Missing Baby | By: Joan Bray | | Category: Short Story - Dramatizing Bookmark and Share

Missing Baby

She was going to have her baby, the doctor had it right to the day. She should have know it would be that way when she didn't do all the ironing yesterday. The girls had plenty of clothes, would not hurt to miss an ironing day. She had to awaken her husband. He couldn't imagine why she was up at four thirty in the morning, Unless The Baby Was Coming. Walker was running all over himself, trying to get ready. She had made coffee that would keep him from starving until he could have time to pop over to the Waffle House for an honest breakfast.

Walker had something nagging at his mind all day, and before leaving early this morning. Some thing about the girls. They had gone next door so they wouldn't have to get up so early if Mom went. He even had walked them over, carrying their bag. Mrs. Ginning, what would they ever do with out her? Walker and Dina trusted her and the children loved her. They were triplets, fourteen years old, Jessica, Marlena and Samantha. Now they almost had the little boy he had wanted so much. First thing he would get would be a foot ball. He would carry it around until it became a part of his life, drooping it would be next to sinning.

Dina would not like that, but she had the girls to train the boy was his. What would they name him? Not after any professional player, too many are under the gun for alcohol and drug use. Walker was at the nursery window in the afternoon when the girls came. He still had no name. Mom wasn't feeling good but she would be home tomorrow, they went in long enough to give Mom a kiss, and look at the baby one more time. Mrs. Ginning had her look and a short hello to Dian.

Dina was still half asleep, no reason for her to wake up so early in the morning. She would sleep in as often as she could. Mrs. Ginning was always glad to get the girls, she said they rejuvenated her. How old was she? The way she talked she was over sixty, but she looked forty. Maybe she just aged well.

Dina returned to a house nearly as she left it. Walker hadn't eat one time at home, neither had the girls. She was looking forward to the girls to come home to see their little brother. How disappointing it was when they ran in for a few minutes. Changed clothes and said bye Mom we are going to the Mall. They never went to the Mall with out her.

Too much went on out there. Just last week a young girl was enticed into the back seat of a car where two boys fifteen and sixteen were waiting. She had screamed bloody murder causing a passing shopper to have a look. The woman jerked the child out of the car, established the child not being of the family who owned the car, and a look at the papers in the glove compartment, to find the name completely different.

The boys had entered the car just to trap some little girl or boy. Some one else came by and got the story. She went and got the security guard, he put handcuffs on them and made them stay right where they were until the police got there of course the good neighbor got sued for man handling the little thug, but the judge threw it out of court. People were tired of being jerked around by thugs. With gas nearly four dollars a gallon more stealing than ever before would go on.

Walker finally remembered what had been nagging him all night and day. Nothing important, the temperature control in one of the bed rooms got stuck. He had needed to warn the girls to watch it, and not let the heat get so high.

It was almost Halloween, and Thanksgiving was close in behind. They would have some odd days off and a lot of days for Christmas. Walker kept hearing a sound he wasn't used to hearing in the house. He asks the girls, they hadn't heard anything. When he closed the door he could hear the three of them giggling. Over the sound or putting something over Dad?

Walker was a good man; he worked hard and took care of his family. His wife didn't work because it would take all she made to pay a sitter for all day with the boy and mornings and afternoon for the girls. The girls declared they could take care of them self, and normally they would, if they were not triplets. Her triplets could do things with their mind. Move things and make people do things they normally would never do.

Picture Mom coming into the living room while Grand parents were visiting, finding grand father with a glass of whiskey, looked as if he was really enjoying it, looked as if he was hypnotized they didn't say a word to Mom or grand ma, but made sure their Daddy did see him.

Daddy was all over grand pa, smoking and drinking in a house with a no smoking or drinking rule. In front of the girls, no less and stinking up the house with the cigar.
Of course there was more than the eyes could see, but grand pa was really up set. Said he would have to go to church and ask for forgiveness. Dad told him no there was no need for that; he could tell he was very upset over what ever had come to his mind.

