Writer’s Carnival Sideshow Challenge : 500 words max. Write an entire scene looking into a window of some kind. It should mostly be internal thought, possibly discussion if there are two people watching through the same window. My story came in at 433 words. It was inspired by my son becoming a father for the first time.
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The corridors were deserted but the murmur of conversation hummed behind each closed door I passed. The air was a comfortable twenty one degrees and the faint odour of disinfectant felt reassuring.The chorus of muffled cries coming from the room up ahead tightened my gut. It’s okay. It won’t be her. But, somehow, I knew it was. The wall on my left changed from pristine white plaster to polished glass, and I stopped to look inside the room. Two rows of Perspex cradles ranged across the width of the nursery, the ‘family’ name of each infant placed prominently on each crib, as though perhaps they were ‘babies for sale’. I’ll have the third one on the left. She looks cute. My gaze swept swiftly across the bundles of blue and pink swaddled infants as, unerringly, I found her flushed pink face. She was crying. The pink ‘O’ of her mouth quivered, and my heart felt like a rock inside my chest.The bustling nursery staff looked efficiently busy, moving slightly faster than ‘usual’ in that exaggerated silent movie way – my mind added the soundtrack of rustling starched skirts and the squeaks of their shoes on the shiny waxed floor. None of them were attending to my little girl, and, unreasonably, I felt resentment. Thirty babies, someone had to be left to cry, right? But why my little princess? I swung around into a faster walk, made my way to the main door, and pressed the entrance buzzer. Smiling and waving on the outside, heat boiled on the inside. Honey gets you more than vinegar, my mama said, and as always, she was right. The harsh buzz almost drowned out the click of the magnet releasing, and I pushed through the door. A quick squirt of antibacterial from the wall dispenser, under matron’s pretended casual eye, and I was allowed into the inner sanctum.”Hello, Mr Holt.””Hi.” I hung onto the smile as I moved along the row of cribs. “Hey there , pickle.” I looked into the puffiness of the tiny pink face and my stomach flopped over. Slipping one hand under her bottom and one under her head, I lifted her up. “It’s Daddy. It’s okay, I’m here to save you, Princess.” A flash of sapphire blue heralded a sunrise in my soul as the quivering of her pink lips hesitated and the tension drained from her face. The whimper faded to silence. I cradled her beanbag soft body to my chest, switching to a ‘hey, I’m a dad who knows what he’s doing’ one armed embrace, and the nurses smiled.