Either, as long as I don’t have to hear that noise” A break was needed, a good, long break. Anywhere but here so to speak.
She doesn’t see her supervisor stopping at her desk and setting a folder down, not until she hears a polite cough.
“New case for you, take a look” Her supervisor is a plain man in his mid fifties, the usual expected pot belly threatening to pop out and spread around the work space in all of it’s hairy glory, a bald patch on his head that could probably blind people with it’s glare if he ever polished it, a weak moustache that showed traces of dried egg from his lunch and looked a little like a hairy caterpillar that had gotten glued to his upper lip, oh the clichés aplenty.
She takes the folder from her desk, flips it open and does a quick scan over.
“No report from the police?” She asks as she reads.
“They keep saying that it doesn’t seem all that important, typical response, they’re probably more interested in watching out for speeding pensioners in their electric carts” A snort of laughter from close by, she ignores it.
“No all police are like that. Has anyone tried to contact the mother?” She looks at the picture of a teenage girl, she was pretty, around 16 years old, typical kind of hair style, a little too much make up in areas, slim but not skinny.
She could be anyone’s teenage daughter really.
“Yep, she hangs up very quickly so that says there’s something going on. I can easily send someone else to investigate if you’re too busy being miserable” Hold on the scowl and sarcastic remark on that one, she was fed up but she still had her manners.
“I’ll investigate, place is like where I was raised anyway. I’ll head out now, a few hours driving has got to be better than listening to the sorry excuse of music that’s playing” Anything had to be better than that, anything.
Four hours into her drive and she was already beginning to feel better, no paperwork, no annoying music, just the silence of her car and having something to do that wasn’t dotting the ‘I’s and crossing the ‘T’s. Much better.
Since it would likely be an over night investigation or maybe a few days then she had quickly headed for her little flat and packed the basics, she was never one for taking everything but the kitchen sink, mostly because the car just wasn’t big enough for everything.
And being single meant she didn’t have to inform a loved one, and also not having any family at all also reduced the amount of messages and notes she would have to sort out. All she had was her quiet flat and her job which she didn’t really care for but did because it was better than nothing.
The building that the flat was in wasn’t exactly fit for any pets so that wasn’t a concern, she didn’t really have much to her life and she liked it that way, less complications and expectations.
“The missing girl has maybe run off with a boyfriend or a girlfriend, teens tend to do stupid things like that. Still I should be certain, we already get enough grief because of the bureaucrats making it hard for us to do our job. I could do with the time away from the office anyway, I was starting to lose my mind” Turning off at a junction from the main highway, she checks the GPS to be certain that she’s going the right way, it really needed updating to a better model, and resumes to her destination, a sleepy little village in the countryside.
She had been raised in one such place when she was a child, she had left home in her early twenties and moved to the local city in the hopes of something more exciting than life in a village. After twenty years she ached to be back at the peaceful village of her childhood, not that she had much to return home to.
Her parents had died within a year of one another a few years ago, cancer in the family, and her only sibling, a brother, had died a little over a decade previously when he was killed by a friend by accident during some silly prank. Any other relatives were too far removed or simply didn’t care enough.
She still wondered about moving to a quiet village though, somewhere where she could have a garden like her parents used to have, maybe spend her days gardening and doing little of anything but living a peaceful, unremarkable life far from the noise and discomfort of the city.
Maybe after this investigation was complete she could see if her savings would be enough to allow for that kind of life, it wasn’t like she bothered with holidays after all and she didn’t own much so bills weren’t too major.
It sounded tempting, wonderfully so.
Taking a right down a country lane, she continues driving until she can make out the ever present symbol of any rural village – a church spire.
“It really is true, no matter where you go in the countryside you will always see a spire. Maybe we should rename the UK into the United Country Of Church Spires, these things tend to be more permanent than the residents” The car enters what could be best defined as a tree tunnel, both sides of the road were populated by trees who’s tops didn’t let much light come in to the road, and she exits the other side into what could be considered a very quaint village.
And it was, it looked like a mix of old and new with some houses looking like they’ve been around a few centuries while others look to be much more recent. The road splits and leads into another part of the village and also leads to the church, the usual village landmark for many such places, while the other road leads up to another part of the village.
It made her think of the village she had been raised in and her heart ached to return to such a place on a permanent basis.
Noting what appears to be a combined shop and post office, maybe the only one of it’s kind in the village, she stops outside and enters to ask for directions.
The shop itself is what you would expect for a village shop, not very big with a small but reasonable enough selection and a post office located at the back, nothing special but just right.
Once she has the directions she needs, and a few glances from people when they hear her ask for directions to her destination, she gets back in her car and carefully follows the memorised directions, turning left then right where needed and stopping at her destination.
Taking the folder and her hand bag, along with her coat, from the passenger seat, she locks the car and heads up to the house which itself looks to be maybe less than a century old if that.