The sound had become louder, it sounded like a cat or kitten, it was in the house, not under it or on the porch. He started a search for a kitten. They finally found it under Jess's bed in a box. There was no way she could tell the truth and get away with it so she backpedaled and told a lie. She said they had found it on the front lawn a few days back. It was hungry and crying, “Why do people leave little animals and children in such places." They begged until Walker gave them permission to bring it in, but it had to stay away from the baby, he might smoother him to death. Jess smiled but no one saw except her other two partners in crime.

Dina didn't know what the children were up to but she watched the baby a lot closer. Dina had taught her daughters to be truthful, but not to hurt anyone’s feelings. Sometimes that was impossible. Mrs. Marven came by; hat on purse in hand with an offering for dinner, Dina thanked her and let her have a peek at the baby boy. She called him sweet and innocent. Dina had to agree with her but the triplets were in no mood to be nice. When she ask them if they loved baby boy they all three said no. Mrs. Marvin left in a snit and Dina was crying. Oh they had her right where they wanted her. Tears didn't count with the triplets. Unless they belonged to one of them, that was irreverent. Every thing was different with the triplets, different but the same, every piece of clothing had to match the other two. She never bought one of anything, always three. Dina hoped before long they would want different shades of clothing.

The baby was put back in his bed in the nursery. He was taking this big change fairly well. To be dumped out of that warm shell after nine months, he had a right to be mad. Dina thought she was just jumping at shadows; surely her girls would not hurt this baby, just because he was tiny and needed some attention. Just wait until Mother got there to take over, things would be different but not in the girls favor.

Dian was worn out all ready and it wasn't one whole day. Mother would be there soon. Dina went to sleep, she didn't mean to, but she hadn't slept last night. Walker had gone back to work after getting her and baby boy home safe and sound. Told the girls to help with the baby, just tell her if the baby was crying in case Dina went to sleep. Which she did.

Walker went upstairs first thing to check on Dina and the baby, Dina was sound asleep but the baby wasn't in his bed. Walker looked all over the house, the baby wasn't inside. He went out side and looked on the porches, then in the back yard. No sign of the girls or the baby. He called every name, no one answered. What had happened to his baby? Where were the girls, he knew they were not thrilled with a new baby in the family but they had been assured he would not interfere with their life. Mother would do most of the taking care of him.

Walker went next door where the girls liked to go so much, Mrs. Ginning was watching TV. Said she hadn't seen the girls for over five minutes, she had a book they wanted to look up something. They did their research and left. He ask if he could see the book she gladly went after it. Just some old magic stuff she used to piddle in, could she tell where they read, she turned the book upside down , it fell open in the text for making something disappear. It made no since to Walker, he ask her not to let the girls have access to the books any more, he knew they loved her and she loved them but something wasn't right. He had to find his children.

Dina was up and dressed, very pale in the face. She needed to get back in bed but she had to help find the baby and her girls. She noticed for no reason the cat was also gone. In the corner of the yard in the back was a giant weeping willow, no one lived behind them. Walker thought he saw movement among the heavy branches. Again he called the girls by name, again he got no answer. Telling Dina to wait was useless. He didn't know what he would find. He for once in his life was frightened out of his mind. He parted the foliage and saw his daughters lying against the tree, but no baby, he awakened them, not very gently, and they had disrobed, and probably left the baby in danger.

Dina was calling the girls names, she could be heard all over the neighborhood. They didn't act as if they heard her. Were they drunk on something they had mixed? That had to be it they had mixed some concoction and it laid them out, but where was the baby?

The three girls tried to act sleepy, and sick. But no one was buying. Thatcher City Police was called, a Amber Alert went out. Maybe if some one took him they would find him, but if the girls had him hidden they might never know what had happened. Walker and one of the policemen walked over to the wall of brush and vines. No one kept the lot up. The policeman noted a place with fresh dirt in a mound back under some brush. They both jumped the fence and started digging, some one brought a shovel, and they hit something soft in a sheet. Walker gently opened the sheet and found the cat.

