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“No river can return to its source, yet all rivers must have a beginning”
- Native American Proverb

Slipping through the cold, black night, the young man adjusted the rucksack’s thin straps and picked up his pace. Arriving at a small cottage in the middle of the woods, he rapped softly on the hard wooden door. With a creak the door opened slowly and an elderly woman stepped out, “We must hurry, there isn’t much time, did you bring it?”

Patting the rucksack behind him, the young man nodded, as the woman gave simple instructions, “Good, keep it covered up, it’s quite chilly tonight.”

The two set off towards the nearest town, making sure every now and than that they weren’t being followed. “How’s the misses?” the older woman asked trying to break the silence.

“She’s doing as well as can be expected. I’m sure she’d skin my hide if she knew that we were…”

“Watch your tongue!” The grey-haired woman snapped back cutting the young man off mid-sentence, “our efforts will be in vain if we get caught.”

The young man quietly agreed as the town quickly approached under their fast pace. Reaching the outskirts of the town, the old woman spun around holding her hands out towards the man before her, “Now…let me see.”

The young man hesitated as he shifted from foot to foot, “But…”

The woman’s eyes glowered down at the man before him, her tone sharpening, “I offered to do what you cannot…should you be gone too long, you will raise suspicion. If you want this done, I will have to carry your…package into town for you.”

Lowering his eyes to the ground, the young man slung the bag off his shoulders. He held the bag preciously in his hands for a moment before reluctantly handing it to the woman’s outstretched arms. “Good. Now go. Or,” she turned away pausing to glance over her shoulder, her brow arched mockingly, “did you wish to say goodbye first?”

The young man left without answering leaving the woman to stroll quietly into town by herself. She climbed the stairs of a decent sized building near the edge of town and placed the small bag by the door next to the empty milk bottles. Opening the backpack, she inspected her delivery then closed the flap again. 'This orphanage will do,' she thought to herself as she eyed the building one more time. Then, with a brisk turn, she quietly left the small town never to be seen again.


Leonieth awoke early as she did every morning and quickly began to start breakfast. Opening the front door, she grabbed the fresh bottles of milk then twirled around halting in her stride as the door shut. Placing the bottles of milk on a hallway table, she turned back to the wooden door and opened it again, assuring herself that whatever she had seen would now be gone. A small gasp escaped her lips when much to her surprise the small brown backpack she had glimpsed earlier was still laying in a crumpled heap by her door. Leo eyed the wayward package with scrutiny that quickly grew into fear as the rucksack appeared to be…moving. Worried that an unwelcomed animal had crawled into the bag, she hollered upstairs to one of the older boys, “Jorgen! Jorgen! Get down here, I think we have another snake!”

The stairs flooded with children bounding down it, each one hoping to get a look at this perilous snake. Jorgen flew past them all and quickly glance outside, “Where?”

“It’s in that bag,” Leo pointed towards the brown sack on her doorstep. Jorgen watched it wiggle for a moment then smirked, “Aw, it’s just a baby. Here.”

Jorgen picked up his booted foot as the other children began cheering him on with hoots and hollers while others chanted “Kill it! Kill it!”

The noise quickly filled the hallway and carried out into the yard beyond the door until an ear-splitting cry broke over the commotion. Jorgen, his foot primed for a good stomping, stood shell-shocked as the children around began whispering. Slowly lowering his foot to the ground, Jorgen turned to Leo, “Wanna take another gander? That don't sound like no snake.”

Leo stared at the bag just as surprised as everyone around her then slowly shook her head, “That's because it isn't.” Bending down she lifted the flap of the bag and carefully picked up its contents in her arms, “It’s…”

“A baby!” hollered one of the children finishing Leonieth’s sentence for her.

“A stinky baby,” giggled one of the other children, waving his hand to clear the smell from his nose.

Leo quickly shooed the children back inside and asking the older ones to get some blankets, clothes and warm milk while the younger ones pleaded with her for a chance to hold it. Finally one of the other kid’s bellowed out, “What’s his name?”

Several girls were quick to add, “Nuh-uh! It’s a girl!” while the boys answered back, “It’s a boy!”

“Aww…nuts. He’s got a thingy…” remarked one of the girls as Leonieth put a fresh diaper and change of clothes on the little baby boy. One of the smaller girls crossed her arms in defeat, “Fine…it’s a boy.”

“Sayhra, please go make breakfast for everyone, the milk is on the hallway table,” Leo requested of one of the older girls.

As the commotion of the morning died down as breakfast was served, the conversation was quick to turn back to the new baby as the plates cleared themselves.

“What’s his name?” one girl asked.
“He can have my name, I don’t like it very much,” another boy offered.
“No give him my name!” said another boy.
“Does this mean we can’t get a dog now?” pouted another girl.
“Can I be his mommy?” offered one of the youngest girls.
“Where’d he come from?” asked one inquisitive boy.

The questions stacked up quickly, one over the other before Leo raised her arms to quiet everyone, “One at a time please, and you four, stop talking with your mouth open. It’s rude.”

The group fell silent until the question was asked again, “What’s his name?”

“I don’t know,” answered Leo.

“Well we can’t just call him ‘Baby’, I think he’d resent us for that later on,” Jorgen joked.

“What about Daisy?” one of the other girls questioned.
“Can’t name him after a dead dog,” scolded a boy around her age.
“Why not? It’s a people name too,” she asked.
“That’s a girls name, he’s a boy!” protested another boy.

Turning to Leo, the little girl began to plead, “Puh-lease?”

Leo thought for a moment before, “That’s a fine name for a pet, but Jayse is right, it’s a girl’s name.”

“Aww…He’s stayin’?” asked one of the other children warily.

“Didn’t you?” Jorgen shot back.

“So what we gonna call ‘im?” asked one of the older girls.

Leo paused for a moment then replied, “How about…”


“Zak,” replied a young boy who was sitting on the dock, his legs dangling over the edge and his attention focused on his mirror image in the water.

“Zak what?” the man continued to probe.

“Zak nuffin’,” the little boy grunted back.

The man nodded, “Well Zak Nuffin, whatcha…”

“No!” Zak bellowed irritated. “It’s Zak, just Zak. Nuffin’ else.”

The man eyed the boy confused, “Ya’ ain’t got no name?”

“Yes I do! It’s Zak…nuffin’ else,” he stood to face the man even more annoyed than before.

“What kinda kid ain’t got no name?” the man asked innocently.

Zak narrowed his eyes as he clenched his hands into tiny fists, then took off running back to the decent-sized building he had been left at so many years before, angry at the ones who had left him behind without a name.
Make no assumptions as to Zak's parents in this; the adults in the beginning could be anyone. Honestly, we'll never know. Zak in the later part of the story is around age 4-5.

More chapters will come as I get the time.
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Submitted on
January 5, 2009
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