There is a front garden that looks like it hasn’t been tended to recently, she can see a baby swing next to a baby slide, a strange thing to see for a family that has no young children under the age of 16, and an absence of wall vines growing around the walls, which was fine with her.
Tugging at her shirt which was a little rumpled from the drive, she takes a breath, exhales and knocks at the door.
Nanny ~ 1909:
Legs together, arms held close to the body, hands clasped in front, stand straight and firm, head held high but not too high as to appear snobby. She could hear her grandmother’s voice as she sat on the chair in the hallway, oh what an authority figure she had been.
She wondered if her grandmother was watching her from heaven at this time, was she proud of her granddaughter for remembering what she had been taught? She liked to think so.
“Miss Harlen, the master of the house will see you now” She nods and with grace stands up from the chair and follows the butler to the study where she is led in with prompt and a slight hint of a smirk. The butler, a cold man who towered over her, didn’t seem to think much to her, he had remarked quite rudely on her lack of formality when she had arrived for the interview.
“Now remember, my girl, you will always encounter those who will look down on you. Don’t let them get to you, you have every right to be there and if you are the right woman for the job then you should look them firmly in the eyes and demand respect without saying a word” She knew that her grandmother would not take such disrespect kindly, she was not her grandmother however and she did, admittedly, feel intimidated.
She wanted the job though and she knew that she was the right woman for the job, she may not come from a noble background but she did come from a background of hardworking and headstrong women.
It didn’t help, though, that her knees were close to knocking from fear at being turned down. She really needed the job, she didn’t want to be sent to the workhouse.
“Come in then, girl, come in” A gruff yet also gentle voice says from a man who has gotten up from a very beautifully made desk. She enters quickly but not too quickly and stops before the man, being sure to keep her posture strong and trying not to show her nervousness.
“So you wish to be the new nanny?” He asks and she nods. “Have you ever looked after children before?”
“My sister’s children, my siblings and many of the village’s children, sir” She answers carefully, hoping that her voice doesn’t squeak.
“And you come here from a common background, how do I know that you will educate my children as required? How would you feel about such long hours caring for children who might not like you?” He was testing her, her grandmother had taught her that employers would do this.
“My background, sir, has no bearing on my effectiveness for this job. I am willing to work the hours required of me and I am willing to educate any children, I am, after all, here for the sake of the children and nothing else. If I am not to your standards, sir, then I doubt you will find one who is. Forgive my boldness, sir, I know I am the right woman for the job” He chuckles, a good indication perhaps. She needed the work and she didn’t mind if she had to change the dirty linens of children or read to them until her throat was raw, as long as she had a job.
“My, girl, you are a bold one. The job is yours, you will begin immediately if that is okay” Reaching over for a bell on his desk, he rings it and the study door opens, the butler stands in the doorway.
“Yes, sir?” He asks, his tone a tad too uppity for her liking.
“Show our new nanny to the nursery, she will need to meet the children” She doesn’t need to turn to feel the butler’s cold gaze settling on her and looking at her as if she is something dirty.
“Yes, sir. This way, miss” That was the first step done, she thinks to herself as she follows the butler, now to hope the children will take to me.
Case ~ 2013:
Opening slowly, after the sound of an assorted number of locks can be heard being unlocked, un-tabbed and so on can be heard, a woman’s face peeks out from behind the door, she looks to be in her mid 30s or near about that age.
“My name is Nancy Simons, I am from the Social Work Department investigating the disappearance of a teenage girl who I believe is your daughter, she goes by the name of Laura Carols” She doesn’t move from where she is standing, she doesn’t want to alarm the woman with any sudden movements.
“Miss Carols, I am here to help, please may I come in?” Annette Carols, the mother of the missing teenage girl, shakes her head and makes to close the door. Nancy reaches out with a hand and pushes against the door, she wasn’t going to just walk away, especially after coming all this way.
“Miss Carols, I can call the police and they will ensure that I can do my investigation. I do not want to call them unless it is absolutely necessary, now please, let me help find your daughter” For a second she is certain that she can hear infant like laughter from within the house.
“I don’t need your help, please just leave me alone” The laughter can be heard again and a babyish voice can be heard calling for their mother.
“I must insist, Miss Carols, your daughter is missing and it is my job to find out where she is and ensure that she is returned home to her mother” Pushing firmly but not too heavily, Nancy tries to prevent the door from closing. She can hear voices behind her from villagers watching what’s going on.
“Please, Miss Carols, let me help” A deep sign can be heard from behind the door and it opens wider to show Annette Carols in full, she was a few inches shorter than Nancy, dark blonde hair with hazel coloured eyes, she looked a few years older than her actual age. She also looked a little tired.
“Fine, don’t want the police kicking down my door. Come in then” She steps back to let Nancy in, locking and closing the door once Nancy has entered.
“The records don’t mention about you having another child” Nancy remarks as she hears the babyish laughter again.
“Because I haven’t, you’ve come a long way for nothing anyway, my daughter’s here at home” Frowning, Nancy insists on seeing the daughter and Annette leads her through to the living room.