Every hope they had was gone if the girls would not talk. It was cool at night, insects would eat him up. Walker went back down the hill to the house where the other policemen and family were. Walker told his wife the cat had been buried in the lot in a deep grave, just the cat. There was still hope to find the baby. He turned to the girls and asks them where the baby was. He didn't threaten them or raise his voice. They gave him no answer. The policeman asks them if they wanted to be locked up in jail for the rest of their life, in separate cells with unknown cell mates. It didn't shake them at all. He had no other choice but to take them to the jail for questioning. Walker saw them make a sign he had seen before. A sign indicating death. How deep were they into the voodoo magic? Where did they learn it?

Dina reminded him of strange things they did when they were just baby's. Books all over the floor with the book case turned over. Walker bolted the book case to the wall. The books continued to be all over the room as well as stuffed animals. And they talked to each other in a language no one else could understand.

Had their time with Mrs. Ginning brought all this about? Dina had accepted the fact that she would never see her little boy again. She couldn't believe her daughters were evil. They went to church. Had church friends. Went to summer Vacation Bible School. No one had ever complained against them. They were good parents but it looked as if they had given birth to three evil daughters.

Questioning over. No news, they sat like robots, one starting a sentence and the other two finishing it for her.
They wouldn't even say his name, or look at the just born pictures of him. They were allowed to take the girls home with them. Let the subject rest for a while, maybe it will sink in they need to tell where they put the baby and why. Walker wanted to do what he knew his Dad would have done, beat them into submission, but he couldn't do that, because he remembered how much it hurt him.

He closed the nursery door after giving it a quick look, empty bed and bassinet. Nothing useful. Walker got Dina back in bed called the doctor about getting something to help her sleep. The news had already got the word, baby missing. He was glad to stop by and look her over and leave some medicine to help her get over this, or through it.

It still wasn't official that the baby was dead. Dina believed he was dead, she believed her three daughters had done something, maybe an accident that killed the baby. She would never have another, had told the doctor when he came by she wanted her tubes tied, cut and burned, what ever was being done these days. He told her there would be no problem. He would make an appointment for her and telephone. Which he did that afternoon.

Having her Mother there was all that saved her sanity. Her Mother was a pillow of strength for them. She kept the visitors away from Dani. Many came out of guanine sorrow and guanine gossip. Ministers
came from all the Churches, even the Catholic Church; he was most kind and helpful. He ask if he might light a candle for the baby, of course she said yes.

The Questioning was not going well at the jail. The girls wanted to go home. The Sheriff felt sorry for them until he remembered why they were there. They were questioned separately. One could not hear the others words .But some way they were able to communicate, the secret language. A tape was carried to the collage, a teacher there was expert on languages. He took the tape in an inner office, stayed for an hour. He came out with not a sign of a smile. He said, “I hate to tell you this but I have never heard this language spoken, that doesn't mean it doesn't exist, it actually does. How they could know it is beyond me. It is spoken by a remote tribe in the rain forest. There are no tapes I have ever heard of except the one brought back from there some fifty years ago.” I would expect it to be in dust by now, any way the man who owned it is dead and gone. His wife just might let us find it and listen to it, looking for a written transcript of some words. All we can do is keep trying.”

He made a call and told them to meet him at 22 Rose Court where the wife lives” He could hardly wait until they left to go over the tape, The girls had made it. He had thought he heard a noise on the tape like the distant crying of an infant. After three hours of listening he took the recording back to the Sheriff and gave him a run down on the tape, and the possibility of finding a matching one over fifty years old. The voices would of course be different but the dialect was close. Mrs. Ginning had found the old tape in a trunk. He was like a child with a new toy. He spent the rest of the day with his top students; he wanted them to experience the gem which just fell into his lap.

Dani talked with her Mother about what kind of problems they had encountered with the triplets since they were even walking. Separate them for any reason you had a fight on your hands .If one caught a cold, by nightfall they were all sick. They wore the same matching clothes which would make it a bit easier if they would just match them up. No if one wore red and blue, so did the other two. If one cried so did the others, it was like having a merry go round.

