Wantababy: Chapter 14

Chapter 14.

The shepe and me and Duncan and LittelBaby blinked at the policeman. We knew are time had come.

‘Only a lame shepe…and a cuple of hitchers,’ said the farmer.

‘No dogs then?’ arsked the policeman.

‘Och, no, my collies are owt with my son on the Fiurack side of the river.’

‘You seen eny travellers going by, with lerchers?’

‘Not today I havent,’ said the farmer. ‘But quite a few caravans and a bus went up here beginning of the week.’

Duncan and I were realising that it wasent abowt us. Oh, the rilefe. I felt like I might throw up from the wurry.

‘There’s a big meet, up towards Dubcraig. Hare corsers. They think we dont know where thay are, but were on it….’ The policeman clicked his fingers and got back in his car. The others all pulled past our Lan Drover and drove off up the track.

We were so freked owt that we jus sat in the back shaking for the next few miols. Duncan got NarstyLady’s papers back owt of the chickin fede. We arsked if we could get owt in a disertid villige. I said bye to the sheep. Taking terns to carry LittelBaby, we walked abowt a mile up the vally, and came across an abanderned cottige with brokern shutters and a hole in the roof. Duncan put his arm thrugh a brokern windo, opernd it and climed in. He un bolted the back dor and let us in. It was mowldy and the flor was erth, but there was an old bed and some musty blankits. There was a streme owt side trickerling parst. I dipped in old cloths and washed the windos at the back so light coud come in. We had to stay some where for a fiew days at least jus to get some rest.

The responserbility of looking arfter LittelBaby felt wunder full and scary at the same time. I felt sorry for all those littel babies whose mummies are not kind. I wantid to be prertecting my baby from pane, from greef, from cold, from hunger all the time. It startid with cradeling her littel hed and supawting it. I felt use full and wantid. After only a few days thogh, she was holding her hed up her self.

If youv never met LittelBaby, its hard to discribe what she was like then. She was, abuv all, ditermined, even when only a fiew days old.  She thort evry thing was very inportent. She was intense and loved to look at me.  I stared in to her eyes often. Her pupils were huj and dark. Thay pulled me in so I got lost in them. It was eksquisit. Its like what youv been craving your hole life, this merging with anuther so you are no longer alown. Its like merging with the univers, with the hole werld, with evry one.

I liked looking arfter Duncan too, heteing the water on the fiyer and taking him cups of tea and doing sex for him. You know, I never ever thort I woud get a boy friend. I thort I woud be alown all my life. I dident know what fun it was being with some one else all most all the time. Some one who loves you. I can fiyul Duncans love for me. It kind of lekes owt of him, in warm waves.

Arfter a cuple of days resting, when are bred and sardines and twiglits ran owt, we moved on. We got a lift as far as Oban where we bort some chips and gobbeled them down sitting on a bensh. We startid walking north owt of the town. A van picked us up. The man said we coud sit in the back with the packidgis, if we dident mind the dark and the chickins. I sat on sacking with LittelBaby and Duncan sat on a tire. The three chickins squotted in the corner and looked at us owt of black shiney eyes. Thay looked like thay wantid to go to bed. It was cold and drafty as the roof of the van was a tarp. ‘Where are we going, Duncan?’ I said. ‘When can we stop?’

‘Not yet,’ he said. ‘This guy said he was taking the smaller road round the coast. The ferther we get, the better.’

We stopped for the driver to have a piss. I got owt to wee bihind a rock. The air felt piure and thin. The sun was shining wekely. It was cold, but beautifle. We were in werld of rocks, hether, shepe, with mountins reering up on ether side of us. I showed LittelBaby the mountins.

We drove for anuther awer and the driver dilivered the chickins. I was glad cos I felt sorry for them. After Fort Willyum we went towards Inver ness on quite a good rode, then took a little road left to wards the sea, which wownd rownd and abowt it self. The van driver was stopping of with packidgis here and there along the wey in rimote plasis.

Wiol we were bumping along, I hugged my baby to me and had a realisashun. I suddernly saw the lenth of histery stretching back thrugh time. I saw medeval ladies in those tall pointy hats, with there babies. I saw even cave wimin with there babies. I coud see that me and my baby we were jus like those pepol from long ago. Its like, having a baby had taken me back hundreds of years, had stripped me clene of all the littel bits of crap that moden life puts on us, teacups and sawcers and ciggies and Big Macs and all that. Lacy underware, washing up liqid, phones, nale varnish… its as if none of that has ever ixistid. Only mud and leves and clay pots and fiyer. Smoke and peat and waves and erth. Rane and moss and shit. Are skin and rabbit fer.

Thrugh cracks in the tarp of the van we got glimpsis of the sea to are left. Bemes of the setting sun were braking through the clowds and glarnsing red in the water.

We went thrugh a tiny villige. There were no cars. Evry where seemed disertid. There were jus sheep who stood in the rode. There were no fencis, jus hills and rocks. Cows with long hare stared at us going by. It was so beautifle my hart sored with exitement. We parsed a littel row of tiny stowne cottidges wich went down to the sea. The driver stopped with a parcel. We nocked and he let us owt. ‘Thanks so much, mate, weyer stopping here,’ said Duncan.

We stood on the stowny beach. The sea was silvery. The sun had gone. It was cold but there was no wind. The clowds were riflecting them selvs in the all most still water. A sele popped its hed up and looked at us, just like the seles at home.  It made LittelBaby giggerl.  Evern thogh she was new born she had a grate sense of humer. More seles were lying on rocks. Sea berds weeled over hed and cried. ‘Duncan,’ I said, ‘Shall we live here?’

He terned from looking owt to sea, to looking in to my eyes. ‘Why not, Sally-Anne?’ he agreed. ‘We can live here.’

We fownd a tiny shop and arsked arownd and got a basic cottidge in ixchange for Duncan agreeing to chop wood and dip sheep and bild walls. We stayed there for a fiew weeks which ran in to munths.

We were getting to know are baby. At a month old, she all redy had the power to focus, she coud really consentrate on things. Her hed was a bit of a weerd shape with a big fore hed and ears coming owt at a sligtly odd angel. Her hare glemed like yello strands of straw. Her nose was a bit flat, but not too big. She had large hands and sligtly hunched showlders. When you called her name, she woud look rownd with her hed and boddy, not jus her hed. Uther wise, on the surfis, she looked quite normel.

I had all weys known from my conversashuns with LittelBaby when she was in my tummy, that she was very clever. She loved werds and made new ones up all the time. We lernt her langwidge gradjully, with her teching us, so we under stood her but not meny other pepol coud. By the time she was six munths we realised more and more that she was speking in a kind of strange rithmic powim. Like those hi ku things what Japernese pepol do, coming in short bersts. It gave you goos bumps. It sowndid aynshunt and odd. Pepol jus thort she was speking jibberish. In the baker for ixampel we went in to get some rolls, and the baker said ‘Good morning, LB.’