On entering the living room, which has the strong scent of baby powder, Nancy stops when she sees something she hadn’t expected, the teenage girl sitting on the floor in just a thick adult sized nappy and a t-shirt with a kind of childish like design on it. She was shaking a rattle and giggling loudly in delight at the action.
Aside from her size and indications of the woman she was developing into, there were no behavioural indications of a teenager of sixteen years old, if anything the behaviour and actions seemed to be that of a young child of around a year old, maybe a few months older than that.
“Tell me everything, Miss Carols, everything”
Nanny ~ 1909:
Days turn into weeks and thanks to the children liking her from the first meeting, she has come to enjoy waking up in the mornings and going to work. Most days she would sleep in a spare room close to the nursery so that she could be ready to help the children at a moment’s notice, other times she would be able to go home and help her sister in caring for their dying mother.
The wages, meagre that they are, are a help in buying the needed medications that their mother needed, although food was a continuing issue. Neighbours helped with what little they could spare but it was never enough sadly.
Still she worked hard and tried not to show the dire straits that she was in, she didn’t want to be seen as ungrateful for the job if she dared to ask for any help in regards of food and other needs for herself, her sister and her mother.
Although she got to eat while at work, she was unable to take any of that food home since the butler would search her whenever she left the house. She knew that he didn’t trust her because of her background, sneaking food out wasn’t likely as long as he kept treating her like she was out to rob the house blind, which she wasn’t.
A few of the maids who worked around the house knew of her increasingly dire straits, a few of them she knew since childhood, and they also had trouble getting anything past the butler.
She had wondered about asking for a raise but she didn’t know how such a request would be taken, she badly needed to do something.
“Miss Harlen” A woman’s voice says sharply one day while she is watching the children play in the garden outside. Picking herself up and brushing at her clothes, Tracy Harlen stands straight, just as her grandmother would have insisted.
The lady of the house, Mrs Bethany Timons, walks up to her with a slight hint of expensive perfume wafting from her, the smell makes Tracy’s eyes itch and she fights back the impulse to rub her eyes.
“The children have taken to you quickly, their previous nanny’s have usually remarked on how stubborn the children tend to be with them” The children had taken to her quickly, that was true, maybe it was because she was young herself, barely 21 years.
“Yes, ma’am, they have been on their most delightful behaviour with me, ma’am” One of the children, the youngest, a little girl of about four years, runs up to them and looks up to her mother with her arms open.
“Up, mummy, up!” Her mother just looks down at her as if seeing something distasteful, an eye twitches and she backs away. She clearly had no love for her children or thought herself as above them in every way, which probably explained the many nanny’s before Tracy.
“Tend to her, Miss Harlen, it would be unsightly for me to give such attention to a child” The young girl looks disappointed and hurt from her mother’s remark and looks up at Tracy who promptly picks her up and holds her close.
“Children should be seen and not heard after all, wouldn’t you agree Miss Harlen?” Tracy bites back a sharp retort, she hated such a view, but she wanted to keep the job and mummers a ‘Yes Ma’am’. Giving a slight humph, Bethany turns away and heads to wherever she thinks is more important than spending time with her children.
“Mummy hates me” The young girl in her arms says with a sob in her voice.
“She doesn’t hate you, little one, she’s just a product of her upbringing. You are much too precious and adorable to hate” Cradling the child in her arms, her back complaining a little from the weight she is cradling, Tracy rocks from side to side slowly in an effort to calm the unhappy child in her arms.
She hoped that one day such a behaviour like that shown by Mrs Timons would eventually be done away with, adults who thought in such a way didn’t understand just how damaging such a behaviour was to children.
And she didn’t want any child to suffer if she could help it, she was, after all, there to take care of the children.
Case ~ 2013:
Placing her handbag and the case folder down, Nancy goes over to the teenage girl, or baby would be the better term, and kneels down in front of her.
“Can you understand me?” She asks slowly, her response is some baby babble while a little drool drops down from the child’s chin onto the t-shirt.
“What did you do?” Nancy asks. “This is little more than abuse!” Another babble followed by a giggle.
“I was scared for her future” Annette stammers. “I didn’t want her to make the same mistakes I made so I decided that the best way to keep her safe would be to return her to infancy, that way I could keep her close and keep her safe” Pushing herself up from where she was kneeling, Nancy turns to face Annette who is looking both protective and troubled.
“How did you do it? This kind of thing would be seen as child abuse in the courts and I will have to write this up in my report, you can’t keep your daughter like this, she’s a young woman, not a baby” Something catches her eye and she turns to face it, but sees nothing there. Shaking away whatever she thought she saw, Nancy indicates to Annette to sit.
“I need you to tell me everything, don’t tell me any lies. Maybe your daughter can be helped to be who she was again, it will take some time but I’m sure it can be done” Annette sits close to her daughter, she looks even more worn out than she did earlier, she waits until Nancy sits before she begins.
