The Complete Stories (Page 131)
"But since that hasn’t turned out to be so, I suppose you can build a ceiling now."
"Now, yes. We have plenty of money, now. Funds have been promised from every source. This is all wonderful, Miss Fellowes." His broad face gleamed with a smile that lasted and when he left, even his back seemed to be smiling.
Miss Fellowes thought: He’s quite a nice man when he’s off guard and forgets about being scientific.
She wondered for an idle moment if he was married, then dismissed the thought in self-embarrassment.
"Timmie," she called. "Come here, Timmie."
In the months that passed, Miss Fellowes felt herself grow to be an integral part of Stasis, Inc. She was given a small office of her own with her name on the door, an office quite close to the dollhouse (as she never stopped calling Timmie’s Stasis bubble). She was given a substantial raise. The dollhouse was covered by a ceiling; its furnishings were elaborated and improved; a second washroom was added-and even so, she gained an apartment of her own on the institute grounds and, on occasion, did not stay with Timmie during the night. An intercom was set up between the dollhouse and her apartment and Timmie learned how to use it.
Miss Fellowes got used to Timmie. She even grew less conscious of his ugliness. One day she found herself staring at an ordinary boy in the street and finding something bulgy and unattractive in his high domed forehead and jutting chin. She had to shake herself to break the spell.
It was more pleasant to grow used to Hoskins’ occasional visits. It was obvious he welcomed escape from his increasingly harried role as head of Stasis, Inc., and that he took a sentimental interest in the child who had started it all, but it seemed to Miss Fellowes that he also enjoyed talking to her.
(She had learned some facts about Hoskins, too. He had invented the method of analyzing the reflection of the past-penetrating mesonic beam; he had invented the method of establishing Stasis; his coldness was only an effort to hide a kindly nature; and, oh yes, he was married.)
What Miss Fellowes could not get used to was the fact that she was engaged in a scientific experiment. Despite all she could do, she found herself getting personally involved to the point of quarreling with the physiologists.
On one occasion, Hoskins came down and found her in the midst of a hot
urge to kill. They had no right; they had no right- Even if he was a Neanderthal, he still wasn’t an animal.
She was staring after them in a blind fury; staring out the open door and listening to Timmie’s sobbing, when she noticed Hoskins standing before her. He might have been there for minutes.
He said, "May I come in?"
She nodded curtly, then hurried to Timmie, who clung to her, curling his little bandy legs-still thin, so thin-about her.
Hoskins watched, then said gravely, "He seems quite unhappy."
Miss Fellowes said, "I don’t blame him. They’re at him every day now with their blood samples and their probings. They keep him on synthetic diets that I wouldn’t feed a pig."
"It’s the sort of thing they can’t try on a human, you know."
"And they can’t try it on Timmie, either. Dr. Hoskins, 1 insist. You told me it was Timmie’s coming that put Stasis, Inc. on the map. If you have any gratitude for that at all, you’ve got to keep them away from the poor thing at least until he’s old enough to understand a little more. After he’s had a bad session with them, he has nightmares, he can’t sleep. Now I warn you," (she reached a sudden peak of fury) "I’m not letting them in here any more."
(She realized that she had screamed that, but she couldn’t help it.)
She said more quietly, "I know he’s Neanderthal but there’s a great deal we don’t appreciate about Neanderthals. I’ve read up on them. They had a culture of their own. Some of the greatest human inventions arose in Neanderthal times. The domestication of animals, for instance; the wheel; various techniques in grinding stone. They even had spiritual yearnings. They buried their dead and buried possessions with the body, showing they believed in a life after death. It amounts to the fact that they invented religion. Doesn’t that mean Timmie has a right to human treatment?"
She patted the little boy gently on his buttocks and sent him off into his playroom. As the door was opened, Hoskins smiled briefly at the display of toys that could be seen.
Miss Fellowes said defensively, "The poor child deserves his toys. It’s all he has and he earns them with what he goes through."
"No, no. No objections, I assure you. I was just thinking how you’ve changed since the first day, when you were quite angry I had foisted a Neanderthal on you."
Miss Fellowes said in a low voice, "I suppose I didn’t-" and faded off.
Hoskins changed the subject, "How old would you say he is, Miss Fellowes?"
She said, "I can’t say, since we don’t know how Neanderthals develop. In size, he’d only be three but Neanderthals are smaller generally and with all the tampering they do with him, he probably isn’t growing. The way he’s learning English, though, I’d say he was well over four."
"Really? I haven’t noticed anything about learning English in the reports."
"He won’t speak to anyone but me. For now, anyway. He’s terribly afraid of others, and no wonder. But he can ask for an article of food; he can indicate any need practically; and he understands almost anything I say. Of course," (she watched him shrewdly, trying to estimate if this was the time), "his development may not continue."
"Any child needs stimulation and this one lives a life of solitary confinement. I do what I can, but I’m not with him all the time and I’m not all he needs. What I mean, Dr. Hoskins, is that he needs another boy to play with."