December the twenty fifth.  Otherwise known as Christmas.  Shadow’s first Christmas in jail.  He knew things worked a little differently at this date.  he would not have any lesson today.  Today was only meant for relaxation.  He wondered how much he could relax, without the guards having a go at him.  There was knock at the door.  Shadow guessed it would be Inspector Crosby.  Who else would visit him? Without answer the door opened and sure enough, Mitch walked in with some envelopes.  Shadow expected these to be Christmas cards; he also did not expect to receive many.  “Ok, 3145 you have two Christmas cards here.  One  is from your father and the other one is from your sister.” Shadow took the one from Gideon and opened it.  he did not pay close attention to it.  He still had a strong contempt for Gideon, which could never be undone.  There was one particular bit that did spark his interest.  Gideon said that he would do what he could, to make prison life a bit more bearable.  Shadow did not believe he could do anything.  How influential was Consultant Jones? Why was Gideon giving him false hope? Shadow ripped the letter in half and dropped it on the floor.  He took the one from Gravity.  He did not recognise the handwriting, but he saw his sister’s name and was amused to see Bliss’ paw print.  The letter offered him some comfort.  The rest of the day slowly crept by.  Dinner was roast turkey with all the trimmings.  Shadow looked at the bird and had to say, it did not look appetising.  Poor animal.  It would have been better off staying alive.  Shadow reluctantly ate the turkey.  An hour later, he received severe stomach cramps.  An examination by the doctor, observed that this was caused by undercooked food.  Shadow sighed, he had gotten used to the stomach cramps by now.  He went to bed and pondered Gideon’s words.  How could he possibly make prison life better?

****

Gravity’s Christmas differed slightly.  Sh received cards, translated into Braille.  She did not have any tuition today.  she knew that this would please the guards.  hat that she was blind, made teaching very difficult.  Almost everything had to be done verbally.  When she was not aren’t she was usually locked up in her cell.  Today she was allowed to leave and enjoy herself.  As, because the inmates were fairly young the guards decided to throw a little Christmas party, with games and cake.  Not that Gravity could participate in much of this.  She sometimes wondered if her affliction as a curse or a blessing.  Today she definitely knew it was a curse.  She could not even enjoy the cake.  It was as stale as old bread.  Gravity did not pay any attention this though, when she lived on the streets, sometimes stale bread was all she could get.  Four years left in here.  I can’t take four more minutes of this.  Is there any way I can possibly survive? Gravity thought.

****

First of March.  Shadow’s twenty second birthday.  His second birthday in prison and thankfully his last.  It was just six months until he would be released.  Shadow had to admit that Consultant Jones did try hard, in improving cell life.  His bed was a lot more comfortable and the guards were more competent.  Maybe, Gideon was really trying to make up for his past mistakes.  Maybe he was not so bad after all.  Shadow was reading through the birthday card that Gideon sent him.

Dear Shadow,

I hope all is well; I have tried my hardest to improve the quality of life in that dreadful place.  This is why I have arranged something prior to your release.  I shall adopt you.  I have sent this same letter to Gravity and of course Bliss shall be welcome as well.  I know we have had our hard times and you still don’t trust me , but I implore you to think this through,  I have learnt from my mistakes.  I have tried to help you.  It would not be possible to adopt you straight away.  We would have to have periods which I just adopt you.  I will be visiting later today to collect your response.  I also hope your present has arrived safely.  I admit I am no Ainsley Harriet, but it should taste better than the food you are currently eating.

I shall see you later today for your response.

Goodbye, son

Love, your father

As soon as Shadow had finished reading, he went and told his probation worker the good news.  “Inspector Crosby my father has offered to adopt me, when I get out of prison.  I’m not going to go back onto the streets.  This is great.”

Mitch hesitated.  “Prisoner 3145, I have something to tell you.  I promised your father that I wouldn’t divulge this information, but you have to consider it, before you let him adopt you.  Remember when yo were in hospital and you had been poisoned and remember when I said that I didn’t know who had done it-”

“Gideon told me it was that Sergeant Smith.”

“That was a lie.  He was lying to you.  He was the one who poisoned you.  He was trying to ill you.  I reckon he did, it so you couldn’t tell anyone, what he had done to you.  He said he did it, so he could keep you safe.  He said he did it, because he was trying to keep you healthy, so you couldn’t be beaten up anymore.”

****

It was the afternoon.  Time for Shadow to visit Gideon.  Inspector Crosby was currently escorting prisoner 3145 to the visitor’s room.  Or Shadow was storming down the corridor and Mitch was trying his best to keep up.  Shadow walked into the room and slammed the door behind him.  “You tried to kill me?!”

“Let me explain.”

“Inspector Crosby has already explained.  You must be out o your mind, if you think I’ll put my life and my little sister’s life in your hands.”