‘Ah noo noo, bigga notta go go faradah!’ LittelBaby exclamed, holding one index finger up high, as thogh that woud explane all.

‘You want some rolls today? How meny?’ arsked Basil.

‘Offa nolla woo woo sagana poh poh!’ she said, shaking her hed at him.

‘Tell you what, you can have six,’ he ansered, good nacherdly, and put them in a bag. ‘Shes a right one, isent she?’ he woud say to me.

Thank god the pepol in the villige were so mello. Thay dident give a monkys that we were a bit wiyerd. Thay jus exepted us. So we stayed thrugh the rest of the winter and in to the spring.

LittelBaby grew farst. She coud crawl at four munths and walk at seven munths. Arfter that, there was no kepeing her in side. At five in the morning she woud pull on her wellies and yank her junper over her hed and set of, tramping abowt the beach and the villige with me in toe. She woud clime rocks and banks and cliffs. By the time she was eight munths it was hard to kepe up. She coud cling by her hands to brarnches and lift herself up easily. She was effert lessly athletic. We did not stop her. We coud not stop her. She was a curius tramping fors, with her own set rithum, tramp tramp tramp, doggid and frowning. Pepol in the villige liked her. Thay woud save things for her: pritty pebbels, fer cones, shells.

In abowt June, LittelBaby startid having night mares. One warm night I woke up with a jump as she bashed me in the eye. She was thrashing abowt, sobbing. ‘Me brudda, me brudda cryig!’ she said.

‘You brudda?’ I said. ‘What do you mene, LittelBaby?’

She stared right thrugh me.  She scremed a blud-kerdling, terrifying screme. ‘Dey hurtig me brudda!’ she wailed. ‘Dey hurtig him…’

Wantababy: Chapter 13.

Chapter 13.

Duncan pade for are stay. We clened up the blud, and packed up are stuff including NarstyLadys hand bag. We fownd NarstyLadys car keys and matched it up with a dark blue Toyota Yaris in the car park.

‘Oh, no,’ I said, ‘that menes we coud of dispowsed of her using her own car, if weyud only thort.’

We got in and drove awey from the motel, along the lane owt to wards the mane rode. We drove up North for a cupel of awers. ‘This cars very handy,’ said Duncan, ‘but we have to dump it.’

‘Why?’ I arsked.

‘Because having NarstyLady’s car is a ded give awey that we had some thing to do with her dis aperance,’ he said. He all weys thinks of evry thing like that.

We followed a rode wich went along side a river. We posishuned the car facing the bank, got owt with all are things, and LittelBaby, lucky we dident ferget her, that woud of been bad, and Duncan got in, reved up the enjin then got owt and pressed hard on the axelerater, thrugh the windo, with a stick. He maniged to get the frunt of the car to fall of the bank. The car was stuck. We pushed and pushed but we coudent get the back tires to go in. The frunt of the car sunk littel by littel, quite sloly as it was muddy at the botterm of the river. Unforchunatly are feet had left tracks on the bank but we poked the muddy bits with sticks and dropped bits of fern on them to mess them up.

It was inoying how we had to dump the car in the river because disternses that seme really short in a car seem so much longer on foot. Strete lamps were on. A light drizel was falling. I was trying to stop the wet getting on the babys fase, because she was aslepe and I was afrayd she woud wake up. I held a blankie over her fase.

We strugeled on over a bridge, up a hill and to a juncshun. We terned right. The rode had a very small verj and the grownd was soft and springy and wet. My track soot botterms were soon wet to the knee and cuvered in berrs. We had bort me some new crap traners at a servicis wich were sopping wet. My arms were tiyerd from carrying LittelBaby. Duncan carried her then for a wiol. We trudged on, exorsted all redy and silent. We stood at the next rownd abowt and Duncan stuck his thum owt and I sat on the wet verge and fed the baby. We wated abowt harf an awer. Only abowt sixteen cars parsed us in that time. Shame that all of them woud probly member us, what with the tiny baby and are grimy clothes, but there was nuthing we coud do abowt that.

Finerly some one picked us up. It was a lorry driver. He dident say much, but he parsed us some toffees, and terned the radio up. I wantid to sing along to Biyonsay but I thort Iyud better not. I took LittelBaby owt of the shoe box and held her against my showlder and pattid her back. She cried a bit, then berped and fell aslepe. I lent against Duncan and fell aslepe too. I wished very hard wiol I was falling aslepe that we had not killed Mrs Collins. But I knew in my hart that what was done was done. It had definatly happerned and there was no going back.

I awoke as the lorry came of the moter wey. The driver was going to park up and slepe. Oringe strete lamps were shining sliding bars of light across my fase. LittelBaby was completly zonked owt. We thanked the driver and I handid LittelBaby to Duncan, and climed down from the cab. He handid LittelBaby back to me and climed down too. We put her back in the shoe box and walked into the car park. ‘I jus want to slepe,’ I said to Duncan.

‘Sally-Anne, we carnt slepe. We have to kepe moveing. We have to ….get awey,’ said Duncan.

‘Duncan?’ I said.

‘Yes, Sally-Anne.’

‘Are we on the run?’ I arsked.

‘Yes, Sally-Anne,’ he said. ‘You coud safely say, we are on the run.’

That pepped me up a bit. On the run kind of sownded a bit exiting, like we were in the moovies or some thing. We hitch hiked again from the slip rode on to the moter wey. This time the therd car to pars stopped. ‘Were getting better at this,’ said Duncan. But the car only took us abowt an awer up the rode as he was terning of.

It was raning so we sat in the servisis for harf an awer and had a cup of tea. Duncan was going thrugh NarstyLadys papers. ‘Ha,’ he said.

‘What?’ I said.

‘Well,’ he said, ‘She wasent called Mrs Collins, for starters.’ He pointed to the name on her pars port. ‘Frances Bold. Born in New York, New York.’

‘Oo,’ I said. ‘So she was lying. I knew that, I coud fiyul it.’

‘Look,’ he said. ‘Theres a list..Procter and Snow Ltd…its a lab.’

When he said that, I had a suddern craving for snow to fall. Like quiert gentel flakes taking there time to flote down like thayv got all the time in the werld. Oh, I thort what fun it woud be the ferst time LittelBaby saw snow, we coud make a snow man and snow angles.

‘Whats a lab, Duncan? Is it a dog?’

‘No, it means laboratry. Its where they do speri mints.’

I dident want to seme dumdum so I dident arsk him what speri mints were. I thort may be it was to do with chewing gum. May be they made chewing gum at the snow plase.

Duncan carried on muttering, ‘..like a riceet or some thing….Item…Item….most of them ‘Void.’ Oh, hold on….a cupel say ‘Ishue‘: numbers 187 and 193: ‘ishue‘. Look and all of the uthers say ‘void‘.’

