Genre:Sapphire & Steel/Addams Family
Word Count: 1451
Prompt- Steel, Wednesday Addams, a stuffed toy
Thank you, verucas_chaos for a challenging prompt and to sparky955 for her input and beta help.
Sapphire, do you hear that? Steel pushed aside an overgrown bush and frowned, trying vainly to hear more clearly, but only the wind whispered by. He looked towards the bent and twisted remains of a buidling.
Hear what, Steel?
A sort of crying… a small child, perhaps. Just once he’d love to have a normal assignment that didn’t deal with ghosts or things that went bump in the night. I am going into a building to check. You should continue to search. Time is here and determined to rewrite Reality. I will let you know what I find.
Very well. Be careful, Steel. We don’t know what Time is really up to here.
I will. You do the same. Use the status loop if you need to.
With very little effort, Steel removed the planks of wood that boarded up the front door of the building. Why anyone thought they needed to board up an opening in Chernobyl was beyond him. It wasn’t like anyone was going to risk radiation exposure for some bits or baubles.
He turned his head, eyes closed as he concentrated upon the sound. It was soft and choking, and nearby. Steel carefully stepped over debris, both manmade and natural as he moved deeper into the building.
Looking at the walls, he guessed it had probably been a school at one time. The gaily-painted murals were faded and mawkish now, books, torn and mildewed, covered the cracked linoleum in an esoteric pattern. No one in their right mind would come inside this building.
“And yet here I am,” Steel muttered softly.
Then he heard a soft, “Hello?”
He moved in its direction. “What will it be? A ghost, a demon--” he turned the corner. “A little girl?”
She was young, no more than six and thin as a rail. Her black dress was straight, as was her hair. Everything about the child was straight lines until he got to her face. Her skin was sallow and her eyes were dark, but Steel could see that her cheeks glistened with tears. “Hello,” he said. “Are you lost?”
He wasn’t very good with children and prayed this child would evaporate before his eyes. Instead, she rubbed an eye and stared. “Illya?” she asked, her voice hopeful.
“I’m not Illya.”
“I’m Wednesday Addams.”
“Are you lost?” Stupid question, but he felt compelled to ask it.
“No, but Radcliff is.”
A deep sigh. “My stuffed toy. My best friend.”
“And why do you think he would be in here?”
“This is the last place I remember having him, of course.”
“Of course…” Ask a silly question.
I didn’t… ask a silly question.
No, me. I have found a child in the building. We need to delay our plans while I reunite her with her parents.
I understand, Steel, she isn’t…, is she?
Steel watched the young girl as she studied him, obviously not quite sure of his trustworthiness. No, I believe not. “Where are your parents, Wednesday?”
“They are touring the hospital.”
“Don’t you think they will be worried when they find you gone?”
“No, I told Pugsley and he’ll tell them eventually.”
“Wednesday, I think we need to find your parents.”
“But they aren’t lost. Radcliff is.”
Steel sighed. “Where did you go in this building?”
“The library, the gym… the cafeteria!” she announced with jubilation. “I stopped to tie my shoe after we finished eating. I bet I put him down there.”
“Then let us hasten to the cafeteria and be quick about it.” Sapphire?
What’s a cafeteria?
It’s a place where food is served. Why?
This young child states that her family ate there.
I should hope not. Everything here is contaminated and will remain so for at least the next 2,000 years. Are you sure she’s real?
Steel felt a small hand slip into his, her warm flesh against his. Yes.
Be careful. There’s something very wrong.
“Ready?” Wednesday asked, sniffing.
Steel reached into a pocket and withdrew a handkerchief, offering it to her. “Try this.”
She took it and managed a small smile. She blew her nose and regarded him again with dark somber eyes. “You don’t smell like Illya, either.”
“That’s because I’m not who you think I am.”
They half-walked, half-tripped over the collection of debris in the corridor until Wednesday pointed to a door. “There it is. I remember the round windows.”
Steel released her hand and knelt down. “All right, you stay here and I will go in and look for Radcliff.”
“Okay.” Wednesday looked at a grim-streaked window. “It’s getting late.”
“I’ll be fast.” He straightened and pushed through the door. It swung open surprisingly easy and he paused there to get his bearings.
Many of the tables and chairs had been knocked over or even destroyed, but there was a series of three tables, set up with chairs neatly placed around them. In one of the chairs sat a teddy bear, looking very out of place. The setting sun caught its fur, making it glisten and turning the big bow around its neck brilliant red.
“There you are,” Steel said as he maneuvered over to it. He picked it up and frowned. “You certainly have caused enough trouble.”
Abruptly the toy in his hand started to writhe and twist. Steel tried to drop it, but it clung to his arm, its claws dug into his jacket. It looked at him and Steel saw stars, endless bottomless stars.
Time, he shouted mentally. A stuffed toy. It’s got me, it’s trapping me! Sapphire!
Suddenly an explosion and Steel was looking up at the ceiling, his breath knocked from him. Close by there was a sound, a roaring, a pounding, he’d never heard anything like it, yet he couldn’t move.
Then it was eerily quiet and still, except for some settling dust. Abruptly, Steel was able to draw a breath and he rolled to his side, coughing. He saw two little feet and looked up at Wednesday.
“What happened?” He was bothered by how weak his voice sounded.
“That wasn’t Radcliff.” Wednesday hugged a scruffy, horrific-looking creature, half demon, half something else. “This is. He’s a good boy.” There was a disturbing rumble from the creature. “When that other thing grabbed you, I told Radcliffe to get it. He’s very obedient. Imagine what he can do with brothers.”
Then Radcliff wiggled away and returned where the teddy bear, no longer looking new and clean laid on its side. It was looking at him hostilely now, as if, like him, it was gathering up its strength for another attack.
I’m all right, Sapphire, thanks to my little friend and her toy.
I don’t understand.
Neither do I, but I will see you outside the school and try to explain.
Steel got to his feet and brushed off his clothes. Radcliffe was circling the teddy bear and growling. Steel reached into his jacket and pulled out a small ball. As he manipulated it in his hands, he asked, “Wednesday, would you take Radcliffe and go over by the door for me?”
She nodded and Steel gave the ball a final squeeze. Like a spring escaping from confinement, the stasis box expanded to it full size.
Taking careful aim, he tossed it onto the toy. It engulfed the teddy bear before Time had a chance to react. Thus encapsulated, he sent it back to Them. They could deal with it.
Exhausted by his efforts, he gestured to the door. As Wednesday went to take his hand, he gestured to her pet. “Better hold tight onto Radcliffe, just in case.”
Wednesday smiled and that’s when Steel realized she was missing a front tooth. “You’re right. Thank you for finding him.”
“Perhaps I should be the one thanking Radcliffe for finding me. Without him, I would now be missing.”
The creature rumbled and a long slimy tongue flicked out of its mouth and caught Steel’s cheek, leaving a slimy trail of saliva behind. Steel kept from reacting with repulsion and Wednesday giggled.
“He says you are welcome.”
Voices were shouting as they exited the building and Steel nodded in their direction. “Your parents are here, Wednesday.”
She started to walk away and then ran back, hugging his legs hard. She handed him back his crumpled handkerchief. “Thank you, Mr. Not Illya.” She skipped away and Steel glanced to his right as Sapphire arrived.
“Who was that and what on Earth did she have with her?”
“I suspect both are a force to be reckoned with.”
“And our problem?”
“Reckoned with.” Steel smiled and wiped off his cheek. Let’s go home.”
And they slowly shimmered from sight.