DNA and me

Once again, it’s time for prompts from More Odds Than Ends. Many thanks to ‘nother Mike who created this prompt. It’s so true that practicing writing makes it better. These prompts have improved my writing in the fiction area, just like I improved in the academic area. It’s something I emphasize to my students. But, sometimes, we need to practice what we preach and see things grow for themselves. I’m grateful I have these opportunities to practice and get feedback.

Prompt: Your kids sent in your DNA samples for analysis, and the company wrote back, explaining that they only do human DNA analyses… What do you tell them? Describe that scene with your kids.


The kids came crashing in through the front door, chattering in excitement. Standing in the kitchen, I couldn’t quite make out what they were talking about, but the level of excitement made me smile. Triplets, like twins, often develop their own language and unique communication characteristics and my crew was no exception.

“Mom! Mom! A letter came for you!” Trystan was the oldest (by three minutes) of the group and often took the lead. I think the other two deferred to him without even thinking about it.

“OK. But, why the excitement? We get mail all the time.” I smiled as I took the proffered envelope. Glancing at the return address, I felt my heart sink a bit. Oh, dear. There was going to be some explaining to do here.

Genetic History, Inc. was one of those mail in a swab and we’ll tell you about your genetic background companies.

“Um, guys, what is this?” I kept my expression neutral as I looked at three identical excited faces.

“It’s your birthday present! We saw an ad on TV and thought it would be fun to find out where we all come from! Read it!” Padrig, the “youngest”, was the explainer and chief negotiator.

“OK.” I knew what the letter was going to say, but how was I going to break the information to the kids? Well, I guess I’d have to make it up as I went along. The anticipation was getting mixed in with some anxiety now. They were wondering why I wasn’t as excited as they were and as they expected me to be.

“OK,” I said again and opened the small package. Inside was a small vial and a single sheet of paper. I put the vial aside and unfolded the sheet of paper. Clearing my throat and taking a deep breath, I started reading it out loud.

Dear Ms. Griffin,

Thank you for submitting your DNA sample to Genetic History, Inc. We greatly appreciate your trust in our company.

Unfortunately, we are only equipped to analyze human DNA, and therefore we are unable to process your submitted sample. In the interests of privacy, we have returned your sample. Should you wish to pursue your genetic research we recommend that you submit your sample to HumanFae Ancestry (HFA, Inc.). They are a highly reliable organization specializing in the analysis of non-human DNA.

Thank you again for your confidence in us and the best of luck in your genetic research.


Ronald L. Barclay, CEO
Genetic History, Inc.

The silence in the kitchen was deafening. I raised my eyes from the letter to see three astonished faces gaping at me.

“What does that mean? Non-human? Didn’t they do the test?” My “middle” child, Anwyn, was the worrier and the one who didn’t like things to go sideways. Clearly finding out that mom was not human was the ultimate in things going sideways.

“Guys, you know how much I love you. But, yeah. There is one thing I didn’t tell you yet. I was kind of hoping to do this in about a year, but I guess we’ll do it now. Let’s go sit on the sofa.” I moved into the family room and plopped myself down in the middle of our well-used couch. The kids slowly followed and arranged themselves in their usual pattern around me. Trystan on my left; Arwyn and Padrig on my right. This was our pattern when we read to each other or watched TV or movies together. When their dad was home, he sat on the other side of Arwyn. This sofa and our seating arrangement on it represented our family together time.

I looked at each of them. Their faces were alive with curiosity. I smiled. I couldn’t be any more proud of them than I was right now.

“Let me tell you everything and then you can ask all the questions you want and I’ll do my best to answer them. Deal?”

Three heads nodded in unison.

“OK. I’m not human. I’m not a monster. At least not like something out of a story. But, I’m not human. I’m fae. That’s somebody from what your books call fairy people. I was sent away many years ago because the Queen became very angry with me. I wound up here and met your father. We were very happy for many years. We were extremely happy when we found out I was pregnant with you three. Fae have a very difficult time having children, so the idea that we were going to have three children was exciting.” I paused, assessing their expressions.

“Mom? Can I ask a question now?” Trystan’s voice was hesitant.

“Yes, sweetheart. What is it?” The hesitation in his voice tugged at my heart. I didn’t want my children to be afraid to ask me questions.


“Yes. Does that bother you?”

Three voices came back in a chorus. “That’s SO COOL!!”

I had to laugh. I had worried about having this talk, but I guess those fears were overblown. I settled in to answer the flurry of questions that were being fired at me.


This one was a lot of fun to write. I love the mix of “real world” with supernatural. These are the worlds I like to write in. I think this one has the potential for at least a short story if not more. I’m going to let it marinate for a while.

Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

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