I looked over his showlder. Oh, I realised thay spelt it ‘issue.’ Thats silly because you woud think you woud prernownce it issoo, woudent you? Evern I know that s and h together make a sh sownd. Two essis make a sss sownd. Silly pepol at the snow plase carnt evern spele.

‘And this is the letter orthorising Frances, NarstyLady I mene, to pick up…. Item 187….that must be LittelBaby... from Wantababy.’ He looked at the top of the letter. ‘Procter and Son, Elmlea Laboratries. Why do thay want LittelBaby so badly?’

‘Procter and Snow,’ I said.

‘What?’ said Duncan.

‘Procter and Snow,’ I said. ‘You said Procter and Snow, not Procter and Son.’

Duncan looked back at the papers. ‘Yeh,’ he said, ‘your sharp, Sally-Anne! The cumpny was called Procter and Snow, but later, like now, its Procter and Son.’

‘Maybe Snow died,’ I said, happy that Duncan thort I was sharp. ‘May be Procters son killed him.’

‘What ever. What do thay want with LittelBaby thogh? Thats the queschun.’

‘Well, CrazyStranger did kepe trying to tell me lots of pepol were arfter her,’ I said. ‘But I just thort he was a loony.’

‘What did he say, Sally-Anne?’

I racked my branes but for the life of me I coudent member hardly eny thing. ‘He said LittelBaby was speshul…’

‘Yeeees…?’ said Duncan.

‘…and a cone….’

‘Yeeees…?’ said Duncan.

‘… and neyander thingy and lots of pepol wantid her and wantid to…. I carnt member,’ I said.

‘Neyander thingy?’ arsked Duncan. ‘Whats neyander thingy?’

‘I dont know!’ I ansered. ‘He made no sense. He was a loony Iyum telling you.’

He was frowning at the bit of paper. ‘I wunder why LittelBaby is Item 187,’ he said. ‘Like what happerned to all the uther items?’

He terned the shete over and exclamed, ‘Oh, theres more. Years and years, rows and rows…number 33 was Issue, wey back in 2003, then for years and years there all Void, Void, Void, Void….Void. Hmm, the only other ‘Issue‘ is number 193.’

‘Wich year?’

‘This year, its like recent.’

‘So theres anuther baby?’

‘May be, yes.’

We had to get a move on, so we hedid of. We stood in the rane on the slip rode owt of the servisis for anuther awer bifore eny boddy stopped. It was a lady with grey hare and glarsis. ‘You por things!’ she exclamed as we climed in to her VW Polo. ‘Hitching in this wether. Ooh and with a…’ she looked in my shoe box as if she woud find a puppy or some thing, ‘oo, a baby! And very teeny! Well I never. What a treet!’ She rubbed her windo with her sleev as it was all stemed up and she coudent see much, and she pulled owt. She drove quite sloly. I fell aslepe next to her in the frunt with my hed bumping on my windo, and Duncan held the shoe box in the back. We drove and drove on thrugh the night. The lady was going all the way up to Glasgow to visit her grand dorter. We said we woud go all the way with her if she dident mind. ‘No, no, Iyum glad of the cumpny,’ she said.

She stopped at a big servises arownd Carliyul. ‘Have a stretch, do, I wont be a minit,’ she said. We changed the babys nappy and drank some water owt of the tap and bort sanwigis and I sat on a toilet sete with LittelBab slerping awey on my nippel. It still hurt like mad, but I loved doing it.

The lady came back a time later with a small baby car sete. I was so tuched I startid to cry. ‘Dont cry, dere, its the least I can do to help,’ she said.

I jus coudent stop crying arfter that. I cried and cried, rivers of teres all the way. The lady woud reche across and pat my hand evry so often, and Duncan woud pars me crackers, but no one spoke for a cupel of awers.

At five in the morning we got a coffee at a Costa. The TV was on. I saw a police boat, a cordened of airea, pepol dressed in wite soot things, some one talking abowt merder. Oh bugger. Thay had fownd the lady on the bowt. Thay woud be looking for us all redy.

Car sete lady was in the toilets. ‘Duncan,’ I said. ‘We shoud of jus dumpt NarstyLady in the river. And what did we even do with the merder wepern?’

He stared at me. ‘What was the murder wepern?’ he said.

‘The brick,’ I wispered. ‘Carnt you member?’

‘Oh, yeh,’ he said. ‘I chucked it in the river cos it had blud on it.’

‘Oh, good.’ I realised thogh that may be sniffer dogs woud be arfter us like straight awey. Wurries came poring in on me. ‘Duncan,’ I said, ‘we have to get as far awey as we can.’

‘Lisen,’ he said, ‘it will take them a wiol to find owt who she is. Its not like we sent her of down the river with her ID. She hasent got her pars port with her. And shes from New York, so it will take a wiol.’

‘Shes dusent live in New York. Shes lives…lived… in Lunden, I think,’ I tolled him. ‘It dident take her long to tern up that night arfter LittelBaby was born did it?’

‘Oh,’ he said. ‘Well, thats not so good then.’

The lady came back from the toilet so I dragged my eyes awey from the TV and tried to look normel. We got back on the rode, and finerly got owt on the Glasgow ring rode. I thanked her for the car sete. She jus gave us a winck and said, ‘good luck,’ and ‘your a very good mummy.’

Anuther lorry took us up parst Loch Lomund where we bort bred and sardines and twiglits in a villige shop. Then we got a lift up a glen in a Lan Drover with a shepe in it. Duncan sat on a buckit of chickin feed. I sat on some sacks with LittelBaby on my lap. The shepe looked at us. Its ears were very long and went straight owt from its hed. I scratched it arownd its littel horns. It dident mind being stroked. Its hare was very wirey and springey. It had sweet littel black lips. We bumped along for a wiol. The farmer was looking in his rere view mirrer. He glansed round at us. ‘Want to tell us what youv done?’ he said.

We were like, ‘What?’

He stopped the engin and pointid owt the back. Half a mile back down the curvy track there was a convoy of like eight police cars coming arfter us. The farmer got owt.

‘Sally-Anne,’ hissed Duncan. ‘Just dont say eny thing. Its safer if you dont say a werd.’

‘I wont, Duncan,’ I said. ‘Are thay arfter LittelBaby, or are thay arfter us?’

‘It must be abowt NarstyLady,’ he wispered.

The police cars put on their flashy lights as they got close. The por shepe looked wurried. She bleetid. The blue flashis were lighting her up. Me and LittelBaby were both staring in fasinashun at the strobey bleeting blue shepe. I suddernly thort of some thing. ‘NarstyLadys papers!’ I said.

