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Chapter 1: The Birthday

“Happy Birthday, little doll. Happy Birthday, my little UNA,” her father said, as he threw her up in the air, and watched as she tried to touch the ceiling before gravity caught up with her.

“Thank you, Daddy!” the child replied, smiling, as she landed back in her father’s arms.

“What is a birthday, Daddy?” UNA asked a few seconds later, as she played with her father’s ever growing facial hair. Fiery red locks that seemed to have become longer and softer since she last played with them. They always fascinated her. They seemed to have a life and mood of their own. Some days they were shorter and scragglier, others where they felt as soft, and as long, as the thick blue hair on her mother’s head. Where did they come from? Why didn’t she have any of her own? What kind of magic made them change so often?

“A birthday is a day when you get a gift,” her father said. UNA instantly snapped out of her trance.

“Where is it?” she screamed, doing her best to jump off him.

“Hold on now. You have to find it.”

She stared into his dark yellow eyes, trying her best to contort her tiny gray skinned face into the expression that always made him relent to her wishes, while he continued to laugh as he stared back into the deep blue hues of hers.

“Nice try, my little doll. But it won’t work today. Besides, it wasn’t my idea. I don’t even know where it is,” he said, motioning towards her mother, who stood a few feet away from him. She looked up at them and flashed a mischievous smile, as she plopped the last candle into the cake she was hunched over.

“Give me. Give me,” her mother said, as she spread her arms.

UNA screamed with joy as she was tossed from one parent to the other for the next few minutes.

“Enough,” her mother said, as she sat down with UNA, panting.

“Where is it?” UNA asked again, contorting her face when she was greeted with silence.

Her mother laughed and gave her a big kiss. “It’s hiding from you, little doll.”

“Why?” UNA asked, as she rubbed her cheek.

“Same reason you hide from us. It’s playing with you,” her father said, as he came over and picked her up again. He threw her towards the ceiling one final time before he set her on the ground.

“Come on. Let’s go find it. You know all the hiding spots. Lead the way, little doll.”

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