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.