Duncan looked panicked. He rummidged in his bag, broght owt the papers and the pars port, peeled the lid of the chickin fede buckit what he was siting on, thrust them in there, shoved the lid back down and sat down on it again. I know his hart must of bene thumping like he woud have a hart attack, cos mine was to. The back doors operned. I held tight onto LittelBaby as the blue lights fluddid are facis.

Wantababy: Chapter 12

Chapter 12.

‘Look,’ she said, simply, with her eye brows rased and staring at LittelBaby, who was in my arms. ‘Sally-Anne. I…Iyuv come to get the…my…baby.’

‘Well, I am sorry….but you carnt have her,’ I said, trying to push the dor shut on her. She put her foot in it so the dor woudent shut.

‘Look, lets jus stop all this non sense, shall we, and start over?’ she hissed.

‘Shes not your baby,’ I said, ‘Shes my baby.’

NarstyLadys eyes bulged and she made a ‘durr’ sort of fase. ‘Erm…it wasent your egg and it wasant your boy friends sperm. No. It was my egg and my husbands sperm. You also singed a contract.’

‘Why dont you ever tell the truth?’ I arsked her. ‘Get your foot owt of my dor!’

‘I dont like your aterchood, Sally-Anne,’ she hissed. ‘Iyum not leving un less its with the baby.’ She lent for werd to wards me, with her arms owt streched. I coudent get back because I was still trying to slam the dor in her fase. Her fingers snaked rownd LittelBabys rist bifore I coud pull her awey. She was gripping LittelBabys arm, so we were practickly having a tug of wor with her and the por baby startid to screme.

‘Look, you want the truth, do you, Sally-Anne,’ she hissed despritly, yanking with all the strenth of one spindely arm, and trying to hit me in the fase with her uther arm, ‘if I fale in my mishun,’ smack, ‘my life wont be werth living.’ Smack. ‘I have to diliver her today.’ Smack. ‘ You dont under stand….my bossis have no mersy, they woud kill.…’

NarstyLady stopped hissing. Duncan was suddernly there biside me, and NarstyLadys hand let go of LittelBabys rist, and she fell down, with her mowth wide opern, sloly, bit by bit, all most like she was joking like she was in the theater or some thing. Part of me thort ‘Oh, I wunder what she was going to say,’ and I all most laughed. Then I saw that Duncan had smacked her in the hed with a brick. There was a big red cut on her hare, oozing blud. Her legs were twitching. She was moning. ‘Oh, my god, Duncan!’ I said. ‘Well done! You are a fucking hero.’

‘Yeah,’ he said, looking at NarstyLady. ‘You were right, Sally-Anne, NarstyLady is a proper bitsh. Shes not geting LittelBaby.’

‘Well, not now shes not,’ I said, ‘cos you done her in.’ I put LittelBaby in her shoe box carry cot, propped up on blankies, and picked up that brick and smashed it again and again on NarstyLadys hed. I dident want to. You know I dident. Its jus I had to make shure she was ded. Blud was seeping in to the lino, thick and dark and stickey. I knew I had to clene it up. LittelBaby was wotching. She wasant crying, jus looking with wide eyes.

Oh, stupid persen. Why did she have to come arfter us? It was her folt. She dident diserve a baby. How woud NarstyLady have fed the baby with owt milk in her tits for starters? Evry one knows bottel milk isent safe sinse all those thowsands of babies dide in 2017.

We stood there looking at the boddy. A small dark bubbel popped owt of its nose. ‘Now look…’ said Duncan. ‘Weve got to get rid of that now.’

‘The bubbel,’ I arsked, ‘or the boddy?’

Duncan laughed. He all weys likes my jokes. ‘The boddy,’ he ansered.

‘How?’ I arsked. ‘Oh, Iyuv seen this on telly, like lodes of times….’ I tried to member. ‘Oh yeh, I think you have to rap the boddy in a blankit and slide it down the stares.’

‘Yeah, well, weyer on the grownd flor, so there are no stares,’ said Duncan.

‘Then thay chop its arms and legs of to fit it in the car, cos its gone stiff.’

‘We havent got a car,’ said Duncan.

‘No. We havent,’ I said.

‘And shes not gone stiff, yet.’

‘No, but we havent got a car, eny wey, so theres no point chopping her up,’ I rimindid him.

‘Did it end well?’ arsked Duncan.

‘What?’ I arsked.

‘You know. The thing you saw on the telly.’

I coudent member if it had but thort that probly it hadent. I did member the man who had to cut the legs and arms of the boddy went bonkers and went to live in the attic and lerked in the roof spying on pepol thrugh holes. Having to chop up a boddy woud drive you bonkers. If I had to do it, it woud make me more bonkers than I all redy am, Iyum shure.

I garsped suddernly with a realisashun. ‘Dus this mene you are a merderer?’

‘No, Iyum not. You are,’ said Duncan.

‘No Iyum not! You are,’ I said.

‘You are!’ he said.

‘No, you are!’ I said.

We endid up on the bed rolling arownd hitting each uther, giggling.

‘You merderer!’ I said. ‘Duncan is a merderer!’

‘I only bashed her once,’ he prertestid, siting on top of me and pinning my arms to the bed. ‘You bashed her lots of times.’

‘But my bashis were littel. Your bash was big,’ I said. I membered some thing. ‘Theres a blankit in the cubberd.’

Duncan got of me and lit a fag and paced abowt, thinking, wiol I pulled the blankit owt.

‘We might rap her in a blankit but we still gotta get rid of her,’ he said. ‘And in a surrup tishus manner.’

‘Duncan?’ I said.

‘Yes, Sally-Anne?’ he said.

‘Whats surrup tishus?’ we said to gether.

I laughed. Hes so clever and all weys knows what I am going to say. Its like he can rede my mind.

‘Its so no boddy sees,’ he explaned.

‘We coud jus tip her quiertly in to the river?’ I serjested.

‘No, we want her to be far awey from here, cos the motel pepol have seen us and know what we look like,’ said Duncan.

We both had the idear at the same time. ‘That littel bowt. We coud put her in the bowt. Then sheyull flowt far awey down streme.’

‘We hope,’ I said.

‘Yes, we hope,’ he said.

‘If she went up streme weyud wunder why!’ I said.

We giggled a bit nervusly. Then I made my self stop bifore I had a massiv giggerling fit, because I realised it was not funny. Like ded boddies, is not funny. And aspesholy not if youv corsed them to be ded.

Some times I know I am not like uther pepol because I think things are funny when thay really dont. ‘Duncan?’ I said.

‘Yes, Sally-Anne,’ he said.

‘Why do I some times think things are funny what uther pepol dont think are at all funny?’

And this is when Duncan said : ‘Blimey, Sally-Anne, you really are the Queen of Digreshuns.’ I laughed because it sowndid funny. I dident know what Digreshuns ment thogh.

‘Duncan?’ I said.

