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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Hmph! (03/04/10)

TITLE: A Cold World
By Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom


She stretched and rubbed her eyes. She’d been squished for an eternity. Everything seemed strange, different, and cold. She blinked her eyes; she couldn’t seem to get the gunk out of them. Gradually she realized she was no longer alone. She heard the word Wrigley, it comforted her.

She had the epiphany that Wrigley was her name. Wrigley thought for a minute and decided at it fit her perfectly. Her vision was starting to clear up, but as her eyes focused it seemed her mind became foggy.

Just a few short moments ago, she had been floating around in warm fluid. Her mind was sharp. Wrigley didn’t doubt anything then. She knew all of the answers. Now it seemed like the whole world was just one big question. Why was her mind getting all fuzzy? She ached to travel back to when she could easily chat with God.

Sure it was wet and smelly, but it was there she knew what life was about. Now uncertainty gripped at her heart. Wrigley longed to travel back a week into the past. Back to a time when she was not too cold, back to a place where swaying was comforting. She wanted to hear the humph-thump, humph-thump, humph-thump that had echoed in her ears for the last several months.

She strained to lift her neck, to get a glance of this new world she had entered. The lights were so bright. ”My goodness, that person had huge hands. How does she manage to hold onto anything with fingers that big?” wondered Wrigley as she looked at her own petite hands. “Hey what happened to my snuggly? I loved that squishy rope; it was my connection to Utopia. I loved hearing the humph-thump while simultaneously feeling the humph-thump pulsate through my fingers. Why would anyone dispose of my priceless snuggly?”

She felt the giant hands scrubbing her face, “Phew that feels better without that gunk sticking to me.” The hands wrapped her up in a scratchy blanket. “Ah, the good old days when I didn’t need this horrid blanket to keep me warm. There has to be a way to get back.” Wrigley vowed to work on a way back to the comforts of her former world, back to her wonderful humph-thump sound, but right now she was too tired to contemplate an exodus. For now she’d be content with the abrasive blanket, her fist in her mouth, and some well- needed sleep.

Wrigley was rudely jostled awake. Her heart soared as she heard the wonderful sound she had been longing for: Humph! But wait, something was wrong; she only heard humph, it wasn’t complete without the thump. What was going on? As she struggled to open her eyes she noticed those giant hands again. There were two strangers looking down at her. Then she heard it again, “Humph,” followed by, “Isn’t that the ugliest baby?”

The second lady chuckled in agreement,”That one has a face only a mother could love. I’ve worked in the nursery for 20 years, and almost every baby looked like it could be related to ET. Humph, look at that thatch of red hair!”

“Her momma just came up from the operating room and is anxious to get a look at her. Humph, think she’ll think she’s unsightly?”

“No way, she’ll coo and fuss and tell her she’s the prettiest baby in the world. There’s hope for her though, my grandma used to say ‘Ugly at the cradle, pretty at the table.’ Well come on Wrigley- Wrigley, did you ever hear of such a name? This one is going to be teased for sure; let’s go meet your mother.”

Wrigley was wide awake. She started screaming at the top of her lungs. What on earth had she gotten herself into? She’d have to find a way back to her delightful warm pool with the nice humph-thump. She didn’t like this place at all. Nobody was familiar, and she hated that horrible humph sound they made.

Once again the giant hands lifted her up. They roughly plopped her down in the softest arms ever. Wrigley instantly quieted, this seemed familiar, nice. Mommy held her close and started to feed her. Wrigley instinctively started suckling. This tasted delightful. Maybe this world wouldn’t be too bad after all. Then as she snuggled closer against Mommy’s chest, she heard it. It was beautiful: Humph-thump, Humph-thump

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This article has been read 784 times
Member Comments
Member Date
AnneRene' Capp03/13/10
Clever idea, seeing the birthing process through the eyes of the newborn. So many places you could go with this. Also, like the name Wrigley. Very original!

Would like to have seen the newborn with more of a positive attitude, though, since birth's are such a joyous occasion and perhaps the nurses finding the cuter aspects of Wrigley :)
Jackie Wilson03/13/10
So interesting, the things the infant noticed and commented on. Very creative, especially your use of the humph-thump!
Joan Campbell03/15/10
Very beautiful writing, my friend! Such a creative POV, and the peaceful ending tying it all together. Really lovely to read!
Gregory Kane03/15/10
I'm glad to see the creative juices flowing. This was a nice piece.
Technically speaking, I felt that in a couple of places you had attributions that interrupted the flow of your monologues. For example "wondered Wrigley as she looked at her own petite hands" I would have dumped the attribution.
But, hey, you're getting there. Don't let anything or anyone discourage you!
Rachel Rudd 03/15/10
A totally different angle on the hmph topic. Nice! :) I liked this sweet portrayal of a baby's entry into the world.
william price03/15/10
Ha! Very good. Loved the POV. Loved the line about ugly at the cradle pretty at the tale. Enjoyed the story. Had an authentic feel to it. God bless.
Ruth Stromquist03/15/10
This story deeply moved me. I think you handled the baby's POV very well -- and that you gave us a glimpse of the possibility of that God-awareness in the womb that COULD be true, and how cold and cruel the world might seem to a baby on first exposure. It seems likely the womb WOULD seem a much safer, warm, and secure place to a baby than out in our world -- probably why they cry a lot? :-) I literally said, "Ahhh . . . " at the end, (the baby so adorable, finally getting to cuddle in its Mom's arms and hear the comforting heartbeat again.)
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/16/10
I enjoyed very much the view from the newborn, especially the connection with God.
Sarah Elisabeth 03/16/10
Awww, what a delightfully written piece! I kept anticipating the moment when Wrigley would hear the beat of her mother's heart again. So sweet, good job with the tone and voice of this!
Barbara Lynn Culler03/18/10
You know who I thot of when you mentioned the name Wrigley?

Years ago, for a creative writing class, I did a piece very very similar to this, and it was a traumatic experience for the baby.

Makes one wonder how soon a child believes that she is ugly and unlovable.
Lyn Churchyard03/18/10
Very different POV. I'm sure babies know more than we give them credit for. Wrigley vowed to work on a way back to the comforts of her former world,. Sometimes I can relate to that. Enjoyable read, well done.
Lisa Walker Thomas03/23/10
Exceptional style...a breath of fresh air..
Amy Michelle Wiley 04/09/11
Awww, cute story. I like the idea of them having clear minds in the womb.