The baby was crying. Macy could hear it louder then before. Rolling over, Macy, still half a sleep, fumbled for the lamp switch. She yawed then shielded her eyes as light came on.
Grumpily, she listened and heard the storm rolling around. Thunder was echoing it’s booming voice and lightening was popping in the clouds. Rain was clattering down and the wind was like a lion tamer’s whip.
Despite all that noise, Macy was positive the baby was crying in the alleyway.
Getting up, she pulled jeans on and a jumper then went to the door but there was somebody there all ready.
The cat’s meowing made her pause and for a few seconds Macy was puzzled until she remembered Precious.
The tortoise shell cat was rubbing against the door, asking to be let out.
Macy picked her up and put the cat into her jumper. Recalling she would also need a light source, Macy grabbed her phone then went downstairs. Wellington boots and rain coat on, Macy brought the torch app up and went out into the stormy night.
With the cat- a warm, wiggly thing against her chest, Macy felt braver as she stepped out of the front door. The weather smacked her as if warning her to stay back but Macy fought through it and went the few steps towards the alley.
Wait, was that a figure ducking away into the shadows of the entrance?
Macy couldn’t stop as the storm was chilling her all ready. Once under cover, she took the cat out from under her jumper and followed Precious down. The cat sniffed and vanished behind the bins.
Macy shone her phone around, the torch doing a better job then the candle flame the other night. As she crossed over one of the distant bins, she stopped.
There was the shape of a woman with a bundle of clothes? in her arms. The woman’s head was bent, fixed on the bundle and there was blood on the floor.
Swallowing, Macy slowly moved forward, keeping the phone’s light down.
The woman didn’t move nor seemed to know Macy was there.
‘Hello?’ Macy called out.
The woman slowly looked up and turned her head. Her face was wet with tears, rain and blood. Her blonde hair was wet and falling out of the pins that held it up. She was young; a teenager. She had on a dress, a shawl and low shoes that was not enough protection in this weather. In her arms was a ragged blanket and something was moving inside.
‘It’s okay. I won’t do anything…I just needed to know…’ Macy trailed off as a bolt of lightening cracked across the sky.
The flash of light showed for a few seconds, that the girl was covered in bruises and there was more blood on the floor then Macy had first realised.
Macy shivered, feeling the cold not just from the weather now, it was like the alleyway had become frozen. The chill made her start to shake and she didn’t know what to do. She couldn’t turn away and just leave. How could she go back to bed knowing a teenager had just had a baby and was now going to abandoned the newborn inside a bin?
Should I comfort her? Try to take the baby? Phone for an ambulance? Ran the thoughts in Macy’s head.
She approached the teenager, wanting to help. The girl had turned back to the wrapped up baby.
‘It shouldn’t have been…Never…A mistake,’ the girl whispered.
‘What happened?’ Macy asked.
‘I told him. He didn’t want it. Wouldn’t do the right thing and marry me. We fought, he hit me, I left him. I told my parents…my father…he beat me, cast me out. It shouldn’t have come…’
‘That’s bad,’ Macy spoke, ‘but you can’t abandoned her now. She needs you.’
The teenager shook her head and replied, ‘someone else who knows what to do can. It has to be this way…’
‘Leaving her in a bin? She’ll die!’ Macy cried.
‘I don’t care! It’s ruined my life!’ the girl screamed.
The teenager threw the baby into the bin. Macy screamed, ran forward but tripped over She fell to the wet floor at the girl’s feet, feeling pain shooting up her arms and legs. Something heavy landed on her back and there was the warning hissing sounds of the cat.
‘Please,’ Macy muttered, tasting blood in her mouth, ‘don’t leave her again. She needs you.’
The baby was crying and so was the girl. The sounds of their sobbing echoed in the alleyway against the background of the storm.
Macy stood and Precious jumped off, still hissing and with an arched back. Macy scooped up the cat and shoved her into the jumper.
‘You know it’s true,’ Macy picked up, ‘you can make it right.’
The girl looked at the bin, unsure. Macy could see her shaking, the swell of her post-pregnancy belly, the blood staining her dress and legs.
Thunder clapped, rain swept into the alleyway, lightening followed in two bright flashes and crackling. The eye of the storm was passing right over head.
‘Don’t leave her,’ Macy added.
The teenager shook her head, ‘it has to be this way. Always.’
‘Fine. I’ll take her,’ Macy announced and tucking her phone away, she reached into the bin.
Lifting out the bloody blanket and looking in, Macy saw the newborn. There was a patch of blonde hair and red streaked skin, eyes shut tightly and mouth open in desperate crying. The baby was so tiny and felt too light in her arms. She hugged the baby to her chest. Then felt the cat in her jumper settling.
‘You would?’ the girl asked in surprise.
‘It’s not the baby’s fault. She’s not a mistake to just forget about! You ruined your own life,’ Macy shouted.
Turning away, Macy carried the baby inside her house. She closed the door with her foot then had to set the bundle and cat down to lock the door and turn on the hall light. Picking up the baby again, she went to her bedroom and made a small cot out of a drawer and some bedding.
The baby was still crying but then Precious stepped in the bottom of the drawer and curled up. Warm and safe now, the baby fell asleep.
Nodding, Macy took her clothes off and hung them up to dry. She put on a new night dress and got into bed. Exhausted, she fell asleep.
Morning light woke her. Macy lay confused for a few minutes, her thoughts clouded. She wasn’t sure if last night’s events had been a dream? A nightmare? Real? She rolled over, thinking of getting up and having a cup of tea. That always helped.
There was a drawer on the floor by the bedside. Inside, was the tortoise shell cat, Precious, and a real newborn baby girl.
Macy bent down and picked the baby up. The baby stirred and woke up, big blue eyes starring into her own. Tiny hands uncurled and Macy slipped her finger into a palm the size of a 2p coin. The baby’s fingers closed around her finger.
Precious jumped on the bed and sit between Macy’s legs.
‘Well,’ Macy spoke and smiled brightly, ‘looks like I got a baby and a cat to take care of now.’