‘Yes, Sally-Anne,’ he rip lied.

‘Whats digreshuns?’ we said to gether.

I laughed. ‘How did you know I was going to say that?’ I said.

‘Because I know you,’ he said, and kissed my cold cheke and put his hand bitween my legs. ‘And I love you, Sally-Anne.’

I felt a thrill right in my toes and right up my boddy in to the back of my hed. Goose bumps going deep in side me to my cor. A prickley, luvley fiyuling.

We took the baby down to the river in the shoe box. There were so meny trees and rocks that no boddy woud see us. Bisides wich, there wasent eny one arownd. We tipped the bowt over. It was quite flimsy fiber glars, paintid with black tar stuff. It hadent been used for agis. It had spiders webs and beetels in it. We left the baby jus for a minit wiol we went back for the boddy. To gether we dragged it, sloly sloly, on the blankit to the bowt, and Duncan took the hed end and I took the feet, still in there shiney high heels, and we heeved her in to it. Blimey, she dident look that hevy but my, was she ever! She wasant very centrel but it coudent be helped. She was kind of sitting up lening on the side of the bowt. Duncan put a brarnch in her hand, sticking owt from the side of the bowt. Oh my, now it woud look like she was paderling her way down the river. Until you got close that is. Duncan grabbed some grarsis and made a sort of pillow for her hed so she looked a bit better. I mopped the blud of her fase with a bit of my shert. It dident help much. Now she looked very smery and quite upset. Her hare was all messed up too with ortum leves and twigs in it. She woud not of been happy if she coud of seen her hare. I was suddernly glad that she was ded so she coudent see it. Duncan took his fag owt of his mowth and put it in bitween NarstyLadys lips. ‘Yeh, smoke on that!’ he said, and then pushed the bowt owt hard from the bank with his fut.

She flowted of looking like she was smoking and paderling.

It was quite a specticle. Looking at her, I realised that it was all because of us that she was like that. I startid to cry. ‘But then again, its still her folt,’ I thort. ‘She shoudent of come trying to grab LittelBaby.’ Duncan came over and held me by the waste and kissed me again. It felt so nice I all most fergot my trubels. LittelBaby was crying so we picked her up and kissed her. The silver berches flickered the larst of there leves looking all silvery in the moon light. In that littel moment by the light of the soring moon, I felt like we were a happy famly, cosy and luvley to gether. I fergot abowt what was going on. But when I looked back to wards the river and saw the bowt flowting of with the gory gory gerl on it, I scremed and startid to shiver. NarstyLadys hare was on fiyer!

‘Duncan! NarstyLadys hare is on fiyer!’ I wispered.

He looked rownd. ‘Fuck my life,’ he groned.

Yeh, bit of a fale on the surrup tishus dispowsing of the boddy frunt. I coud of said to him, ‘you shoudent of put that fag in her mowth,’ but I dident, as I often have to take the blame for things and I know it dusent fiyul nice being rong abowt some thing.

But… it was a horribel sight. The flames from her hare lit up her blud staned fase and staring eyes and carst an oringe glow on her hand holding the brarnch. Oh god, some boddy was bownd to see a berning lady paderling down the river. Why carnt we tern the clock back in life? I wished that we had not hert her. I wished it very very hard, with all of me, willing for us to be back bifore it had happerned, or wishing it coud all be a bad dreme, but no. There we were still, clutching on to each uther, all three of us, staring at this awfull garstly sight what we had made.

selfi of me and Duncan

selfi of me and Duncan

Here is Sally-Anne doing her darnsing.

Doing my darnsing

Doing my darnsing

And here is Sally-Anne’s selfie with Duncan and LittelBaby:

selfy of me and Duncan and LittelBaby

selfy of me and Duncan and LittelBaby

And here is Sally-Anne thinking about all her troubles:

How ever much I racked my brane I still dident know what to do

How ever much I racked my brane I still dident know what to do



Wantababy: Chapter 11

Chapter 11.

I had jus had a realisashun.

I had jus had a realisashun.

I looked down at the baby. Suddernly her eyes snapped opern. Thay were very black and very wise. Thay stared in to my soul and tolled me what to do. There was anuther showt from the maniger lady and Nerse Janit. Thay were runing to wards us. The maniger lady was yelling in to her mobile. Nerse Janit was clowser. She streched owt her arms as if to take the baby of me. I gripped on to LittelBaby tight, and just as Nerse Janit made a suddern lunge for her, I wisked her awey and startid to sprint to wards the exit. I swiveled rownd to bump the swing dors opern with my back, brushed parst anuther nerse who was jus coming in, ran down the coridor and pushed my hip on the bar to opern the fire iscape. Oh shit, it was an alarmed one, but at least it opernd. I ran down, clang clang clang on the metel as the sirens went Wooop Woooop. Dont drop the baby, I said to my self. I cluched her with one arm, so I coud hold the rale with the uther. I reched the grownd and startid haring up the parth to the rode.

I was looking bihind me to see if eny one was following, so I dident see the lady coming up the parth. I bumped into her with my showlder and nocked in to her quite strongley. I stumbeled and tripped, but did not let go of LittelBaby. The lady staggered in her high heles and exclamed. It was NarstyLady. Shit, she was come to get LittelBaby, for shure. I tore thrugh the garden, owt parst the hedge and on to the silent rode. I ran left, looking both weys. Where was Duncan? He was not there! May be heyud thort better of it. There were only the oringe strete lamps, and a fox crossing the rode. I herd lowd runing steps bihind me. My breth was coming in big raggid garsps but I did not stop runing. I looked back. Jesus Crist, it was Jimmy thundering arfter me. I peltid all the way up the strete. There was a veyicle bihind me. I did not look back again. I kept runing. My hart was pownding pane fully in my chest. Thay woud get me. It was certun. I woud have to give up my baby for the secund time. I coudent bare it. I howled with frigt. Brakes squeled. I gave up. ‘Sorry, LittelBaby,’ I sobbed and I kissed her cheke, ‘Iyum so sorry, I wish you coud of been mine.’ I stopped, garsping and snotting all over the strete. Duncan lened over to wind down the windo. ‘Stop runing, you numpty,’ he called, ‘and get in!’

I handid LittelBaby in to him and Duncan yanked me up in to the cab, just as Jimmy grabbed me by the hips, so the van shot off with him still hanging on to my tracki botterms. Gripping on to Duncans arm, I twistid my body rownd so I could nee Jimmy in the bolluks and kick him in the shins. The track soot botterms then fell down as far as my feet,  so Jimmy was being dragged along for abowt a hole minit with his chin bumping along the tar mack and me screming my hed of, bifore I maniged to rigel my feet owt of my traners. Jimmy was left in a battered state, clutching my empty clothes in the middel of the rode.