“When I was my daughter’s age I made a mistake that lost me my family, I got drunk, got raped and ended up pregnant. My parents were disgusted by me and threw me out on the streets, saying I was disgusting and brought shame on the family with my actions. I was sixteen, I had been stupid and I had been violated by someone who couldn’t control themselves. I blamed myself and everyone else blamed me, even those who I thought were my friends” She gently lays a hand on her daughter’s shoulder, her daughter shaking her rattle again and giggling happily.
“I didn’t have anywhere to go and for the first few months of my pregnancy I was going from doorway to doorway begging for what little money I could get just to be able to eat, somehow the baby in my womb survived those months. I was taken in by a shelter but they fell into financial issues so I had to go back out on the streets. I attempted suicide only to be stopped when a couple saw me, I was then placed in hospital and I spent the rest of my pregnancy there since I had nowhere else to go, my parents refused to even accept that I existed” Slipping a hand into her daughter’s nappy, she pulls it out and rubs her fingers together.
“Excuse me for a moment, my daughter needs changing” Helping the large baby girl up, Annette takes her daughter out of the room and returns about five minutes or so later with her, placing her down in a large playpen before sitting down again.
“Sorry about that, she tends to get cranky after a few minutes of needing a nappy change. Anyway as I was saying, after my daughter was born I couldn’t stay in the hospital much longer. A house was found in this village and I moved here with my daughter, I’ve lived here with her since, raising her on what little benefits I get while working part time. I had to quit my job when the business went bust in the recent recession and I’ve been living off my savings, what little there are, and the benefits” Nancy stops writing and looks over to a corner, frowning, she was sure she had seen something.
“What?” Annette asks.
“Nothing, probably just a little fatigued from the drive. Go on” Looking over to her daughter with an expression of strong motherly love, Annette continues.
“A few months ago when my daughter turned 16 I began to worry, she was expressing her distaste for living in this village. She wanted excitement in her life, she was saying the kind of things I used to say. The more she said them the more I saw her as myself in the future, a mother filled with regrets caring for a child or children she was barely managing to support. I didn’t want that kind of life for her so I did some research and learned of regression hypnosis tapes that could make someone act a particular age. I was desperate to keep my daughter from making the same mistakes I had made so I bought many of the tapes that pertained to a regression to a more infantile frame of mind. I then bought laxatives and other things and gradually introduced those to my daughter in her food, it didn’t take long until she needed to be back in nappies. As she slept I would play the hypnosis tapes and they were working quickly, with each day she was becoming less of a teenager and more of a young child. Then when it was time I kept her confined to the house or close to it, I did it to protect her, I didn’t want to harm her. But it’s been harder to look after her than it used to be, she was easier to carry and tend to when she was smaller” Happy giggles can be heard from the playpen then soft snores as the teenage baby takes a nap.
“Miss Carols, I can understand why you did this, but this kind of thing would be seen as child abuse. I understand that you wanted to protect your daughter and keep her from making the same mistakes as you, but for all you know she might not make those same mistakes if you help her not to. Reducing her to the mental age of a young child isn’t the best way, she’s a young woman who is being trapped in her own body by a mother who, while intending only the best for her daughter, will be seen as an unfit parent by the courts. My report will state why you did what you did, but it is highly likely that your daughter will be taken into the custody of the care system to undergo medical help in being restored to her former mental age and you will be imprisoned. Surely you must have known that this would be investigated when your daughter disappeared suddenly? You wouldn’t have been able to keep this a secret for very long” Nancy stops and looks to just behind Annette, she was certain that she had seen the figure of a woman appear.
“Miss Carols, do you have anyone else living here with you?” Annette shakes her head.
“No, there’s just me and my daughter, why?” Annette turns in her chair to look behind it, but sees no one.
“Maybe it’s the dim lighting in here. I’ll finish writing up my report and report in to my supervisor, we’ll see where it goes from there. This is a serious case, Miss Carols, I don’t know what legal aid there could be for you that will protect you due to this. But I’ll see what I can find, I understand why you did this to your daughter, I just wish you hadn’t” Annette looks down at her hands and sighs tiredly.
“I know, I’ve been regretting it for the past few weeks. When she was smaller she was a handful but easier to care for, at her age now she’s hard to carry around and is more of a handful than she was when she was a baby in full. Maybe my daughter would be better off without me in her life, I’ve caused more harm than good to her and I didn’t have any intention on doing that. I just wanted to keep her from making the same mistakes I did” Looking over to the sleeping teenage baby, Annette sighs sadly and hopes that her daughter can be helped.
Nanny ~ 1909:
A little over eight months into her employment and winter was fast on the approach, it would be a sorrowful winter for herself and her sister now that their mother had passed on almost four months previously, she had died peaceful in her sleep and the funeral had been a humble affair.
Straight after their mother had died, her sister had sought for any kind of employment so that she could lose herself in her work instead of being at home so often by herself. Tracy managed to find her sister a job at her work place, a maid’s job which wasn’t much but it was better than nothing. Her sister was grateful to say the least.
