Anna’s Story

By Samantha Coleman


It was the coldest winter on record above; even below the frigid air invaded the tunnels. The braziers had a difficult time keeping the insistent frost at bay. Although six months pregnant, Anna was driven above in hopes of finding anything that would mitigate the chill. First, she wandered the alleys searching for cast-off sweaters or woolen shirts, even mismatched socks she could darn. But finding nothing she headed over to St. Vincent’s hospital. There she was sure to find some rags in the trash no longer appropriate for the operating room, but perfect for cleaning. Maybe she would get lucky and find some discarded blankets as well.

While looking through the trash, Anna thought she heard a strange noise coming from one of the bins along the wall. She thought it sounded like a cross between a kitten crying and a baby whimpering.  Anna, being a methodical person, began searching in, around, and behind as many of the trash cans she could until she found the source of the strangled, heart-wrenching, sounds. Luckily, it only took her a few minutes to find the unusual tiny child. 

She was not sure what she was looking at, but it was clearly human with a cleft lip up the center. It also had unusual features that reminded her of a kitten. She knew the child would never survive the bitter temperatures, so she decided to take the baby, wrapped in rags, below to Jacob. Carefully she opened her own coat, and, although she was cold herself, she held the infant next to her so as to share her warmth.

Upon arrival in the tunnels, she tapped out a message for Jacob to meet her in the hospital chamber near the meeting room and library. Jacob’s personal chambers, those he shared with Devin, were located off of the communal room just down the corridor from the small hospital chambers. Jacob knew that Anna had had several miscarriages and he wanted her to rest as much as possible to prevent another one.  Anna had agreed, but the cold and her husband John had forced her to leave the safety of below.

 When she arrived, Jacob asked, “What is wrong, are you all right? Here, let’s have a look at you?  What in the devil are you doing out of bed anyway?”

 “I found this behind the trash bins in back of St. Vincent’s,” Anna said, cutting the barrage of questions short as she opened her coat and began to unwrap the unusual child.

John strode into the hospital chambers to see what the problem was with Anna. He had assumed she was in labor, which would result in a stillborn baby. He looked down at Anna contemptuously, thinking she had nothing but a squalling animal in her arms.  He had sent her for firewood or coals, even matches so he could keep working, keep his research going.  Anna threw a half-used book of matches at him and focused her attention back on Jacob. John started to turn away … until he caught a glimpse of the child. 

The baby was covered head to toe in a soft down; his nose was that of a kitten’s, as was his mouth. His eyebrows swept up higher than a human child’s, but a distinct, subtle ridge could be seen. His eyes were the most insightful Anna had ever seen, blue in color.  She hoped they would stay that way … if the baby survived. As the rags were peeled away, John became more and more interested in the child. A closer inspection of the baby’s nails revealed sharp points on the end – a cross between human nails and kitten claws. Other than his face, fingernails, and toenails, the child appeared to be human. A boy.

“Get me some warm water from the kitchen,” Jacob ordered in a physician’s tone of voice. He was all business now. “Also get a message to Peter.  I need his help on this case.”

 When Anna turned to get the items Jacob had asked for, she saw the look in John’s eyes. It sent a chill down her spine and made the hair on the back of her neck stand up. There was a burning just under the surface. John could not tear his eyes away from the boy.


By the time Peter reached the hospital chamber, Anna was warming the baby with a bath in the water she had gotten from the kitchen. James, a kitchen worker, had carried the bucket for her. He had not wanted to suffer John’s renown wrath if Anna had tried to carry it herself and something had happened to Anna and her baby.

After a complete examination, Peter went above to get some baby supplies for the unusual child. Not knowing which formula he would tolerate, Peter bought several different kinds. He also bought bottles, nipples, diapers, and pins – just the bare essentials since there was not much room for extras. Clothes would be provided by those already living below.


For three days the child cried. Father and Anna took turns holding the baby, rocking and walking the baby. The fourth day he fell into a sleep so deep Jacob wondered several times if he was even breathing.  Many of the residents below began a prayer circle for the child, praying he would survive or be taken home according to the will of God. At one point during the long days, Jacob believed he’d have to announce the passing of the child when he heard a gasp of life from the bassinette. Fearing it was the baby’s last breath, Jacob rushed to his side to begin CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. His gaze was met with the inquisitive blue eyes of the boy.

Jacob, not realizing how tired he was, sank with a thud into the chair next to the baby’s bed. John had been strangely absent the entire time the boy fought for his life.

