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"I don´t like this place, think about how many germs could be on the doorknobs - how often other people touch them and how less they are cleaned"

Dennis made an disgusted look. He was standding in the entrance hall of the daycare centre, which was created specifically for the staff of the Philadelphia Zoo. It was the place where he put little Lacey for a few weeks now, while he was at work. Especially around this topic there had been a big discussion, if and what would be good for the newest family member.

However, the bigger part of the group had agreed to accept the employer's offer. It was better for everyone, Lacey had contact with children the same age, she would not be alone in the apartment and Barry would have a certain conscience, that the 3 year old is safe. But what the eyeglass wearer could not deal with , was the fact that he had to stay in this - in his opinion, unclean area. How many bacteria were here - no, Dennis did not want to imagine that. How good he always carried his personal cleaning cloth with him around.


The only advantage of the sometimes long working hours was,  that only  few other parents were present in the evening in this entrance hall. The looks - true to the motto - oh there are also single fathers out there? What a wonder of the world. It annoyed Dennis almost as disrespectful visitors in the zoo.


And now he was just waiting for Lacey. The otherparents waiting in the lobby with him, they looked at their smartphones or made a call. Yes, Dennis knew which department they were working in, even though he rarely had anything to do with it, it was easy to classify the marketing and publicity workers. The way they moved or spoke. Still, they noticed took the 'guy for all the work that happens at the zoo' and that's what Dennis preferred.



It took a few minutes before the children and the teachers came to the entrance hall. Dennis watched as Lacey cautiously waved goodbye to the teachers and then came running in his direction. A careful smile was on the lips of the little blonde girl.


"Do you have everything?" Dennis asked, glancing at the little pink backpack Lacey hold in her hand.
"Yes, but Lacey don´t eat," Lacey replied, referring to her lunchbox in the backpack.

"As far as i know -  Barry has given you enough in your lunchbox", Dennis replied in a low questioning tone as they both left the daycare.
"For Hedwig",  was the answer of the little girl.

"You are aware,  that you dont´ need to safe any Hedwig right?", Dennis replied skeptically. It was enough that the 9-year-old was annoying so - not only him actually all other personalities too.

"Hedwig too hungry - Dennis angry?", Lacey replied after a few seconds and looked at him unsure.

"No, it's your lunch and not Hedwigs, you ... are so small and .... need to eat more food", Dennis said after a while. With that, the toddler seemed understand and the two made their way to the Underground apartment.


It was a fact  that Lacey weighed too little for her age. Dennis had not been able to figure out everything , that her parents did to the poor thing. That they had gave her a scar on the right arm yes, they had found out out during the first three days where the girl was with them.

Also, that her siblings and her parents were not always nice to her,  she mentioned a few times - but how deep the bad treatment went - that was a riddle , Dennis wanted to find out.

That it was difficult for Lacey to be open to strangers , was always reflected in their daily life. When they went shopping together or took a tour around the zoo, the little girl try to hide behind him. Somehow Dennis was sorry about all that - Lacey reminded him so much of  Kevin. She was pure - she needed to be protected like Kevin.



After the eyeglass wearer had unlocked the front door, the toddler ran into the kitchen with her backpack in hand. Dennis wanted to follow her, but was stopped by a strange dark voice in his head that seemed to drown out everything else.

" new world"


It only hold on for a few seconds, then Dennis heard the conversations of the other personalities in his head again. Nobody else seemed to have noticed this dark voice. Was he just imagining it?
Tired, he touched his face - it was simply because of the long working day - that must be the reason.