They both missed their mother deeply and when they had time alone they would talk about her and how much they missed her, and how angry they were at their father for not attending the funeral. From what they had been told he had been in the pub the entire time flirting with women and drinking too much, where he got the money for his habit they had no idea.
At times they would speak of leaving the village and heading for the city in the hopes of making a better life, but that was too beyond their limited wages. They didn’t see much of a future for themselves.
This day, as the cold winds come in and the air turns colder than usual, Tracy is taking a small break from her work. She has barely eaten in hours nor tended to any bodily needs so the break is very welcome.
Tuning out the sounds of the house staff as they work, she thinks back to happier days when she and her sister would play and dream of a life that they would never have, a life of wanting for nothing, innocent dreams of childish hope.
They found though that such dreams were not very likely, and when their mother had fallen ill while their father didn’t bother to lend a hand in her care, they found themselves struggling to survive on even less than they already had.
Their grandmother had died just after Tracy’s first period and what little inheritance there had been was quickly spent on medical care while a lot of it had been taken by their father who had wasted it in the local pub.
Now their mother was gone, the house was silent and what little money they had was barely enough for their basic needs. Their jobs and one another were all they had left.
“Miss Harlen” A somewhat aloof voice says and she looks up to see the butler, a Mr. Peter Ramstone, looking down at her.
“Yes, Mr. Ramstone?” She asks, she knew he disapproved of her and her sister. He didn’t make it a secret that he didn’t trust them and he would always seem to be watching them no matter where they were.
“Should you not be working?” His voice is cold and hard, even more so when directed at her and her sister.
“I am taking my break, sir, I will be returning to work in a few minutes. The children are having their afternoon nap” His gaze seemed to make her feel small, like she was shrinking into herself, she hated the way he looked at her.
“You are lazy” He says rudely. “I will be reporting this to the lord of the house” He turns to leave and Tracy gets up quickly from where she was sitting.
“No, sir, please. He insisted that I take a break when the children are having their nap and that is what I am doing, why do you hate me so? I have done nothing to you to warrant such disdain!” He turns to her, a foot or so taller than her, and his eyes look into hers.
“You exist, Miss Harlen, that is enough for me to have such disdain for one as common as you. You dirty this house with your presence and were it up to me I would have thrown you into the street where you would scrabble in the dirt like the filth you are. You and your sister do not belong here and do not belong in the presence of anyone, your mother was clearly a cheap whore for opening her legs to a disgrace of a man like your lowly father” She hears her grandmother’s voice in her mind telling her to keep herself calm, to never react to any barb and insult thrown her way, a lady never lowered herself to the position of a bully after all.
“That does not give you the right to disrespect me so, Mr. Ramstone. I am an employee of this house and unless Mr. Timons himself fires me then you will have to get used to seeing me working here. My father is a drunk and a fool, but he is also my father. My mother is in the ground and far from the insults of one such as you, sir, while me and my sister are just trying to get by in the world like anyone else. We can not help how our birth came to be nor where we come from, we can only do our best to work and make something out of our lives however meagre that may be. Now if you will excuse me, sir, I have work to do and two children to care for” Pushing herself past and ignoring the expression of the kitchen workers who had overheard, Tracy heads upstairs to check on the children. She tried to ignore the small cuts in her palms from where her fingers had dug in when trying to control her anger.
Case ~ 2013:
After reporting in to her supervisor who suggested that she stay a night or two while arrangements were being made for the daughter, Nancy asks Annette if she has a spare bed that she could sleep in for the next couple of nights or so. Annette was happy to have the help and showed Nancy to the one spare bedroom, it was small but it would do nicely for the duration.
Logging online via her laptop, she found herself doing some research on the village and learned that the house she was in was around ninety years old and had been built on the ruins of a former mansion that had burned down over a century ago.
Information was limited but it did mention that there had been three deaths, a nanny and the two children. No one knew how the fire had started.
The only other article, and it was a strange one, had been made a few years later. It mentioned the disappearance of the butler who had been seen just less than an hour earlier entering his house, there had been a man’s scream and when the police had stormed into the house they had found a baby girl alone in the house in the living room, reports stated that the butler had no children though and there were no reports of any missing children in the area.
“No name recorded about the nanny who died, nor the butler who had disappeared. The only names are the husband and wife who used to own the mansion, and the only other news on them is their deaths four decades later near to London. I wish they had kept better records back then” After another twenty minutes of fruitless searching, Nancy logs out of her lap top and goes to check on Laura, who was currently being bathed by Annette.
She waits until Laura is dried and dressed, her clothing now consisting of another thick nappy and a onesie, before speaking. After Laura is placed in her playpen again, Annette sits down tiredly.
“Looking after a teenage sized baby is definitely not something I recommend to anyone” Annette remarks with a tired sigh.
“You should have thought of that before you reduced her mentally to an infant” Nodding in agreement to Nancy’s remark, Annette sits back in her chair, savouring the time to relax.