“Doesn’t she have her own choice?”

“There isn’t any way, you’re adopting me.  You’re right.  She does have a choice.  If she does want to go home with you, then it’s not my place to intercede, but I swear if you harm my sister in any way I will kill you.”

Gideon smiled.  “Will you? I doubt that.”

“Oh, I will.  My father was the one who made my life hell. My father was the one who tried to  kill me.  My father was the one who tried to kill my sister.  I’ve killed before.  I can do it again.”

“Can you kill me? I brought you into this world.”

“Yes you did, but you also tired to take me out of it.  Do you know good I’ll feel, to wrap my fingers around your throat? Do you know how good I’ll feel watching the light drain out of your eyes? Do you know good I’ll fee, seeing you dead?”

“I can imagine.”

“Anyway, how did you even manage to improve my prison?”

“Money.  A hospital consultant is a very lucrative career,” Gideon glanced over by Mitch, “come close son.  Let me whisper.”

“Doesn’t matter how quietly you whisper, our microphones will still pick it up.  Whatever you have to say, say it out loud Gideon.  There’s no need to hide anything here.” Mitch assured him, confidently.

“Thank you Inspector Crosby.  I bribed some prison guards.  I think you’ll find that  money can be very influential.”

“How can you even adopt me and Gravity? We’re your biological children.”

“not exactly.  When your mother and me found out that you had run away, we disowned you.” Shadow noticed how hesitantly Gideon answered this question.  the man was losing his composure.

“Ok, guys visiting time is over.  Back to your cell 3145.”

Shadow’s new bed seemed tainted by Gideon’s evil.  He never ate the cake, he could not be sure if it was poisoned or not.  Shadow fell asleep feeling betrayed and alone.

****

Mitch apprenhensively approached Sarah’s desk.  he kenw that she had been stuck doing paperwork for the pst few days and he also knew that nobody hated paperwor more than she did..  “Sarah, did you hear about about prisoner 3145? Basically, Consultant Jones offered to adopt 3145, but I’d told the prisoner the truth about what happened at the hospital.  As you can imagine, he was furious and refused his father’s request.  I’m feeling slightly guilty, after all it was my fault, but I had to tell him.  After 3145 is released from prison, he’ll be sent to a small house which the police can arrange for him.  I was thinking, just until all the paperwork is completed and the place is set up, we could take care of 3145 and look after him.  Once he’s settled in, we could check up on him and just help him get life back on tract.”

“What? There’s no way we can do that.”

“Why not? I feel responsible for him now.  This could be like having a child, but we don’t have to worry about waking up at two a.m. to change his diaper.”

“What? You’re already thinking about babies?”

“No, I was thinking about temporarily looking after 3145.”

“Anyway, prisoner 3145 is twenty two.  You’re proposing that we effectively become his guardians.  If this happens we’ll have to worry about college and university placements.  Where are we going to get the money for that?”

“I’m sure the prison will arrange something.  Anyway I don’t think that will matter to him.  He would be grateful that he’ll have someone who cares about him.”

“What about his sister?”

“I was thinking that we could adopt her and Bliss.  She’s still young enough.” Mitch replied.

Sarah nodded slowly.

“Yes, thank you, I’ll talk to prisoner 3145 tomorrow.”

“Ok, but Gideon is visiting his daughter tomorrow.  Should I try and put off the session, or discourage Gravity from accepting his offer.” Sarah asked.

Mitch shook his head.  “No, it’s up to her to make her own choice.”

****

Shadow was in the recreation facility finishing off some work.  Mitch approached him.  “Prisoner 3145, can I speak to you?”

Shadow put his work down.  “Sure., what’s on your ,mind?”

“Ok, remember when you turned Gideon’s offer down and now you don’t know where you’re going to go when you will be released?” Shadow nodded.  “The prison will be arranging a temporary accommodation for you.  Until that’s all sorted, me and Sergeant Dames are willing to take care of you and Gravity.  Once you’re settled into your house, we’ll look after you.”

Shadow thought for a while.  “It seems I don’t have much of a choice.  I don’t want to be separated from Gravity.  Besides you and Sergeant Dames seem like nice people.  I accept your offer.”

****

Gideon was staring intently at his little girl.  The colour of her eyes seemed to have softened and the icy exterior had deteriorated.

“Gravity?”

“Yes dad?”

“I have a proposition for you.”

“You have a what?”

“I have an offer to make to you.” Gideon explained.

“What is it?” Gravity asked, attentively.

“This offer I have also extended to your brother, but he has declined.  The offer is to adopt you and Bliss.”

“Adopt me? Wow, that’s really big news.  What will happen to Shadow?”

“I don’t know, but wherever he goes, he’ll be welcome to visit us.”

“This is really big news.  I’m going to have to think about this.”

“Very well.  I shall return in one week.” Gideon got up and left.

