Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Chapter Three of My Novel


Chapter Three

The utter silence that filled the one bedroom where everyone in the family slept was astounding to Shaddy. The noises she’d lived with for nine months and then the hustle and bustle of the hospital hadn’t prepared her for this. She sat up in her cradle and looked around the room. At first everything was black, but gradually she could make out the big bed where her parents were sleeping and the smaller bed where Tommy and Bobby were lying side by side.
*
Shaddy observed her brothers as well as she could in the darkness. Tommy was dark-haired and quite slender whereas Bobby was blonde and more filled out. This was the first time Shaddy saw them motionless. Since she came home that morning, her brothers had been on the go. They’d been good-natured and seemed satisfied with the events of their day. Shaddy wondered about them. How could they be so obedient and pleasant for no good reason?
*
Shaddy recalled how at the hospital, she had learned how to get around. She’d practiced crawling at night when the nurses' activities were limited. Her arms were strong from using them to hang from the side of her crib so she could get down to the floor. Shaddy knew she was doing things that no other infants could do. She roamed from crib to crib in the hospital ward, peeking at the other babies. It was amazing to her that they could just lie there for hours and hours, barely moving unless the nurse came to feed them or change their diapers. She hadn’t seen a single one of the four other newborns do so much as lift his head off the mattress.
*
Shaddy had heard talk among the nurses regarding her own particular abilities. “I’ve never seen a newborn do what Shaddy does,” Nurse Charlene had said.
*
“It’s a good thing her parents are as young as they are and that they have the experience of two older children already,” Nurse Nancy had responded.
*
“I’m going to make some extensive notes in Shaddy’s records so it’s documented that she is extremely advanced for her age,” Nurse Charlene had added. “She was hanging from the side of her crib when I made rounds the day she was born. The next day, I heard her counting her fingers and then her toes all the way to twenty without a pause! You should have seen the look she gave me when I slipped her socks on. As soon as I turned my back, she yanked them off and started counting again, this time by fives. You know, five, ten, fifteen, twenty and so on. I just shook my head and closed the door when she reached fifty.”
*
Home from the hospital and in her own bed, Shaddy stood up on her wobbly legs. She wanted to sleep with Tommy and Bobby in their bed. Without further thought, she climbed over the edge of her cradle, hung by her arms as far down as she could, and then dropped to the floor. She crawled toward the boys’ bed. This is a piece of cake, she thought to herself as she pulled herself up at the foot of their bed and slid between the still sleeping shapes. This makes more sense, she thought. That cradle is for babies, not for me.
*
After about five minutes of lying awake in the choicest spot on the bed, Shaddy realized she was hungry. “Where are the nurses who’ve been at my beck and call? Where are they when I really need them? “ she mumbled to herself. There wasn’t a single nurse or aide in sight; no one was roaming around with watchful eyes, taking care of things. “They must still be back at the hospital, looking after those useless newborns. I sure don’t miss them,” Shaddy whispered.
*
I guess I’m on my own, Shaddy thought and immediately squirmed off the bed, onto the floor and into the kitchen. She’d seen some animal crackers in a lower cupboard when her parents were fixing lunch the day before. Her eyes were getting used to the darkness and the light of the moon coming through the kitchen windows helped her see. When she opened the cupboard, there the box sat. Shaddy ate, or rather gummed, at least a dozen of the crackers. She didn’t like the look of the rhinoceroses so she stuffed them back in the box, shut the lid and slid it back on the shelf.
*
Now I’m thirsty, Shaddy thought. She spotted a baby bottle half full of water on the counter. She slid a low stool next to the counter and climbed up on it. By hanging onto the cabinet drawer pulls and the edge of the counter, she pulled herself up high enough so she could grab the nipple on the bottle. It slipped from her hand, rolled off the counter, onto the floor and then rolled some more. Rats, Shaddy thought. She scrambled after the runaway bottle.
*
Shaddy heard sheets rustling in the bedroom. “Ralph, did you hear that,” her mother asked.
*
“Huh? Hear what?” her father mumbled, still half asleep.
*
“I thought I heard a noise from the kitchen.”
*
Shaddy crawled behind the wastebasket with her bottle in hand just before her father came into the kitchen. He went from window to window, peering through the darkness.“I don’t see anything. I don’t know what you heard,” her father whispered.
*
“Come on back to bed. I guess I must be hearing things,” Mom sighed. Dad crawled under the sheet and pulled the blanket up to his neck. The cool night air had chilled him. “Let’s try to get some more sleep,” he said.
*
“Yes, let’s,” Mom agreed.
*
Shaddy quickly drank the half bottle of water, waited beside the wastebasket for about five minutes and then crawled back into bed, between her brothers. She burped quietly on account of her midnight snack and then gave in to sleep.

12 comments:

LENORENEVERMORE said...

Yes, some kids still do pick & choose those animal crackers... How sweet Shaddy!
xo

Shaddy said...

Lenore: Thank you for stopping in again to see what Baby Shaddy is up to. (I'm surprised she didn't bite the heads of the crackers off and throw the rest away!)

Natasha said...

Shaddy -- Are your parents still alive? How much fun this could be for them if they are!

It's certainly fun for us. Thanks for sharing it!

Shaddy said...

Natasha: No, they're not. I agree that they would have enjoyed my story. I appreciate your positive support and encouragement.

Walk said...

I'm still laughing at the ole pull-my-finger gag in last chapter. Good story, it must have been fun to write.

Shaddy said...

Walk: It was fun in many ways and yet difficult in others. Getting memories, ideas and thoughts into word form is always a challenge; of course, I enjoy everything about the writing process at least to some degree or I wouldn't do it.

I'm so happy that you're reading my novel chapters.

dayner said...

I loved the pull my finger one too.
It's amazing little Shaddy was even conceived considering it's a one bedroom. Of course--leave it to me to comment on that, but I am the neighborhood romance writer. :)

darksculptures said...

I think we all agree that reading your story is so much fun. When my children were growing up, I often wondered just how many things that happened were "coincidence" and how much was "planned" on their behalf. Thank you for bringing those memories to the surface.

Shaddy said...

dayner: Every neighborhood should have at least one romance writer! Thanks so much for your support.

darksculptures: Thanks for following my story.

Gullible said...

I think I'll keep some Kryptonite on hand, just in case a grown-up Shaddy comes to visit. And, I'm still trying to rid my brain of chili and peanut butter together.

Shaddy said...

Gully: Lon and I eat peanut butter on wheat bread almost daily with our main meal. You're not the only one who thought chili and peanut butter together was incomprehensible. Okay, we have strange eating habits. Whatever. It works for us. We're healthy as horses and I suspect our eating habits contribute to our hardiness.

A dish of Kryptonite wouldn't phase me, I reckon.

So go out and have a good day in spite of it all.

Lia said...

Wow Shaddy what a lovely story.
You really weave a story and reel us all in.
Can't wait to see what Baby Shaddy gets up to next.
Really looking forward to the next chapter.
Much love,
Lia xx