Today I’m welcoming my friend James Crawford back, this time with an excerpt from his young audience novel, Caleo.
By james crawford
As she saw the marking in her head, she snapped out of the memory and ran down the hall to reassure herself that the mark was still there. Although she had seen it so many times before, she had to see it again to be sure that this was her baby. Sure enough, there it was in the same place it had always been.
She sat down in the corner facing the crib and pulled her knees to her chest as she thought about all that had happened since Jeff arrived home. The fights, the test, and how the baby’s blood type didn’t match his. Then it hit her, the baby didn’t have the same features as her either. Not even her brown eyes matched the baby’s pale blue eyes. Suddenly, a thought occurred to her and she got up, running to the closet. She started to toss out some items.
“It’s about time you started to pack,” Jeff sneered, pushing past her to the kitchen.
Rachel let out a stream of curses, which woke up the baby, who then began to cry. She ignored him and continued to look through the closet, throwing out coats and boxes. She allowed them to smash against the wall to help soothe her frustration.
After a few minutes, Jeff kicked his way through the pile of junk. “You better shut your child up before I do.”
Rachel flipped him her middle finger and continued her search. She opened a box and removed the wallet she was looking for, flipping through it roughly.
“Yes!” Rachel pulled a card out and read it: Blood Bank Donor Identification Card.
She glanced over her name, birth date, and other information until she found her blood type.
“AB negative?” She stared at the card in disbelief. “How can this be? It must have been a mistake.”
Her thoughts were interrupted by the abrupt silence that now loomed in the air. A slight shiver ran up her spine and she jumped to her feet. She made a mad dash for the baby’s room. The temperature seemed to drop the closer she got. As she rounded the doorway, she saw Jeff standing in front of the crib with a throw pillow from the couch in his hand.
“What are you doing? Get away from him! You said it yourself; he’s not yours!” Rachel screamed, her breath now visible in the cold room.
Jeff turned and smiled harshly. “Don’t worry, Rachel. I’m just taking care of this problem.”
This time his smile didn’t make Rachel feel any better. She rushed at Jeff and pushed him out of the way. Jeff shoved Rachel back, causing her to stumble backward and hit her back on the dresser. She fell to the floor, taking a lamp that rested on top of the dresser with her.
When she got to her feet, Jeff was holding the pillow over the baby’s face and wasn’t paying attention to her. She picked up the lamp and charged him again. He saw her out of the corner of his eye and lifted the pillow to block the blow at the last second. Before either of them could connect, a white flash filled the room.
A tall man in a tan county sheriff’s deputy uniform stood in the driveway of a small house. “So do you think this was a prank call?”
“I don’t know, Joe. The neighbor said she heard yelling, followed by a scream,” replied the Sheriff.
“We should at least go and check it out,” said another man wearing a tan, deputy uniform.
The Sheriff looked at his deputy in distaste. “Really, Bob? I never thought of that.”
The three of them walked up to the door and knocked. A pile of fine, white dust fell off the door and landed on the porch.
The sheriff pulled his hand away from the door and rubbed his knuckles. “Man, that’s cold.”
Joe reached out and ran a finger down the door. The white paint seemed to melt, leaving a trail down the door where his finger touched. “Frost?”
Bob followed suit and each ran a finger down the door. Both yielded the same results. They all looked at each other silently, seemingly thinking the same thing. How can there be frost? It’s almost 80 degrees out here!
The sheriff knocked again, this time yelling, “It’s the sheriff, open up!”
The only answer was the cry of a baby in the distance.
A worried expression crept into the Sheriff’s expression. “Okay you guys, go around the side and see what you can find.”
The two deputies drew their guns and proceeded around the house in different directions.
As Joe walked around the right side of the house, he could hear that the crying was getting louder. He looked up and saw a window that appeared to be painted white. He took his flashlight and knocked on the window. When there was no answer, he pressed his hand against it. His suspicions were proven right. The ‘paint’ seemed to melt off the window just like it had from the door. He peered through the small hole in the frosted window and was stunned when he saw the frozen world within.
A woman holding a lamp in mid-swing and a man holding a pillow up to block it were both frozen in place like wax figures, poised like a scene from a horror film. The only movement in the room came from the crib, as the baby continued to scream madly.