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Phoenix

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It was three am when the orphanage heard a frantic knocking on their door amidst the explosions of thunder making the rooms shake.

Elena Ramirez hurried to the door and swung it open to find nobody. That was until she glanced down and found a small newborn, wrapped up tightly in a blanket and surprisingly calm in the middle of the storm.

Elena steeled herself and plucked the small baby from the ground only to be brushed with a tiny piece of paper pinned to the blanket covering the child.

Her name is Madison Caldwell. She was born just yesterday.

Shelter her.

She’s a mutant.

Elena took a deep breath and tore the paper off of the blanket, shifting it so nobody in the orphanage could see there was a pin. She crumpled up the paper and stuffed it into her pocket before carrying the baby inside.

“We have a new baby girl, ladies,” she proclaimed with a soft smile, gently brushing the child’s cheek and grinning when the baby cooed and curled into her.

“What were those parents thinking?” Jane, the manager of the orphanage huffed.
“We don’t have any room for a baby!”

“We’ll make the room,” Elena insisted with a nod. “She’s a newborn. We can’t just chuck her into a hospital or nunnery.”

“We may not have much choice,” Jane murmured. “Did she have any information attached to her?”

Elena clenched her jaw and met Jane’s eyes with a firm gaze. “Not much. A first name and birthday. I assume the first name meant a lot to the parents,” she shrugged.

“Great,”  Jane scoffed. “Not even a last name so we could track the parents down again,” she said with a roll of her eyes. “Fine. We'll keep her around but if she’s your problem. As far as I’m concerned, you’re her mother now.”

“Wonderful,”  Elena hummed, smiling softly and bouncing the baby in her arms. “I shall take perfect care of her.”

“You’d better,” Jane warned. “The second we get a chance we’re putting her into a foster home. We don’t have the room for a baby and we certainly don’t have enough people. Plus, the kids already here complain whenever babies wake up crying.”

“Well, we can take one of the cribs into my room,” Elena shrugged. “I’ll look after her as though she were my own child.”

Jane watched Elena carefully, focusing on the way the older Cuban woman interacted with the little girl and despite herself, she couldn’t help but smile.

“Okay,” Jane nodded. “We’ll keep her around, but if she gets to be too much trouble we will have to try to put her into foster homes.”

“Understood,” Elena nodded. “I will look after her as though she were my own daughter,” she promised.

And with that oath, she carried the baby down the hall, pausing at one of the closets to pull out a crib they kept stored away in case of this very scenario.

Elena wheeled the crib down the hall to her room and placed it in her room, directly opposite of her own bed. She ran back to the closet to grab a few blankets and pillows they had for the smaller children and placed them inside the crib for the baby.

Once she deemed the crib suitable, she placed Madison gently down inside of it and the baby immediately curled into the blankets, making Elena smile.

“Sleep well, mi vida,” she whispered, brushing a few tufts of hair back. “I will take care of you,” she swore.

She sat back on her own bed and spared a glance at the picture she ignored every time she entered her room.

A picture with two young girls who appeared extremely identical, only one was levitating some children's toys just out of reach of the other girl who was jumping to try and reach them.

It was a snapshot of a memory, a memory of a life Elena once had until mean men came and took that away from her.

She could still hear her sisters screams, hear the way she sobbed as the strong men insisted they were from the government and wanted to try and help her.

That was the last time Elena had ever seen her sister.

She knew the fear Madison’s parents must be riddled with thinking they have a daughter whose life is already at risk.

Elena knew she had to keep this baby safe, no matter what it took. She had to do for Madison Caldwell what she could never do for her sister and hope that one day it might be safe for people like them.