I pulled my feet in dubbel quick, and slamed the door, sobbing with relief. ‘Fiew!’ I said. ‘You shoud of done that Jimmy in a bit more!’

‘I did nock him owt,’ Duncan said. ‘But it obviusly dident larst.’ He took a windy root owt of town.

I kissed my baby on her fore hed, still sobbing, and held her tight. I never wantid to let her go awey from me ever again. ‘NarstyLady was there,’ I tolled Duncan. ‘She was coming in, she was on the parth.’

‘Yeah, she was coming to get Sprinkels,’ he said. ‘Tolled you, we dident have eny time to loose.’

Hummbold I was, looking at my baby.  She was so perfict, so niew that she seemed to be from anuther univers where there are only angles.  I knew with owt a shadow of a dowt what love was. And I under stood that this love is crushal to being a human being. It is the secret of why pepol have servived for millyuns of yeres. Its why we have not dide owt, because you litrally know that you woud lay down your life for your baby. I think dinasors loved there babies too, I think thay were sweet to them and licked them lovingley, but they only dide owt because the wether changed and it got to cowld for them. I think all crechurs love there babies, mowses and rabits, even snales and slugs. Even a wood lowse loves its baby, and an ear wig. Probly evern maggots love there baby maggots. Its because in loving your baby, you are loving the fiucher and the pull of the fiucher is very strong. Fiucher babies who nede to live and injoy the planit are calling to us from far awey over the yeres what seperate us, arsking us to have babies. Its abowt servival. And I think that may be if you are a bit daft, like me, you can love your babies even more than brillyunt pepol whose clever ness gets in the way of there loving there babies. Thayr to rapped up in thinking abowt ejucating there baby, and numbers and long werds and all those idears thay have, to jus let them selvs rilax, like I coud do with my baby. We were like weldid to gether. The edjis of who we were were blerd and fuzy, and I felt my self reche owt and be the baby, and I knew she was recheing owt and being me. She was bicoming me and I was bicoming her. And that felt jus wunder full. I carnt discribe it for you in long werds like a powit woud or like a persen who rites songs woud when thay talk abowt love, but I can tell you, there was nuthing like that fiyuling in the hole werld.

Duncan drove with his hand on my nee. We drove and drove. Parst Norrich, parst Swofferm and Kings Lin then up parst Peterburer and then North.

We got owt to get a cup of tea, some food, napies and fule in a small petrel stashun of the A1. We looked arownd for CCTV.

‘We need to get up to Scot Land, in to the mowntins where there are no camras,’ Duncan said.

‘Yeh, cos Iyuv all weys wantid to show the baby how to throw stownes in to the lakes and here them go plop,’ I said.

Duncan jus looked at me and shook his hed.

‘What?’ I arsked.

‘Jus…you,’ he said. ‘You really arnt on this planit, are you?’

‘Ha ha,’ I said. ‘I am on this planit, silly, at least as much as you are, eny way.’

‘Only trubel is,’ said Duncan, ‘I have to give the van back to Steve, soon. The donuts is his live lihood.’

We got back in the van. The baby sucked my nipperls. It wasent hard, as she was really good at it and knew what to do. Then I held her on my lap and we looked at eche uther. She looked so beautifle. Like she had been sunning her self on a beach. Gowldern smooth skin. Tuftey pale hare. A frowny littel fore hed. Very red lips. We unrapped her and changed her nappy and dressed her in a new baby gro. We rapped her up again. She made no noisis, jus tiny snuffels. We lined the shoe box with anuther blankit and Duncans fleese. Then we lade her in it. It was a perfict size for her.

‘What are we going to call her?’ he said.

‘I dont know,’ I said. ‘Let me lisen a wiol and see if she can tell me.’

I sat still and shut my eyes, but herd nuthing and a terribel tiyerd ness over took me and I slumped down in the corner of the van. Duncan put a blankit under my hed and cuvered me with his big cote. ‘I think shes jus called LittelBaby,’ I wispered and fell aslepe for a fiew awers.

In Yorksher the van terned on to bumpy tracks across mors so I woke up. As the dawn spred like bony fingers of pinkish light across the sky we terned the enjin of in the midderl of a beautifle rolling vally of perple hether. I changed the babys nappy and she sucked my milk again. It hert but it was also wunder full. I felt prowd that I coud do it with no one showing me how. Duncan put slepeing bags on the flor of the van so he coud slepe too and we slept for awers with LittelBaby bitween us.

We stayed there for two days so we coud slepe and slepe. Juring that time we lernt to look arfter LittelBaby. It was easy because she knew what she needid. We used the van for making benes on towst and coffee. When the food startid running owt we dicidid to move on, go ferther north. We had to werk owt how to give the van back to Steve so we stopped at a motel nere Scots Corner and Duncan called him.

I loved the motel. I had never stayed in one bifore. It was a low, long, woodern bilding. All the rooms were on the grownd flor. They all had a littel balcany thing owt the back with two deck chares on it. You coud sit there looking owt over popler trees and silver berchis all with gowld and yello leves and a rocky river rushing parst. There was a small, up terned bowt on the bank.

‘Look, Duncan, theres a littel bowt!’ I said. ‘We coud go rowing.’

‘We arent on holiday, Sally-Anne,’ he said. I thort that was a bit rong, cos really we sort of were on holiday. I mene, what is a holiday if it isent when you go awey some where? And we defiantly had gone awey some where quite far, ferther than I had ever gone bifore at least.

Duncan was smoking anuther fag nervusly. There was hardly eny one else in the uther rooms as it was erly novemba. It was disertid and a bit chilly. You coud see your breth on the air. Duncan went owt to buy some beers. Then we put the telly on. There was nuthing on telly thogh. There never is. We lay on a proper bed. Mmm it was luvley. ‘This is proper lukshury,’ I said. LittelBaby dident like being in side as much as she liked being owt side or in the van thogh. She liked lisening to the leves rusling in the trees and fiyuling the brease on her fase.

‘I tolled Steve Iyud meet him five miols awey from here,’ said Duncan. ‘Heyull get there tomorro at abowt two. Hes coming up on the trane.’

‘What if he tells pepol where we are?’

‘He jus woud never do that,’ said Duncan. ‘But I wont tell him where you are, eny way.’

The next day, he drove the van of to give it back. He walked back the five miols. When he got back I was lying on the bed trying to get on my fase book on my phone. Duncan saw me keying in things and lept to wards me. ‘What are you doing?’ he cried owt. ‘Sally-Anne, dont be daft! Your locashun can be tracked.’ He grabbed it of me and took owt the battry. ‘Best not use it at all,’ he grumbold.

We liked it so much at the motel that we dicidid to stay anuther night. I think that was are miss take. We shoud of got crackin in sted. Duncan had gone owt to get more beers and I had jus finished changing LittelBabys nappy on the flor and there was a nock at the dor. I thort it was Duncan. I picked up LittelBaby and operned the dor.