They never let up, if they could make her cry they had a good day.” Mother “sounds to me as if you have three naughty girls on your hands” Dani said” No , not naughty, mean is what they are, they love each other but no one else in this world. They disliked getting another child. In fact they threw a fit. And besides that it was a boy which Dad had wanted so badly. They are fourteen years old, dress like ten year olds, act like infants if things don't go their way.

Mother ask” Have they been having problems? Do they know anyone who would want a new baby, someone who knew the girls didn't want one?. Could someone have put them up to stealing the baby for them? After all they didn't want him.”

In fact on the phone one of them said they were going to send him back. Now they are way too old to think you can send a baby back.” Dani “I just don't know. I am so worried about the baby I can't even worry what this is going to do to them. If they are innocent, and I have to believe they are, they will be locked up for years. Their girlhood days will be over, Mother you know what happens in those delinquent places. We can't afford a private school for them, I have no choice but to believe they are being unjustly accused. They will never get over it, they will hate us.” Mother” darling I think they already have hate down very well”.

Walker came home early, exchanged hellos with his Mother In Law. That was about the only thing they would agree on. As much as Dani needed them both, why could they not put fifteen years of dislike aside and be in the same family. She didn't listen to any more. She took it for granted there was nothing new with the girls or the baby.

Walker told her he needed the shoes they wore the day the baby was taken. She wasn't sure, but probably bucks skin with the jeans they were wearing. He went in the room their clothes were put in, and found the shoes. All of them were soiled. Dani looked at the soiled places and told Walker to clean them under the kitchen tap. He replied” Dani they are looking for evidence, if these shoes have unusual soil on them it means they were there, now what would washing do?” “I’m sorry I wasn't thinking. Find out when we can see the girls and we will go, I am sure it will be one at a time.”

Dani”Yes they will not be allowed to be together, but there is the mind reading, do the officers know about that?” Walker “what mind reading are you talking about?” Dani, “I was afraid to tell you they have been reading minds all their lives. Each others and their own” Walker, rejected and wore to the bone,” Why did you think I did not need to know? It would have answered so many questions.”
Walker went back to the jail, gave the Sheriff that good piece of news. He was also at his wits end. People trying to help, had good intentions but they could be so in the way. Phone tips had come in since thirty minutes after The Amber alert was on the air ways. They tried to complete every lead, hoping to find something positive. There were no ransom calls; every one knew Walker was like the rest of the country, trying to make ends meet. Trying to bring up a family, Mrs. Ginning called Walker from her porch, Walker answered her,” Yes Mum” Mrs. Ginning” No news I suppose? Walker answered, “No Mum nothing to report, not a clue as to where the baby is. The girls are in lock up on suspicion of murder, or aiding and assisting with murder.”
He was trying to leave with out hurting her feelings. She told him to go on take care of his wife; she would be all he had left.

He didn't think much about what the lady had said, His girls loved her and she would help out in a pinch. Her house was furnished in heavy old furniture, not at all suited to the cottage house she had lived in forever. He didn't remember what her husband did for a living or herself either. He seemed to remember he was some kind of scientist, was at the University, and died many years ago. No need to discuss him, except she gave his girls use of his books, botany books. Witch craft books. He would mention it to the Sheriff, some one had to make a dent in this case and soon, too save or lock his three girls up the rest of their life with people much worse than they are.

At home Dani had gone to sleep, her Mother wouldn't even let him open the door to look. It was just at the head of the stairs, the next room would have been the baby's, some blue already put up, some pictures of cartoon characters, and books, all these children have books when they are born. Some celebrity gives one a book a year. More than most children got. It was an idea. She wished she had someplace to dump all those books in the attic; she could use that room to paint her pictures in the winter if it was cleaned out.

The old teacher who came by today, she could give them to him, he seemed so enthused over them. She read, a goodly bit, but not that crazy writing in those books. And the pictures. She never was one to want to look at naked people, some of them riding animals some handling snakes.

