KAY by Robert Fear
Kim’s journey to work was hell that morning.
Violent winds buffeted the bicycle and freezing rain lashed her face as she struggled towards the vet’s surgery, where she worked as a receptionist.
‘I’m getting too old for this lark,’ she screamed as the last corner greeted her.
After dismounting, Kim propped the bike against a sheltered wall and ran to the front porch.
Once inside, she caught her breath and took off the hooded anorak.
Glancing down, she saw a cat basket. It was not unusual for abandoned pets to be left outside, but Kim had a bad feeling about this one. The late November night had been cold and brutal.
No sounds came from the carrier as she leant down to slide out the metal rod that kept the top-loader shut. Kim lifted the lid. There was no sense of movement, just a bundle of something wrapped in a grey-coloured fleece.
She reached into the basket and edged the blanket aside. Instead of fur, she saw white porcelain skin. Innocent, trusting blue eyes held her gaze. The elderly receptionist leapt back.
Kim fumbled for the key from her bag and unlatched the front door. She lifted the cat basket, carried it inside, and placed it on the counter.
Then Kim grabbed the phone and dialled ‘999’.
‘Emergency, which service do you need? Fire, Police or Ambulance?’
‘Ambulance. I’ve just arrived at work and found a baby outside in a cat basket.’
‘Is it in any distress?’
‘No, they wrapped the poor thing in a fleece. It’s staring up at me as we speak. There are no crying sounds, so it seems comfortable.’
‘Okay. I’ll get the paramedics out to you straight away. Where are you?’
‘Vets4Pets, Patriot Drive, on the outskirts of town.’
‘An ambulance will be with you in 10 minutes. Please stay on the line until it arrives. Let me know if the baby’s condition changes.’
‘Thank you. Should I try to move it?’
‘No. The paramedics will check everything when they arrive.’
* * *
This foundling child was an enigma to the doctors.
She was a girl. No doubt about that. But an unusual one.
Abnormal factors included her small, pointed ears, lack of body hair, a full set of teeth, and the absence of any crying. In fact, no sounds came from the tiny baby apart from a gurgling sound when she startled them with her radiant smile.
They named her Kayleen, and she stayed at the Maternity unit in Milton Keynes for the first three months of her life, under constant observation.
X-rays of the body showed nothing exceptional, although brain scan activity was off the chart.
She refused any attempts to give her liquids. The fluids dribbled out of her mouth rather than being swallowed.
In the end, they fed her by intravenous drip and showed her how to use a potty when she needed to pee. She accepted this, and her weight increased to near normal levels.
Then she spoke for the first time.
The words were ones she would have heard the doctors speaking. It was only sixty days after Kim found her on November 25th, 2025.
Within two weeks she was stringing sentences together, although it was unclear to start with if she understood what she was saying.
* * *
Investigations by the police as to the mother’s whereabouts drew a blank, as did the appeals in local and national newspapers.
Detectives reviewed the CCTV footage from several properties in the area, but these did not reveal any unusual activity that night.
The two cameras at the vet’s surgery picked up a family of foxes, but nothing else.
There were, however, unexplained thirty-second gaps in the recordings from both locations at 5:31 a.m.
Kayleen’s origins remained a mystery.
* * *
It was after Kayleen started talking that they transferred her to the University Hospital in Birmingham.
A team of medics took over her care and development.
They moved her into a self-contained flat and she had the company of adults around the clock. Cameras at strategic points recorded her every movement. They taped a tiny EEG cap to her bald scalp at different times during the day to check her neural activity.
Although she closed her eyes to rest, Kayleen never slept.
She chatted with her carers and asked questions, some of which they could not answer. When talking about herself, she never referred to herself in the first person, just as ‘Kay’.
‘Where did Kay come from?’
‘What is Kay’s purpose?’
‘When will Kay be free?’
Within days of arriving, Kayleen was walking. There was no crawling phase. One afternoon, she just stood up and strode across the room.
There was still no interest in food or drink until the evening Greg and Sylvie, two of the medics, took delivery of a takeaway for their dinner.
They sat at the table in the kitchen area and started devouring slices of the thin-crust seafood pizza.
Kayleen appeared at the doorway, sniffed the air, and a look of delight came over her face.
She pulled herself up onto a chair.
‘Kay wants a slice, please.’
Greg and Sylvie exchanged a startled glance, before passing one to her.
Kayleen gripped it with both hands and shoved it into her mouth. She chewed and chewed before swallowing it bit by bit.
‘Kay needs a drink to wash it down, please.’
Sylvie passed her the tumbler of Coke with a straw poking out of the plastic lid.
Kayleen sucked on it before pulling the top off and pouring half the fizzy liquid down her throat.
A huge burp followed, and an angelic smile spread across her face.
That solved the eating problem. Kayleen ate and drank what her carers had, although the menu was more carefully curated after that night.
An hour later, she lay on her bed, groaning and clutching her stomach in pain.
Sylvie sat beside her and looked into her deep blue eyes. ‘Your digestive system has activated and is processing the food and drink. Soon the by-products should pass through your body, and you will need to use the bathroom to poo and get rid of them.’
‘But why did Kay not poo before?’
‘The intravenous nutrients we gave you were enough to nourish you and let you pee, but not enough for you to have to excrete any solids.’
Sylvie smiled. ‘This will be the next stage of your toilet training.’
The child grimaced. ‘Kay understands this is a necessary part of growing up.’
* * *
Kay would always remember the moment Kim found her.
Those ageing fingers pulling back the fleece, bloodshot hazel eyes staring down in disbelief and the lady’s shocked recoil. Voices over the telephone, but no comprehension of the meaning. A secure feeling, one of warmth and caring. Being lifted and inspected. Looks of surprise at her appearance.
This ability to recall most aspects of her life confused others. So, from an early age, Kay learnt to keep it a secret.
One thing she could not remember was what had happened before her discovery. Her brain had locked away this mystery in a corner of her memory she could not access.