It was NarstyLady.

Wantababy: Chapter 10


Chapter 10.

He was crowched biside my bed. His eyes glemed black and yello from lights riflectid in them. ‘Sally-Anne,’ he wispered. ‘What thay done to you is rong….Iyum sorry…’

I felt sad ness more than eny thing. ‘Did you…did you…bitray me?’ I arsked him.

The look on his fase was my anser. I coud hardly bileve it.

‘Were you…going to let them take LittelBaby…all along?’

There was a silence. His warm hand squezed mine. ‘Shh, yes, Sally-Anne,’ he wispered. ‘Iyum sorry. I dident realise what it ment. It was like easy muny. I agreed to it bifore I even met you.’

 I pulled my hand out of his and terned my fase to the wall.

‘I really am a hundred persent sorry, I will make it up to you.’ He ducked down suddernly, as a nerse with a clip bord came throgh the swing dors to the ward and clicked parst my cubical.

I said nuthing. Losing him was all most as much a blow as losing LittelBaby.

‘Lisen, Sally-Anne, I’m here to help you get LittelBaby back.’

Oh god, what a stupid idiut. Thay woud never risk letting her owt of there sight. Teres were poring down my fase. Why do I never find rele friends? Only idiuts. Probly because I am a gullibel, naïv idiut my self. Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid Sally-Anne. Why had I ever thort that I coud find a boy friend as good and as nice as the Duncan I thort I knew? Of cors it had all been fake. I had jus been imminensly stupid to think I, Silly-Sally, coud of struk gowld.

‘We carnt get her back, Duncan. Thay will be garding her. And we dont even know where she is, like where did thay take her?’

He stared at me. ‘Sheyull be here, wont she? In the center? At least for a fiew awers.’

Well yes. Where else coud thay of taken her? I realised she was most likely very clowse. And its not like NarstyLady woud of arrived all redy to get her in the middel of the night, shurly, as sheyud had no warning that I woud give berth a weke erly. I lened up on my elbow and looked abowt me. No one was arownd. The nerse who had jus helped me had gone of up the coridor and was tapping on a compiuter at the far end. But a terribel weke ness was in my legs and in my hart. ‘Duncan,’ I said, sinking back down on the pillos, ‘I jus…I jus dont think I can.’

‘Sally-Anne,’ he wispered, ‘its now or never. If you want your baby, youv got to get her now, wiol thay wont be ixpecting you to have the strenth.’

I was crying again. ‘But…I dont have the strenth.’

He rolled under my bed, as the same nerse squeked back again to the dor with her clip bord. He rolled owt again.

‘Yes you do,’ he wispered. ‘You can do it. Iyum going to help you. Sally-Anne, I promis I will never bitray you again. I love you.’

I said nuthing. I jus gulped down more snot.

‘Plese, Sally-Anne. Your the best thing that ever happerned to me. Iyuv never had so much fun as when Iyum with you.’

No…how coud I trust him now? I was thinking again of how we darnsed on the beach. Had he only darnsed just because he was pade to keep an eye on me and he was jus extra good at his job? I thort how are friend ship had sunk.

‘Did you only darnse with me….because it was your job?’ I arsked.

‘No, no, Sally-Anne, how can you think that? That was me, that wasent the job! Sally-Anne, we havent got time…Neo natel is jus along the coridor, and up on level 2, I parsed a sign as I was coming in,’ he said erjently.

‘Yeh, I know where it is,’ I said. ‘Its jus, Iyum not brave like you.’

‘Sally-Anne,’ Duncan hissed, ‘What have you got to loose?

I thort abowt it. What did I have to loose? If thay cort me, I woud only be in the same situashun as I was in now. I coud try then….was I brave enugh?

‘Iyum getting the van,’ he wispered. ‘Iyull be owt side the frunt in fifteen minits.’

I jus stared at him in terrer. My boddy was shaking, like in volanterily.

‘Come on Sally-Anne, LittelBaby Sprinkels nedes us.’

‘Duncan,’ I wispered, clutching his hand tight, ‘thay have a night…sicurity gard, Jimmy, owt side….the dor of neo natel.’ My voice was coming in strange, raggid garsps.

He frowned. ‘Iyull go there ferst. Iyull dele with Jimmy. By the time you get there, heyull be gone, dont wurry,’ he said.

Dispite my terrer, I maniged to give a tiny nod. He looked arownd to check no boddy was there, and shot of owt the dor.

Fere corsed thrugh me. I tried to cuntrol the littel garsps and sobs that were coming owt of me. I was still shivring as I pulled my self owt of the bed, kepeing lo, squished my pillos into a boddy shape under the cuvers and scrumpeled a black cardigun where my hed shoud be. With my tethe chattering, I pulled the hoodie thay had broght me back over my hed and pulled on jogging botterms and my traners.

I knew where neo natel was, because it was on the same flor as where I had my helth checks. With my hed swivling franticly apon my showlders, I did what Duncan had done, and zoomed as farst as I coud, but on tip toes to slip owt of the swing dors. I had no time to look back and see if I was being followed. I heved my self up a fligt of stares, quiertly, quiertly, and crossing my fingers in my hed, pushed opern the dor at the top a crack and peked rownd. The coridor was empty. I shuffeled up it, peped rownd the corner and again ran along until I reched an alcove. Right next to the alcove was a fire iscape with a spyrolled metel stare case on the owt side of the bilding. Coud I get owt there with LittelBaby? Was it the tipe of dor wich woud set of an alarm? The neo natel ward was jus biyond it at the end of the coridor. There were two glars windos in the dors. It looked darkish in side. As I peeked owt of my alcove the dors banged opern. I pulled my hed back sharply.

‘Oh! Wheres Jimmy gone?’ said a nerse.

‘Gone for a fag, mos probly,’ said anuther.

‘Hes left his coffee bihind, silly man! Itul go cold.’

Thay squeked parst chatting in low voicis. I squeezed my self back against the wall. I thort I might screme or may be wet my self with fright.

I tip toed very quiertly to wards the dors. Shure enugh, no sign of Jimmy. Jus an empty chare, a niews paper and the coffee cup on the flor, steming jently. Well done, Duncan. I looked thrugh the glars windo. All looked still with in. I took my curidge in my hands. ‘What have you got to loose, Sally-Anne?‘ I arsked my self again and I ansered my self too, with fresh teres corsing down my chekes: ‘Nuthing, abselutely nuthing, Sally-Anne.’

