Hello, here I am, back after a long while out off writing. This is Baby’s story. Maybe you’ll enjoy it…
« Muuuummy ! Muuuummmy ! » Like a little brown ball Baby rolled down the stairs, his face a mess of tears and snoot. He could hardly breathe from sobbing so heartily, and his big brown eyes were drowning in mixed fluids. He thrusted his rubbery body right into his mother’s legs, bouncing against her, and collapsed at her feet. She did not seem impressed. Calmly, she bent over and asked : « Now, what’s the matter with you Baby ? »
Of course she knew he was not a Baby anymore. He was three already, He should have started school in September, but he was her youngest, and probably last child. She wanted to keep him to herself a while longer. But today was a day off, and all the four kids were at home. The teenaged twins were locked in their bedroom, as usual, and her six years old little girl was supposed to play with Baby upstairs.
She picked him up and wiped his damp curls away from his face. He was in a state, all sweaty and sticky. « What’s wrong Baby ? Tell Mommy. »
« Nana, Nana ! My Nana, I waaannn my Nanaaa ! » Nana the Wubby : it was a wretched fluffy dog, with no tail and only one eye left, but Baby wouldn’t go anywhere without it.
« What about Nana ? Where is it ? Have you lost it ? »
« Janey got Nanaaaaa, he wailed, Janey peed on Nanaaaa !» Baby started to sob again, so hard he could only shake his head in despair.
She headed upstairs, Baby tucked on her hip, and found Janey hiding behind her bed. She put Baby down in order to pull Janey out from her hideaway. She knew the girl was guilty from the terrified look on her face. She frowned down on her, did not say a word : Janey led them to the loo and picked up Nana from deep inside the toilet bowl, dripping with a mixture of urine and water. « Don’t worry my sweet Baby, Nana’s going to go in the washing-machine, and he’ll come out all clean and beautiful ! » said Mummy, and she picked him up again. Baby watched her with adoration, giving Janey the occasional triumphant glance.
Mummy looked at Janey straight into the eyes : « Now young girl, I promise you you’ll never want to play such a trick on anybody again. » Her tone was a no-joking one, and Janey cringed. She knew she was going to pay for it. « To begin with, you will pair the socks on the kitchen’s table, said Mum, then you’ll tidy up the shoe shelves in the cubbyhole. » Janey followed her downstairs with tears in her eyes. She resented wasting the first day of her holidays.
Though he did not fully understand what pairing the socks was about, or what was to happen in the cubbyhole, Baby was delighted with Mummy’s decision : it sounded real tough on his sister. So when he reached the floor again (he had to wriggle himself free for that), he happily crawled to his favourite corner in the kitchen, by the big stove. He had a nice colourful mat there, with a big basket full of toys. He silently hummed little songs to himself, while tearing off the arms of an old doll.
Meanwhile, his sister sorted the socks, and his mother peeled vegetables over the sink.
The room was peaceful and silent. The only noise came from Janey’s hamster, nibbling grains in his cage. The tiny thing was Janey’s love. She had called it Binky, and she was fond of cuddling him for hours when she came home from school.
Now Baby was young, for sure, but he was smart. Very much so. And he felt in a disposition of revenge. Therefore he quietly crawled up to the cage, softly lifted the latch, reached for the fragile warm body, and grasping it very firmly indeed, inched forward to the back door. This is where the cat flap was, at the bottom of the door, just at the right level for Baby to discreetly push Binky through. Through to the other side : into the wild, cruel and nasty world of the garden (cruel and nasty for a hamster in any case).
And the day went on, as any day would ; that is, up to a point. As a matter of fact up to a very precise point in time : at twenty past four sharp, right in the middle of this normal afternoon, a terrible scream burst out of Janey’s throat. A scream worthy of the most frightening horror movie. It resounded throughout the house, attracting all the people present (that is : Mummy, Baby on her heels, and the twins. Daddy was off on one of his business trips as usual).
Janey was standing in the middle of the hall, eyes bulging, mouth wide open on her wail. On the entrance map, proud as a peacock, stood Pandora the cat. In its mouth today’s booty, which it had brought back as an offering to the family : Binky. Stiff dead. The cat had rescued the hamster from the wild outside world, and taken it back home to where it belonged. The fact it had died on the way (due to too much playfulness on Pandora’s part, but hell ! Warrior’s pleasure), this fact was minor compared to the joy of returning the runaway to its mistress.
But Pandora felt a wave of panic when the twins tackled it and forced Binky out of her mouth. And why was Mother shouting « bloody cat, bloody cat » ? And Janey, from Pandora’s point of view, was overreacting with this downpour of tears…Better take off like a shot.
As for Baby, he was in a shock of course, but mostly he enjoyed the whole drama. Especially Pandora’s grief. Also he hoped he would have a chance to get closer to the small corpse, for it fascinated him. He wanted to poke and pinch it, see if he could set it in motion : it seemed so still. Unfortunately, Mummy was already bending down, a paper towel in one hand and a stick in the other. She gently pushed the limp body of Binky with the stick, onto the towel. She pinched the corners of the towel between thumb and index and took that shroud outside, holding it strangely far from her body. Janey was still howling, the twins patting her in vain to comfort her. Baby was delighted. This had been a good day in the end.