A wail of hunger cut through the air. Jacob held the boy as he fixed a bottle for him. The baby greedily ate his first meal. It came up almost immediately, so Jacob tried another formula. This process continued until, finally, one formula stayed down.

Sitting in the common room that evening, Amanda, Pascal’s mother, asked, “What shall we call the boy?”

John, unseen by the others, had walked silently into the room and answered, “His name is Vincent.”


Since Anna had found Vincent and John had named him, it was decided that they should take care of the baby. As time went on, Anna became concerned about John. Although he did not take care of the infant, Anna saw he was becoming more and more interested in the child. When their own child was born Anna assumed he would switch that focus over to his own son. This did not happen.

 John, instead, immersed himself in Vincent. He wanted to find out what he was and how he came to be.  He was also interested in how he was able to survive. Unbeknownst to anyone below, he wanted to replicate Vincent with other children like him. But first he needed to do some research.

Anna put two and two together when John committed the ultimate betrayal by rejecting his own son in favor of Vincent. When she discovered he was using Vincent as nothing more than a lab rat, she took matters into her own hands.

“Jacob?  Can I speak with you privately?” Anna tentatively asked as she held Vincent.

“What is it?  Is Vincent all right?”

“Yes. But he does need his six-month check-up. Can we do it now while Little John is asleep?”

As Jacob stripped Vincent down to his diaper, he asked Anna, “What is it you wish to speak to me about? Have you noticed any problems with Vincent? Any relapse into that dreadful illness he had when you found him?”

“No, no, nothing like that. I want you to take him.”

Jacob was dumbstruck. “Why?”

“I fear John has become obsessed with the baby. I caught him running all kinds of tests on Vincent. It was like John was working on one of his experiments. He’s been focused on the child since the day I brought Vincent down. “

“Why didn’t you say something sooner?”

“I was hoping I was wrong. I was also hoping he would come around after our baby was born.”

“He hasn’t though?”

“No. He’s gotten worse. He has completely rejected Little John in favor of Vincent.  I named the baby John, after him, to spark some kind of interest on John’s part in our own child. He shut me and Little John out mentally. I hardly ever see him anymore. And when I do he’s hovering around Vincent as I care for him. I need you to take him to save Vincent from John and to try to preserve my marriage and family.  Please say you’ll take him?” Anna implored.

Jacob agreed.


John very carefully measured out a liquid and sprinkled it onto Anna’s dinner. He knew the babe and Anna would get sick. He hoped they would die. John blamed Little John for Anna’s giving Vincent to Jacob. He had even started to put the poison into his child’s bottle in addition to increasing the amount he was putting in Anna’s food and drinks.

When Little John finally succumbed to the poison, Anna knew John had done it. She, too, was sick and she feared John was responsible for that as well. She asked Amanda to help her above to see Peter, advising her friend to stay away from John afterward; he’d be angry if he learned she’d helped her.

Peter took one look at her and led her to the emergency room where she was admitted immediately.  When it was discovered that she had been poisoned, Peter went below to talk to Jacob about John. The council was convened.  At first John denied any involvement.

“Jacob,” Peter insisted, “take a look at these test results. What do you see?”

Jacob studied the medical records.  “This individual has ingested poison, enough to make someone extremely sick.”

“That patient is Anna Pater,” Peter informed the group. “And she tells me the only person to bring her food since Little John got sick … is John.” Turning to John, Peter asked, “So where do you think she got the poison?”

“You have no say in this council,” John arrogantly stated.

“No,” Peter agreed. “I only report the facts. You bring Anna her food. Anna has been poisoned. I’ll be leaving now. The council has much to discuss.”

Once the commotion died down, John was taken to one of the few rooms that had an actual door, and a thorough inspection was conducted of John’s lab and his chambers. The poison was found in his lab.  This, along with a small amount found in his residence, was enough to condemn John to the most severe of punishments.

But John refused to leave, and so he was forcibly carried into exile beyond the reach of the council. 

Jacob went through John’s papers and removed everything pertaining to Vincent. The remainder of John’s belongings were packed up, as was his lab, and taken down to where John had relocated beyond the perimeter. 


When Anna was released from the hospital, she realized she no longer felt safe below.  Via Peter, she knew John had been exiled, but she was afraid he might try to kill her again. She also knew she could not press charges for the murder of her child or the attempt on her life without exposing those below. The only option she had was to move away and try to divorce him from another state. She chose the last option and never returned to the tunnels again.