Thursday, August 10, 2017. Daily Brit Wit.
A four-wheeled carriage for a baby, pushed by a person on foot.
*Welcome to my new series! (1/9)
“He ends up on the wrong side of town accidentally. He’s ever-so-slightly sloshed and that’s what he’s blaming on getting out-of-sorts. One minute he’s walking the block beyond the pub, roughly seven minutes from home, and the next he’s knocking into some sod and in the confusion and slight fear it’s a Gremlin looking to leach on some incapacitated wanker, let alone a drunk Warlock, he gets turned about down some alleyway. He’s too spooked, though, to contemplate righting his course so he keeps stumbling along.
He’s sober enough to cloak himself in magic, not to draw unnecessary and undue attention, but drunk enough to hold it for thirty to fifty seconds. Then the hiccups set in.
He probably shouldn’t have had that last pint. He definitely shouldn’t have gone alone. But there’s no use vexing over it now it’s over with. Plus, time-turning is a Class XXV offence, heavily governmentally monitored and punishable for immediate trial. (Last Witch tried for time-turn had been zapped and burned on sight: then again; she had evaded the authorities for three and a half weeks by turning back time….) He knows he can’t turn time drunk and doesn’t wanna risk it in public sober. He’s done it a few times back home, out in the country where he had been infinitely safer, well protected. He’s too caught up ruminating and saddled with hiccups to detect an infant’s wail.
In fact, he doesn’t notice the noise until he’s hip-checking a pram.
‘Ooof!’ He grunts, clutching clumsily at his injured side and then stumbles into a brick wall of whatever building he’s between. ‘Ouch, bleeding thing…’ are the only coherent and frankly non-curse-y words falling from his lips.
It’s about then he realises with a start there’s something– a living thing– nestled in ratty blankets inside the off-white carriage. At first, he thinks it’s a human baby. Hesitantly, he takes a swift glance around the alleyway because this behaviour is condemnable (both the abandoning of infants and creeping about unattended children…he thinks. His drink addled brain may be influencing his common knowledge.) and then edging toward the pram. Upon second inspection, he starts as he learns it’s not a human baby, which is a damned shame and minor blessing because Humans are depleting and ought to be revered, but a vampire infant!
He’s suddenly glaring. But the thing is shivering and wailing steadily. He’s surprised it’s not drawn attention. His heart breaks. How could any person leave such a sweet, innocent creature such as a baby alone? Even if one overlooked the upcoming war, he cannot fathom a parent or relative abandoning their kin. Perhaps his parents raised him differently. Whatever the case, he could get into loads of trouble, but he doesn’t stop to weigh the consequences.
He scoops the babe and nestles it in the crook of his arm with ease he was unaware he possessed. He sobers surprisingly quickly. The baby cries until it notes arms surrounding it and electric blue eyes pop open. And shudders before snuggling into the warmth.
The dirty blankets offer no indication of the child’s gender, but it’s no matter because he doesn’t think it would be a safe assumption. The moment he made the decision to lift the vampire infant out of the carriage, he chose to adopt him or her.
He doesn’t realise until he’s four steps inside his flat he’s been subconsciously invoking old warlock family magic to bond with the baby. He hardly pauses in the discovery. By morning when he’s calling in favours for official channels, he’ll be grateful if bewildered for the invocation; but now he’s concerned about bathing and feeding the scrawny newborn.
As he unwraps the blankets around the suddenly silent babe, who watches him intently with those piercing and bright orbs, he’s furious to discover no clothing covering ivory skin. The Warlock’s hand is gnarled and several shades browner in comparison as he works to free his new child.
‘A son, then,’ he breathes in surprise.
Carefully, tenderly, and dare he think it a bit lovingly, he cradles the lad in the bath and begins rinsing.”