“I did a little research on this house, a lot of the records are incomplete. The place that existed here before this house was built has raised some questions for me, and this may sound unusual, but have you been seeing things since moving into this house?” Annette doesn’t respond at first and Nancy doesn’t rush her.
“Laura would sometimes remark about seeing someone, a woman, when she was younger. She stopped doing that as she neared puberty. Sometimes I get the impression that I’m being watched, but I’m sure many people get that feeling. I’ve sometimes seen something out of the corner of my eye but just dismissed it as nothing, why?” Nancy shakes her head, dismissing what’s she’s about to say, it sounded too silly.
“Nothing. Tonight you must not use the hypnosis tapes, nor do anything to keep your daughter like this. She does still need to wear nappies, yes, and she will need to sleep in her crib until it’s safe for her to sleep in a bed again, but you need to let her grow up again, to let her older mindset manage to take control again. That might take time, it’s hard to say how long that will take, it could take weeks or months or even years” Annette nods, she knew that this was for the best. As much as she wanted to keep her daughter safe she knew that what she had done wasn’t the best way.
“She will be taken into care, there is nothing I can do to prevent that, and you will be placed under psychiatric care before being taken under arrest. I will try my best to find some good legal aid and I will explain everything you’ve told me to them. It’s the best I can do at this time” Again Annette nods, the sounds of a happy baby playing can be heard from the playpen, soon it would be bedtime for her.
“Guess I’ll show you around the house” Lifting herself up from the chair with a pained groan, she shows Nancy around the house. The last room they come to is closed and Nancy tries to open it.
“Why is this door locked?” She asks, Annette shrugs.
“I don’t know, it’s always been locked in the years I’ve lived here. I’ve tried looking for a key but there isn’t one, I’ve tried often to open the door with no luck. All the council could tell me was that it was always locked for as long as the house has been standing” Placing her hand on the door, Nancy leans her head against the door in the hopes of hearing anything on the other side, nothing, just silence.
“Maybe I can see if we can get the door opened after your daughter’s being cared for in hospital. Will you need any help for tonight? I’m sure I can tend to Laura if you need a rest” Yawning from clear fatigue, Annette accepts the offer and heads to bed to catch some much needed sleep.
That night Nancy tends to Laura, changing nappies and tucking her in her crib when it’s time for bed. After Laura has gone to sleep, Nancy heads back to her temporally room and does a little more research.
There was something unusual about this house and she wanted to know exactly what it was.
Nanny ~ 1909:
Seeing the excitement and happiness in their eyes for Christmas made her feel a rare joy as she watched the children unwrap their presents and proclaim with delight at what they had been given, she felt more like a mother to them these days than a nanny and she enjoyed seeing them in such joyful cheer.
The house staff would be having their Christmas dinner soon and she was looking forward to that, her sister was helping in the kitchen and had taken to doing so with her own joy, she always enjoyed being the one to do the cooking, Tracy wasn’t very good in that area.
The children would be having Christmas dinner with their parents, who didn’t exactly regard their children much, the mother especially so. But they were family and as much as Tracy would have preferred that the children have the dinner with those who did care about them, she knew she would have to brush her feelings aside and not intrude on their family time with their parents, however aloof their mother was towards them.
As she watched them, she noticed the butler looking a little shifty as he wandered around the house going to and fro, he had been looking shifty for the past week. Thankfully he tended to avoid Tracy and her sister unless he had to talk to them about something to do with their jobs or if they were being called by Mr. Timons for something. Her sharp remark to him a couple of months ago had surprised him and several others.
His behaviour was unusual though.
After the children have unwrapped all of their presents and have joined their parents for Christmas dinner, Tracy heads through to the kitchen to join the house staff who are finishing their preparations.
“I don’t think I’ll ever forget the happiness in their eyes” She remarks as she sits down to eat. “I actually found myself feeling like a mother to them, don’t look at me that way, I know I should keep an emotional distance, but I do care about them. Maybe one day I might have children of my own, I would like that. Not that I am ready for such things at this time, I can barely afford to live as it is let alone afford to provide for a child” As she eats though and enjoys her time with the staff and her sister, her thoughts wander to the children who must be having an unhappy dinner with their parents.
She truly did care about them.
That night after tucking them into bed for the night, Tracy heads to her own room close to the nursery and prepares for bed. As she turns off the lights in the room and settles into bed, she begins to fall asleep but is startled awake by a sudden scream from downstairs.
Throwing the covers aside she runs out of her bedroom and to the top of the stairs, she can see people running out of the front door.
“What’s going on?” She calls downstairs.
“There’s a fire, Tracy, get the children out of the house!” She hears someone shout just as a large burst of flame can be seen suddenly and the stairs are engulfed in flames, recalling another way out of the house she runs for the nursery and wakes the children.
“Come on, little ones, we need to leave. It’s cold outside so wrap warmly” Helping the children to wrap themselves in thick blankets, they make for the door only to find that it’s been closed and locked form the other side.