I pushed opern the dors and walked in. No boddy sterred. No boddy was in the resepshun airea. At the far end a woman who looked like she was the maniger was bent over files with a littel reading lamp iloominating the paper. She looked up but she was quite far awey. I walked normally. The ferst two littel see thrugh cots were empty. I walked on, like in a dreme, to the therd cot. It was a fat boy baby with a very red fase. Not mine. I carried on walking. ‘You jus have to be very very quick, Sally-Anne, and very very shure of your self,’ I said to my self. ‘Confidance is evry thing.’ The next cot was surrowndid by blue curtens. I slipped rownd the curten. There was the cot. There was my baby. She was dressed in a pink baby gro. Her hed was tiny. Her hare was wite. Her hands were the tiniest things you ever saw. Rownd her rist I saw the tag with ‘Collins’ on it. No time to loose, I picked her up. Her hed fell for werd on to my coller bown. She was floppy. She gurgeled. I grabbed the blankits from the cot, clarsped them arownd her, and shuffeled off, but farst, ‘no noise, Sally-Anne, make no noise,’ I said to my self.

I herd a showt. I terned rownd but carried on shufferling back werds as farst as I coud. The maniger lady with the files was harf way to wards me, a questshuning look on her fase. ‘Excuse me?’ she called. A nerse looked owt of a room and startid walking to wards me. It was Nerse Janit. ‘Sally-Anne!’ she exclamed. Suddernly thay were panicking, and showting for Jimmy. My legs stopped walking. I was like frozen and coudent move. I knew they were going to get her of me. My legs woud not obay my mind.

Wantababy: Chapter 9

BTW, I now have a pic of Sally-Anne for you.  I love the way the baby is glowing from within.


Chapter 9.

I sat there moning and sobbing and shaking. I gave berth to the plasenta, a mucky, derty bisness if ever there was one. I was sitting in blud, it was vile. I was starting to realise what had happerned. ‘Wheres my baby?’ I sobbed. ‘I want my baby.’

‘Thay…thayuv taken the baby,’ Duncan said. He took my hand and kissed it. He kept looking at me. He looked really sad. I lay back again and tears jus stremed down my fase. ‘We dident manige, did we, Duncan?’ I waled.

‘You tried your best,’ he said. I dozed again, I coudent move, I felt like I had run a hundred miols. It was still dark in the hut. There was one lantern, and Duncan had hung up his torch. It was swinging arownd, carsting shadows arownd the small space. I felt like a por hert animal, crowched in the corner on the bludy sleeping bag. No boddy seemed to have much pity for me. ‘You shoudent of run of like that,’ scoldid the nerse. ‘Its dangerus to try to give berth by your self. You coud of dide.’

‘I might as well of dide,’ I said, ‘if I carnt have my baby.’ My fase crumpeled up again, and I wept and wept. I bled in to the slepeing bag, and sat in a cold puddel of blud. Duncan broght me paper to mop my self up. I shuved it under me and clung to him, leving bludy smeres on his shirt.

‘Theres a car coming,’ said the nerse, looking at her phone. ‘Weyull get you up to the car park in a jiffy as soon as the porters give us a hand.’

‘I carnt move,’ I said. I never wantid to move again. I wantid to die. I coudent bare it. It was not fare. I wantid to tell evry one that it wasant fare, but I knew that no boddy woud lisen to Silly Sally. No boddy ever lisened to me, because I wasant clever. I knew that was rong. Some times clever pepol shoud lisen to pepol like me, because may be some times we are right. I knew that I loved that baby more, much more than the pepol she was going to. That baby woud have a better life with me, because I loved her. I woud never leve her with a nanny. I woud never send her to school bifore she was redy. I woud never send her of to bording school awey from me. I woud all weys be there for her, and love her, and do eny thing and evry thing for her and with her. I thort I woud sob my hart owt. Duncan had boyled the kettel, and broght me a cup of tea, with no milk. I slerped it grate fully. It made me feel a teensy tiny bit better.

Then two berly porters from the center nocked on the dor. Thay had seen the light shining owt of the windo. ‘Come on then, lets get you back to the center,’ one of them said. Thay had broght a hold all with sanitery pads and baggy jogging botterms and a big hoodie. Thay went owt side on to the decking and shut the dor wiol I got dressed. Evry thing took a long time as I was slo and sad and shaking. I thort may be from now on I woud never be happy again. I knew it.

Duncan was not invitid to come in the car with us. I arrived back at the center. The recepshunist looked at me. The night cleners looked at me. Evry one was staring. Lucky it was night so there were not too meny pepol arownd or I woudent of been abel to bare it. I was led to a bed in the observashun ward. A nerse came and took my blud presher, and my tempricher. She tucked me up, and pattid my arm. ‘Come on,’ she said quiertly. ‘Its not that bad. Youll be pade in a cuple of days. Magine that!’

‘I dont want…stupid muny,’ I wispered. ‘What is muny? Its jus paper. I jus wantid to kepe my baby.’

‘Truth is, pet,’ she said, ‘it never was your baby. You have to exept that. The job states that very clere.’

I dozed. I dremed of all the horrers that had happerned that day and night. The fere, the running, the pane, the loss, the crying. I also re lived moments that I had missed erlier. I saw Duncan opern the dor of the hut. I was crowched in the corner moning with my hed down, but as he opernd it, I liftid my hed jus enugh to catch the nerse who came in saying ‘Fancy seeing you here,’ and giving him a winck.

Did I dreme that or not? And did I magine this: the uther nerse, in a lo voice said, ‘Thanks, Duncan,’ and the next bit was only brethed, but I think my hering was extra good with all the adrenlin or some thing because it was clere even thrugh my moning, ‘We knew we woud be abel to cownt on you.’

What did this mene? I wundered. Coud it really be that Duncan was going to call them all along? Had thay arsked him to spy on me? I membered that it was Nerse Janit who had arsked me to fetch her donuts on that very ferst day I met Duncan. Did this mene that are hole friend ship coud be fake? I dident know. I jus dident know. The saspishun of it made me very sad thogh because Duncan had made me happy. I had thort I had a rele friend. Now I felt like may be I had no friend, and no baby.

I cried again when I thort of Duncan calling the baby Sprinkels. Was he jus acting like he liked me? He mus be a good acter then. More teres fell as I thort of us darnsing on the beach. Had he jus bene prertending to like darnsing? I thort abowt how sollid Duncan had felt when I squished his arms and showlders in my hands. He had felt so rele. I fell aslepe thinking that if Duncan was fake then the hole werld was fake and nuthing woud ever be rele or right again.

At abowt four in the morning I startid awake. All the things wich had happerned came fludding back in on me like an oshun of dispare. I had to go for a wee. It was so pane full. It stung. A nerse herd my crying and came and showed me how to por warm water over me at the same time as weeing so it woudent sting. She led me back to bed and tucked me up again. She gave me brest pads for my brests as thay were hard and sore, and leking milk.

I tried to slepe again but I coudent. I tossed and terned. Suddernly, a warm hand was on mine. I startid up with a jolt. ‘Sshhh,’ said a voice, in a wisper. ‘Its me, Duncan.’


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