Momnapping 2.0

Chapter 1

An Insidious Momnapping


I don’t know what tipped me off that something wasn’t right. Maybe it was the toaster sprouting wings. Maybe it was the dinner plates hurling themselves straight at my face. Or maybe it was the guys in suits growing four extra robot legs out of nowhere.

Whatever. Something was definitely not right. I knew that much.

The guys in suits looked normal at first. They were sitting in the livingroom with Mom when Tab and I got home from school. They wore identical black sunglasses to go with their sleek black suits. Their hair was cut exactly the same, too. The only difference between them was that one had gray hair and the other had black.

“Go to your rooms,” Mom said before either of us had a chance to ask what was up. “I’ll call you when dinner…”

“We wish to speak with the children,” Black-Hair interrupted. His voice sounded weird, like my grandma’s old turntable music

“Yes. The children. The twins… must stay,” Gray-Hair said.

He nodded and I thought I heard his neck creak. I glanced at my sister. She gave me a look. She’d heard it too.

Nevermind what I said before. That was when I realized something was up.

“Gentlemen, the children do not need to be involved,” Mom said. “They…”

“They are involved,” Gray-Hair said. “More than you are, woman.”

Mom stiffened. I held my breath. These guys had no idea who they were messing with. Nobody talked to Mom like that. She was the toughest person I knew. Tough enough to kick my dad’s butt and throw him out forever when he beat me up. Tough enough to do the same thing to these two weird-ohs.

Tabitha glanced at me with a little smile. My twin sister was thinking the same thing.

But then Mom closed her eyes and took a deep breath.

She patted the couch. “Come sit by me.”

That was it. No telling the creaky men that they were jerks and yelling at them to get out of her house before she made them. No threats to call the cops. Nothing.

Tabitha and I looked at each-other with wide eyes. Suddenly, these guys seemed a lot scarier.

We sat by Mom on the couch. I pulled my legs up to be as far away from Gray-Hair as possible.

“Mom, what’s wrong?” Tab asked.

Mom just shook her head and pulled us close. She didn’t say anything. She held onto me like she was afraid I’d disappear.

“Children,” Black-Hair said, leaning close to us. He smiled, but it was a weird smile. It almost looked like it hurt him.

I liked his frown better.

“We are members of…” he thought for a moment, then nodded to himself. “CPS. Yes. Child Protective Services. We have come to take you away from this woman and keep you… safe.”

I looked up at Mom. Her lips were pursed. She glared at the men. But she still didn’t say anything.

My twin sister wasn’t so quiet.

“But… why?” Tabitha said. “Dad’s gone now. We’re already safe!”

Gray-Hair shook his head. More creaking. “Your mother is… wrong. She does not have what is… needed… to raise you… properly.”

I raised my eyebrow. “Properly?”

“Yes, properly,” Black-Hair said. His smile looked plastered on his face, like a sticker-grin. “Do you wish for the… definition… of the word?”

It was my turn to glare. Mom always said I got my temper from her. I hope so. I don’t want it to be from my dad. Either way, I’ve never been very good at staying calm.

“I know what properly means,” I said. “I’m not stupid. I happen to have a very big vocabulary for a fifth grader.”

The weird men looked at each-other, then back to me.

“Yes, you are very… smart… Trevor Tate,” he said. “This is why your mother cannot raise you…”

“Let me guess. Properly?” I said. “Let me give it to you straight, Mister Whoever-You-Are. Me and Tab aren’t going anywhere. This is our home and…”

Mom squeezed me. Before I had a chance to snap at her (I do that a lot when I’m mad), she whispered in my ear.


My eyes went wide. I looked back at the weird-ohs. Temper or no temper, I knew what “bacon” meant.

Not too long after Mom kicked my dad out, she set up a secret word for us to use to keep us safe. It was bacon. (It’s OK. I can tell you. We have a new word now anyway.) If anyone tried to pick us up from school or football practice or whatever, we were supposed to ask them for it. If they didn’t know it, Mom never sent them and we weren’t supposed to go with them.

No matter what.

Of course, Mom wasn’t using the word quite right, but I could tell what she meant anyway. These guys weren’t from CPS. They were strangers. Dangerous ones, too.

Tabitha looked at me funny. I mouthed “bacon” to her. She nodded, understanding right away.

Sometimes it’s good to be a twin.

I have to admit I have doubts about Tab and I. We’re so totally different that I have a hard time believing we’re even from the same parents, let alone twins. Tab’s popular and outgoing. I‘m… not. Tab’s all about science and logic. I’m a lot happier reading fantasy and science fiction stories. Tab loves a good mystery. I’d rather fight my way out of a problem. The only things we have in common are our brown hair and blue eyes. And our freckles. Those too. Mom’s a scientist, after all. I figure Tab and I are an experiment gone wrong and she just doesn’t want to break it to us.