Some more than riding a dog, it was not fit for a child to see. She didn't think the girls had seen them. They were always where she wanted them with cobwebs from one pile to another. The girls had not seen the books; they had been in too big a hurry to get to the scientist books. But she had heard that weird talk they used, that no one else understood. Maybe they would be sent to be analyzed, they did have a problem. The missing Baby was proof of that. There were a lot of demented people around but they don't take new babies. She was so afraid.

Walker and Dani went to see the girls, they declared they had not hurt the baby, didn't know where he was. They cried to go home then started using the secret language. They made their parents crazy. Walker reverted to wanting to punish them physically again but he knew he could not.

The Police station received many tips, they checked out everyone. One day the Sheriff received a call while with the family. One of his Deputies had spotted an odd sight on the West side of town. Diapers hanging on a line in the back yard of a house belonging to an elderly woman. A long shot but one more to check out.

The Sheriff left to check it out without telling the family where he was going. The house was one of the big fancy houses recently built. He was answered at the door by an elderly woman, well dressed and cordial. In side she offered him coffee and ask his business. He told her he was just checking out a wild goose chase, but he was looking for a new born baby stolen from the parents home three days ago. Woman “Oh yes I have seen the story on the TV, feel sorry for the parents, I believe they have three daughters.” Sheriff “Yes they have triplets girls fourteen years old.”

The Sheriff heard a noise from the second floor, sounded like the cry of an infant. He asks “Is there a infant in the house? I saw diapers on the clothes line; have to say I am surprised to see close lines in this neighborhood.” Lady “ Yes I had a line put up when my niece had her baby, with all the news about pollution and ruining the earth I decided to use diapers on this baby.” Sheriff “When was the baby born, which hospital was it born in?” Lady getting nervous “He is three days old and was born in the local hospital.” Sheriff “You mean the local hospital here in town?” Lady “Yes, my niece is in need of a home and came here to have her baby.”

The Sheriff could hear the crying louder now. Sheriff “would you have the mother bring the baby down, or do I have to go up and look at him?”
Lady” I will have him brought down.” she went to the stairs and called to the mother to bring the baby down. Soon she started down the stairs, “Mother I can't do anything with him, I don't know what he wants and I am beginning not to care.” Lady “You will learn, it doesn't come natural with all new mothers.” Mother “ I don't want to be a mother, I did this to give you a grand son the least thing you could do is help me with him.”

The Sheriff knew he had found the baby safe and sound, just crying for his mother, his real mother. Sheriff “This is the missing baby, I have a picture here and foot prints, it won't take five minutes to prove. Why not confess and give him back to his real parents?” Mother “I want to give him back, I never wanted to steal him, and she made me. I went to the house and ask the girls about the baby they said they didn't like him and I could have him if I would be good to him.”

The Sheriff called the family and told them the baby had been recovered. He would have him home in a few minutes. Dani “Oh thank God you have him, now I can get my girls back to.” Sheriff “We will talk about that when I get there.” He got blankets for the baby and used the seat belt to secure him. A car was sent for to pick up the two women. They were in real trouble. As far as the girls he didn't know what to do. He would leave that decision up to the courts.

The Carter's were over joyed to see their baby boy. Every one had to hold him and make sure he was real. Dani ask about the girls. Sheriff “they had to do with the woman taking the baby, didn't try to stop her and wouldn't tell what had gone on. They are so young I doubt they realize what they had done, they need counseling and close watching.”

Dani “surely they won't be a danger to the baby now. They know what they have been through themselves and what we have suffered, what can we do with them?” Sheriff “I am sure you will have help from Human Services, you may have to hire a Nanny for the baby, the girls will need you to bond with them and maybe they will bond with the baby because you love him so much.” Dani “they adore their daddy; he will have to do some bonding also.” Walker “I will do what ever I have to keep this family together, my girls mean everything to me, they aren't going into an institution over this.” Sheriff “As I said it will be up to the court.”

The girls were allowed to stay at home under close supervision and in school of course. They became the property of every mind reading expert in the country. Constantly being tested and making tapes of their language. Dani and Walker had very little time with them. They were made wards of the court and could be removed from the home at a moments notice.

The woman and her niece were charged with kidnapping and sentenced to five years in jail. They served two years and put on community service.

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