The 2nd pregnancy seemed to progress far more quickly than the first. Maybe the time itself was actually shorter, but it seems more likely that Juniper’s growing family and I were just busy. There were children to manage, future daddies to seduce, dishes to cook, masterpieces to paint-the first pregnancy seems so calm in comparison.
Nevertheless, though this pregnancy did not seem interminable, I’m sure Juniper will be happy to have some time without the vomiting and the cravings and the hormone vacillations. And I’m quite sure that the new baby is overjoyed to be out of his watery jelly bubble.
Isn’t that right baby?
Yeah, sweet little baby boy.
Juniper named him Henbane, in alignment with her current theme. I think it fits. Henbane will be a force to be reckoned with, won’t you?
Oh, do you hear me, little baby? Do you know I’m here? That’s promising, Henbane. So very promising. Your mother is birthing a lovely collection of worshippers, isn’t she.
Here’s a confession, Henbane, since I know you won’t understand-I don’t know quite what to do with you yet. I mean, in some ways I do-I know that I want you to grow and thrive and revel in your love of your Creator-but, traditionally, the worship of Gods implies some form of job or ritual or service or sacrifice. Your mother is certainly taking on that role, but what of you children? I am growing my collective, my parish, my earthly Children. But to what end?
The questions are vast for an untested Creator.
What, did you think I was the only one?
No, no silly. Not the only one. Just the only one that will ever matter to you-your Creator. And the Creator of everyone you will likely ever meet, the Creator of all you will likely ever know.
Unknown and untested, I made you. Or, at least, I assembled the circumstances so that you might exist.
But what shall I have you do now?
No, you’re right. These are not questions that you can answer. Only I can determine your role in this world. Besides, you are only a baby, and your sisters are only children, and there is time yet to determine what your role in the wider world must be.
Focus on growing, little one.
Well, that certainly happened quickly, didn’t it. Perhaps a bit too much focusing on growing, Henbane.
Despite my deep conversations about his future, Henbane seems like an odd and eccentric cross between Rosary and Nightshade. What is it with you and the weird children, Juniper? I hope it’s just childhood working, and that they’ll even out a little once they’re teenagers.
Anyway, Henbane stares off into space a lot. Like, a lot. Rosary does that sometimes, but Nightshade never does-she’s just perfect, it’s fantastic. Vindictive, motivated, intelligent. Can I just skip to making her my next baby maker?
No, nope. Don’t rush it. She’s great, but there will be more great ones. That’s the point-a homogenous parish would be boring.
What about now? Looking at that picture? It’s nice, right?
“I’m just standing here.”
Alrighty then. Whatever floats your boat.
It’s funny, though. As similar as Rosary and Henbane seem to be, with their… dull sort of personalities and their frequent bouts of staring into space, they really don’t get along.
“Why is she telling me I can’t go in there? She’s not the boss of me!”
You’re right, Henbane, but she is your big sister; that’s good advice.
“But I want to.”
That’s kind of just tough nuggets, isn’t it hun. You don’t always get to do what you want to do.
“That’s stupid. Rosary is stupid. Imma call her stupid.”
I thought you were meant to be a geek, not evil. You know, Nightshade never pulls shit like this, and she’s meant to be the “bad seed” or whatever.
I think they’re both just stubborn. Maybe it’s the class of technology v. outdoors or something, or maybe they’re just little shits that can’t help but collide. Either way, if they keep at it like that, I’ll have to figure out whether to be entertained by their antics or pissed off by the insubordination. My parish cannot be raucous and ill-behaved.
Luckily, Nightshade seems to have become the equalizer of our small group of children. She and Henbane get along like a house on fire—whenever they’re not at school, basically, they’re together.
“You’re the best, Nightshade!”
So when she’s around, Rosary and Henbane can let each other alone and focus on her. She unites them. Maybe it’s the suppressed evil in her, but she seems to be very naturally charismatic.
“Oh, thank the Creator that Nightshade’s here. Rosary keeps trying to take my horse!”
(What, I’m stirring up trouble by only having one toy in the house? Noooooo… I’d never do that intentionally).
I think I maybe favor Nightshade too much. Just because she’s sweet to her family and enthusiastically vindictive towards all others, because she doesn’t cause trouble, because she does her own dishes without being asked… Yeah, I definitely favor her too much. But I said I wanted a diverse parish for a reason, and I stand by that. Diversity is important. I’ll have to try to get past Rosary and Henbane’s quirks and see through to what will make them special in my service as well.
You stubborn little shit.
That’s your father; Sergio. He got here a few days ago.
“That’s not that cool. Bye father!”
And he sleeps soundly.
Huh. Maybe he’s already showing himself. His weird, little, twisted self, but I feel like that will become a consistent theme in my Chosen; perhaps by necessity, given the duties of my acolytes.
I may not ever adore Henbane or Rosary as much as I do Juniper and Rosary, but I do see their potential in my service. I see great potential.