Still, sometimes it does feel like we can read each-other’s minds. So maybe I’m wrong. Who knows.

The men stood up at the same time. Their creaks were louder, amplified double.

“You will come with us now… twins,” Gray-Hair said. Somehow he made the word ‘twins’ sound like a cuss word.

Me and Tab looked at Mom. She wouldn’t let them take us, would she? Her eyes were steely. Just like when she kicked Dad out. Just like that.

I smiled. No. She wouldn’t.

Then everything seemed to happen at once.

Mom stood up and pushed us behind her. “You’ll have to go through me first, SlaveBots!”

Black-Hair hissed. “So be it, woman.”

That’s when the weird-ohs grew legs from under their suit jackets. I swear. Legs! Not normal people legs either. Metal robot legs. Four of them each, all spidery and long. They grew all the way to the ground, then kept growing, lifting the guys so high off the floor that their heads brushed the ceiling.

Gray-Hair smiled again, only this time he opened his mouth. His teeth were metal too. And sharp.

I shuddered. “Mom, what..?”

“Shh!” she said. “No matter what happens …”

With screeching screams that sounded like the rustiest brakes ever, both SlaveBots lunged at us.

I was sure Mom was toast, but I guess she had a few more secrets to show us. She pulled a weird looking gun out from somewhere in her white lab coat and aimed it at the bots. It looked like a laser gun, only really old and fat. Like a tiny rusted blimp with a handle.

Blimp or not, the SlaveBots seemed to think it was dangerous. They hissed and jumped away from Mom, holding their hands in front of their faces like babies.

But before I had a chance to feel relieved, the kitchen door exploded inward. Every plate in the house came whizzing through the tattered hole like razor-sharp Frisbees. Mom grabbed us and pulled us down in front of the couch just before the plates smashed against the wall and through the livingroom window behind us.

Glass shattered everywhere. I looked up and saw the SlaveBots smiling again. Black-Hair shot a metal leg out and kicked Mom’s gun out of her hand. It sailed across the room to the ruined kitchen door just as the toaster flew through at us.

Yeah. I said the toaster.

It had grown tiny metallic wings but didn’t seem to know how to use them. It flew like I always thought a bumblebee should, heavy and slow, low to the ground, bumping into everything it passed.

It was so ridiculous looking I almost laughed. But then it started to shake. Its metal surface took on a red tinge. The shaking turned into shuddering. The tinge became a red glow.

I sucked in a breath. With each moment that passed the toaster was looking lees and less like a bumblebee and more and more like a…

… bomb.

Apparently Mom thought so too.  She pulled us to our feet just as the SlaveBots lunged again.


We didn’t have to be told twice. We took off through the broken glass towards the kitchen door, slipping easily under the SlaveBots’ gangly legs. I didn’t ask Tabitha if she knew the plan. I was a faster runner than her anyway. She’d follow me out the back door and to the neighbor’s…

I stopped dead just inside the kitchen. Tab ran into me.


All I could do was point. My voice wouldn’t work.

It seemed every appliance in our kitchen had come to life. The blender walked along the counter on metallic legs that looked like miniatures of the SlaveBots’. The automatic can opener had grown wings like the toaster. It flew just about as well, too. That was lucky for us, since it was starting to redden and shake. The microwave hummed like a laser, glowing red on the inside…

I ducked just as its door flew open and it shot a sizzling red beam at us.

Tabitha screamed. I looked back and was relieved to see she had ducked, too.

“What do we do?” she said. “We’re trapped!”

I turned back towards the appliances just as the fridge started rising up on tank tracks.

“How the..?”

“Trev! Tab! Come on! Hurry!”

I looked towards the basement door. It was open a crack. My fourteen-year-old sister was peeking out of the dark slit. Her blonde hair fell over her face in ratty clumps. Her blue eyes were terrified.

My jaw dropped. None of us kids was allowed down there. The door was always locked. Mom kept the key.

“Emily? How..?”

“What are you waiting for, a written invitation? Come on!”

I grabbed Tabitha’s hand and pulled her along the wall. We were though the basement door faster than lightning.

Emily slammed it closed just before the house erupted in a fireball.

Please let me know what you think about this new first chapter of The Crows’ Nest, whether you have read the original or not. I will be finishing up the first five chapter rewrites soon and upload them as a new preview .pdfI will also be changing the inside pages of the paperback and let you all know when the new volume is available for purchase. ~ MM


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