“SOMEONE, HELP! WE’RE TRAPPED IN HERE! HELP!” She screams, pounding her hands on the door. She stops when she feels the door begin to heat up, the flames were at the door.
“Over here, little ones, quickly. Wrap your arms around me and don’t let go, I’ll be right here with you, always. I love you, my angels, mummy loves you” The door bursts outwards and flames burst in, the room becomes one with the building flames.
The heat increases and she fights back the desire to scream from the heat.
“Close your eyes, my beautiful babies, close your eyes. I’m right here” She whispers. “I’m right here” Darkness embraces her as she passes out from the heat, her arms holding the children as closely as possible.
Case ~ 2013:
Two days pass and Laura’s slow recovery has began, arrangements are still being made but Laura has shown a slow improvement after two nights without the hypnosis tapes, this morning she had learned how to speak much better than before. She was still nappy dependent and that would take time for her to be potty trained again, but baby steps, in a sense, were expected as her older mindset fought back for control.
That evening as Laura was in her room playing and Annette was close by listening to the baby monitor, Nancy decided to see if she could open the locked door. She was surprised to see that it was open, as if waiting for her to enter.
Pushing the door open slowly, Nancy steps inside slowly.
Nanny ~ 1913:
The evening was warm with summer as Peter Ramstone entered his home, unlike the other staff who were struggling to care for their families after the loss of their jobs, Peter was living well from the family jewels he had stolen on the night that the mansion had burned down.
He made up lies about how he had come into a family inheritance and no one questioned him, for he was, after all, a man of good character as far as they were concerned.
After placing his coat and hat on a coat peg, he went through to his living room only to stop in horror as a woman stood before him, someone who was almost four years dead.
“Hello Mr. Ramstone” Tracy says coldly, she appeared to have a faint glow around her body, a bluish white in colour. She stood before him in the clothes she had worn when she had been working with the children.
“No, you can’t be here, you died in the fire!” Tracy nods sadly, her eyes fixed on him.
“Yes, Mr. Ramstone, I died and I know that you were the one who murdered me. Upon my death I knew who had caused the fire in the house and who locked the nursery door, I must admit to not really being surprised at you being my murderer. But to kill me and the children over the riches of their parents, that is cold even for one such as you” He tries to back out of the living room only to find that the door has closed behind him.
“You can not harm me, spirit, I am of the living! Begone, vile spectre, you have no place here as long as our Lord protects me!” Tracy smiles coldly, her dead eyes seeming to become dark.
“Yes, Mr. Ramstone, you are of the living and you will be of the living for a while longer. Although you will no longer exist as you are, I have, instead, a more fitting punishment for one of such malicious intent and heart. From this day you will no longer be a son, you will no longer know of being a man, you will be a daughter to a family who aches for a baby of their own. They will claim you soon. All that you are today will be wiped clean, all that you were will be but words and numbers in records for others to read should they care to. You took the lives of two children, Mr. Ramstone, and you took my future from me. I am returning the favour and giving you a new future, from today you will be known as Samantha Larsin. May your new life be longer than the one you took from me and the children” The room seems to become bigger as Peter finds himself starting to shrink, a feeling can be felt between his legs as his manhood disappears and a tightness on his chest as budding breasts develop then melt away. He screams in horror before his scream is cut short and replaced by the incoherent babbles of an infant.
It takes but less than a minute for Peter Ramstone to be turned into Samantha Larsin, and in his place is a baby girl of barely a year old, maybe younger.
“I am always there for the children, always” Tracy whispers to the baby girl as the last of Peter’s memories melt away to leave behind a blank slate.
Making sure that the infant will be safe until the police arrive, Tracy then fades away and returns to the house that is being built on the ruins of the former mansion.
Case ~ 2013:
Entering the room she finds, to her surprise, walls covered in words as the light snaps on by itself. There is no furniture of any kind. Looking around at the walls covered in words, she tries to read them but finds them all hard to understand, all but a few sentences. One sentence in particular grabs her attention.
‘I am always there for the children’
Kneeling down to read it again, she doesn’t see the shape of a woman appearing in a corner, watching her, then disappearing.
Upstairs in her room, Laura is playing with her feet. Her mind feels less foggy and she is finding herself being able to think more coherently than she did before, it was still hard to fully concentrate though.
She liked wearing a nappy, it was very comfortable, and she liked it when he mother cared for her and when the other woman cared for her, but she knew within herself that she wasn’t supposed to be a baby, she knew she was supposed to be a big girl.
Maybe she would be a big girl soon.
A pair of feet appear in front of her and she looks up to see the woman she has seen many times and remembers seeing many times a long time ago, or was it a long time ago, her muddled mind made it hard to understand.
“Hewwo” She says innocently.
“Hello, child, how do you feel?” The woman asks, her voice is so gentle and kind. Her clothes are unusual though, they are nothing like what mummy and the other woman wear.
