Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Birth (infancy) (08/20/09)
- TITLE: The Least of These
By Ada Nett
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She quickly wrapped the two tiny premature babies in paper towels, no not babies she told herself, they were fetus’. She’d learned that in her tenth grade biology class this year. They were not human beings, not until they were full-term and born. She stuffed the bundle in her backpack and quickly cleaned the floor of the bathroom stall where she had just delivered the two tiny infants.
She was surprised when she’d birthed the second one and for awhile was afraid there might be more. She waited in the stall and finally decided two were it. She took care of herself just like she’d heard the other girls discuss how to do it . Soon she was ready to leave. Thank goodness they came so early , no one but her best friend knew she was pregnant. She dropped the bundle of paper towels in the school dumpster on the way to her next class. As she walked away she took out her cell phone and texted her best friend.
Marshall watched as the last truck backed up to the mountain of garbage. The driver raised the bed and the truck birthed a load of waste .Slowly the truck bed leveled back down and the driver pulled away. Marshall turned off the bulldozer engine and climbed down from the cab. He walked along the edge of the recently dumped garbage.
”Mewww” He stopped and strained his ears. A soft sound was coming from inside the newly dumped trash. Marshall shook his head in disgust.. Why couldn’t folks take their unwanted pets to the animal shelter. He considered not looking for this one. It was almost time to go home and the bitter wind was slicing through his heavy work jacket. He took two steps back toward his dozer. Then he heard it again. “Aw shucks” he muttered. “ I can’t just leave it.”
Marshall retrieved a rake from the back-end of the dozer . “Mew,” he heard it again. He waded through the sea of trash and began to gently rake through the garbage. He would find the kitten, drop it off at the animal shelter and soon be at home with his wife Emma . The thought of Emma made Marshall’s heart warm. She was his only earthly treasure. His greatest sorrow was that they never had a child. Years ago, the clinic Dr. had given Emma the news. “I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but you are physically unable to conceive.” “I would advise looking into adoption if you want to have a child.” Emma went home and went to bed and cried for days. Marshall didn’t go to bed but he cried for days too.
Marshall and Emma began the long process of adoption. It soon ended in futility. Marshall didn’t make enough money as an employee of the county landfill to afford the adoption fee. Emma took it a little better this time. She squared her shoulders and marched down to the local hospital. There, she went right to work as a volunteer in the nursery. Emma spent years loving other people’s babies. Marshall took a different route. He treated his pain by rescuing the unwanted animals that strayed across his path. Most of them, he found here in the city dump.
Marshall laid his rake aside, stooped and looked into the garbage. The sound was louder now and coming from inside a wet dirty bundle of paper. He picked up the paper and gently unwrapped it. For a moment Marshall couldn’t comprehend what he was holding in his hands. He stared speechless at what he had found. There were two of them, tiny wet and blue, barely moving and sounding a pitiful mewing cry. Stunned, Marshall finally realized what he was seeing. With tears streaming down his face he placed the two tiny infants inside the warmth of his jacket. He took out his cell phone and dialed 911.Inside the warmth of Marshall’s jacket, the two little lives left this unkind world just the same way they had entered…together.
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