The Baby

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"The Baby" is a macabre fictional short story. It tells of a child who discovers their fate and makes an attempt at thwarting it before it is too late.

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The Baby

To be strong means to be able to see and cut away the binding, black tendrils of fate before they cling to you.

When I was a boy, perhaps just entering my early teens, I was free. My actions were as fluid as the wind dancing through the trees. All the sounds around me felt as if they had come from the most elegant of composers, and I was proud. My home was extravagant with its numerous rooms and corridors that evoked mystery in my mind as I wandered around them in my free time and found new places to hide. Outside, the lands in which surrounded my home were always lush with vegetation, and the clashing smells of various flower species filled my nostrils with a scent that could only be described as home. The house was also surrounded by fields of green which had seemed to my child legs to go on for miles. My parents were never bad to me, but they were never good to me either. They would always be away, leaving me with my nanny to “watch” over me. When my parents would be home, they would often pay me no mind, calling for me only when it was time to eat or to make me go outside as if I did not do that already.

To my bewilderment, my mother and father would come home one night with a prize. To this day, I still cannot remember if I ever saw my mother conceiving of that parasite before she allowed it to take a breath in our home. When they passed through the entrance of my house, they didn’t so much as allow me to glance at the new creature. Instead, they graced by, giggling and making faces at one another as they stabbed their fingers into a bundle of cloth.

I stood at the doorway of the room where my mother and father had cooped themselves up inside. My shadow, cloaking over them in search of an answer.

Caroline was her name. This small, spitting, lump of flesh. To think that I could have ever been something so putrid in my life was unconvincing. She latched onto them and sucked away any remaining care that those two may have had, and they allowed her to. I remember specifically that night I had grabbed the remaining bread from the pantry and used it to make a sandwich with a single slice of ham, not knowing how to even begin using the other ingredients to make myself a substantial meal.

After that, my parents would begin to come home at a much earlier time than normal and would task me during the day to take care of the baby. I had to feed her and teach myself how to change her diapers as my parents were always too busy or in a rush to sit down and teach me. I was burdened with a responsibility that I had never asked for and I was taken for granted, my freedom to go outside stripped from me. Often I would think to myself why I was even doing these things for it. I was sustaining its life throughout the day because that is what my parents wanted me to spend my time doing. So, I played it off, in the beginning, as a way to tell myself that this was something I deserved.

This thing would stare up at me, and I would often not know what to do with it. Caroline, she was being hugged, kissed, fed, made to laugh, and I was given a hand on the shoulder, a reassuring smile, and made to starve. One day I sat in front of her, feeding her. I began thinking of all that she was gifted, and I was envious. I shoved the bottle into her face, and she began to cry. Instantly, my parents rushed over, and my father smacked me on the back of the head, causing me to lose my balance for a brief moment. As I fled, a thought began to solidify within my head. Caroline, she was indeed only a baby, a fragile and defenseless creature. My mother would always tell me to be careful, but what if I chose not to be? What would happen if I no longer treated her as expensive china, but as something that has shown me how much I was truly worth? Caroline tortured me. She proved my weakness, my lack of freedom, and lack of love. I would not allow Caroline to bind me to this fate.

On her last night, I would sneak into her crib and wrap the blanket around her head. In the morning, my parents cried and embraced me as they wished not to lose another child.

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