“Very wittle, mummy says that I will be a big giwl again soon” She doesn’t mind the little bit of warmth as she wets herself, she was used to that. The woman smiles kindly, she had a sadness to her eyes.
“It will take a long time before you are a big girl again and the damage will be great, I am here to give you a chance to grow again without the damage. But you will need to be very young again, it is the only way” She tries to understand what the woman is saying, but she struggles to fully understand.
Then the room seems to become bigger and the muddled thoughts become all she knows completely, but not before she calls out “MUMMY!”
Fingers run along the few photos she has of her past, the last taken the night before the rape. She had been so young, so full of hopes for an unknown future. She wanted to reach in and tell her younger self to not go to the party the next day, to just stay at home.
She missed her parents deeply, not even her siblings kept in contact with her, her entire family had completely disowned her. Even after the birth of her daughter they had not bothered to contact her, she had very few to no friends and the one person in her life who meant anything she had hurt without intending to.
Were mistakes the only thing she was any good at making? Her worry that she had caused her daughter considerable harm tugged at her heart, she didn’t want to harm her daughter, she had just wanted to keep her safe.
“MUMMY!” Annette looks over to the baby monitor, her daughter needed her. Throwing the photo on the bed, she runs to her daughter’s room and stops at the foot of the stairs that lead up to the renovated attic that had been made into a nursery for her daughter. Standing at the top of the stairs is a woman she has never seen before, she is dressed in old fashioned looking clothing and looking directly at her.
“Who are you and what have you done to my daughter?” She demands, the woman looks into the room before looking back at Annette.
“Your daughter, ma’am, is safe now. She will grow up again without the damage. I have watched you during the years and I have seen how much you care for your daughter, but what you did was going to be so very damaging for her in the years to come. I have repaired that” Annette makes to head up the stairs but finds that her legs won’t budge.
“You live with such strong regret, ma’am, I can take away those regrets and give you a new life, maybe as your daughter’s sister. Yes, that would be wonderful for you both. You can both be raised by such a loving family who will dote on both of you and give you much more love and support than your family ever gave you when you needed them most”
Hearing Annette’s voice down the hall, Nancy runs out of the previously locked room and finds her standing at the foot of the stairs leading up to Laura’s room, she looked terrified.
“Miss Carols?” She asks as she approaches and stops at the foot of the stairs, no reply. She looks up to see a woman she hasn’t seen before at the top of the stairs.
“Hello ma’am, I was about to help Miss Carols here have a new start in life so that she could join her daughter as her daughter’s new sister. I have been watching you since you arrived here and you are also filled with such strong regrets, I can take those regrets away from you and give you a new life. I am very sure that there is a loving family who will care for you, it is my job after all to ensure the welfare of the children” Nancy tries to move and finds that her legs won’t respond.
“One should not live life with such regrets, they can be so distracting from finding happiness. I have always watched those who have come to live in this house and I have always seen how regret can be such a distraction, even the family who lived here with the former Mr. Peter Ramstone had regrets. I never interfered though, I only watched. I do not feel like watching at this time however, instead I feel like helping some live without those regrets. May your new life be one without such crippling regrets” Looking over to Annette, Nancy can see that she is beginning to change, she is looking younger, smaller. Her clothes are changing into more infantile like clothing with a thick nappy appearing in the place of her more adult clothing, and bit by bit the years are melting away.
She notices as well that the stairs and hallway are becoming much larger and she can feel a soft thickness appearing between her own legs.
“I am the nanny and I am always here for the children” The woman says as she glides down the stairs. “That is my job” The last memory Nancy has is of the woman kneeling down before her and Annette, who is now an infant like herself, and smiling kindly.
“Do not worry, little ones, you are safe now”
An hour later the police arrive after receiving an anonymous call from a woman saying that there were three infants who needed care, she didn’t leave a name, only an address to come to.
In the living room they find three sleeping baby girls in an oversized playpen, there is a note on the coffee table waiting for them:
‘Dear officers ~
Please be sure to find good homes for these precious children, they deserve loving parents and loving homes. Two are sisters, I have marked as such on their clothing. One is not a sister to them but she is in need of as much help as they are, they are innocent babies who have lives ahead of them.
Please be sure not to wake them, they need their rest after all.
T.H ~ The Nanny’
Several months later the house is deemed safe for habituation again, the baby girls are placed up for adoption and are lucky to find new homes very quickly. The disappearances of Nancy Simons, Annette Carols and Laura Carols go unsolved and would continue to go unsolved since their memories were wiped upon their return to infancy.
A month after the house is approved to be lived in again, a new family consisting of two mothers and their children from previous failed marriages before they had accepted themselves – two daughters and a son – move into the house.
A week after moving in, the youngest daughter, six years old, is playing in her bedroom. She notices a pair of feet appear in front of her and she looks up to see a woman looking down at her with a kind smile.
“Hello” The child says.
“Hello child, I am the nanny”
Always there for the children.