Sarah walked over to Gravity.  “Are you going to accept?”

“I don’t know.  This is big news and I don’t know if I want to be separated from Shadow.  What’s going to happen to him?”

“I and Mitch have decided to temporarily look after him and he has accepted.  We have also decided to adopt you and Bliss if you want, but if you want to go to Gideon, then none us will try to stop you.”

“I am rally going to have to think about this.”

****

A week had passed, for Gravity those seven days seemed slower than anything she had ever known.  She was now back sitting opposite to her father.  “What’s your answer?” Gideon asked, with great tension.

“I accept your offer.”

****

Shadow was officially free.  He had been released from the police station, where he had been staying for the past two weeks, just to clear things up.  Mitch was turning his key in the lock.  behind this door Shadow expected to see an apartment full of glass and chrome, but was instead treated to the sight of something that looked like a hurricane had it it.  There were dirty clothes strewn across the floor and from what Shadow could see of the kitchen, there were grimy dishes stacked as high as the could see.  “Sorry about the mess Shadow, but I hate tidying up.” Mitch stated.

Sarah walked past him and muttered, “don’t expect me to clean this mess up.”

“Shadow, will you be alright taking the sofa tonight?”

Shadow nodded.  “When will Gravity be arriving? I’m sure she is going to choose to stay with us and not Gideon.”

“Oh.  Shadow, your sister has decided to live with Gideon.”

“what? Why has she gone an done that?”

“I think it’s bedtime now. I’ll see you in the morning  Shadow.”

Shadow was still awake.  he was lying on Mitch’s sofa.  There were enough clothes to create a make shift blanket.  He was till was in disbelief.  How could his sister go to live Gideon? How could his sister go to live with someone, who had tried to kill her?

****

Gideon rang Mitch’s doorbell.  Besides him were his daughter and her dog.  After Gravity had been released from solitary confinement she had been on her best behaviour.  This meant that her appeal had been accepted and she was free.  Shadow answered the door.  He gave his sister a tender hug.  He then knelt down and softly stoked Bliss.  He had missed both of them greatly.  Shadow straightened up.  “What is he doing here?”

“He is the one who accompanied your sister here; you wouldn’t expect her to find her way here all by herself.”

Mitch came to the door.  “Hello, Gideon, Gravity. Come inside.  Take a seat.” The four of them sat on the sofa, with Bliss by Gravity’s feet.

“Sis, how could you this? How could you let this man adopt you?”

“It was my choice.”

“This man abandoned you; he left you out to die.  Why do you want to go back to that?”

Mitch quickly panicked and glanced at Gideon.  “Do you want to get some tea?”

“Sure.  Tea sounds good.” The two men quickly left.

“Shadow, everybody deserves a second chance.  He’s my father.  I can’t leave him.” Gravity protested.

“Yes you can.  You can come and live with Mitch and Sarah.  They’re good people.  Gideon failed to kill you last time now he might actually succeed.”

“He won’t try to kill me Shadow.  He’s changed.”

“You can’t go back to him.  I won’t let you.”

“Shadow, I can take care of myself.”

“I know you can.”

“I’m fifteen now.  I’m old enough to make my own decisions.”

“Yes you are.   I still see you as my baby sister.” Shadow reluctantly admitted.

“That’s not going to change.  Just because we live in different pales doesn’t mean we still won’t be siblings.”

I know.  Ok you can go live with him, but you’re welcome to visit me any time”

“So are you.  I can’t believe we’re separating after all this time.  We’ll still see each other right?”

“Of course we will,” Shadow knelt down and gave Bliss a hug, “you take care of Gravity.  I’m going to miss you.” Bliss barked and licked Shadow across the face.  Mitch, Sarah and Gideon came back into the room.  “Have you two straightened things out?” Mitch asked hesitantly.

“Yeah we have.” Shadow responded.

“Gravity, I think we had better go now.” Gideon said.

“Ok dad, I’ll miss you Shadow.” Gideon and Gravity left without another word.  “Are you ok?” Sarah asked.

“Yeah I think we’ve just got to let the dust settle.” A clap of thunder startled the whole city and then the rain started  A few drops at first, which then turned into a cascading, never ending downpour.  Shadow looked out of the window and just about saw a crowd dispersing.  He also noticed a homeless person sitting on a nearby shop front.  He was like that once. Lost and afraid.  He was not alone though.  He was never alone.  Even now, he had two people who cared for him and a sister and dog whom he had an unbreakable bond with.  This is what made him different from the homeless person.  He was asleep when his family was separated for the first time, but this time he was awake.

*Author’s Notes*

So this is the story in its entirety.  Perhaps not the most realistic of endings, but I had always wanted to split the siblings up.  They lived their whole lives together, depending on each other.  Now they can grow and mature without one another.

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