Baby Food

rating: +10

10 votes (+10, -0) 5★

rating: +10+x

My little girl lies in the crib, there, in the corner of the bedroom.

She reaches for her bright pink blanket, covered in animal iconography and the letter “B”, and pulls herself to it, never opening her eyes. She drools over the material, making soft cooing noises as she begins to put it into her mouth and tries to chew on it.

She winces. Her legs kick in place. She looks afraid.

I walk over and I gently, carefully, cautiously lift her up and into my arms. I rock her side to side as she leans her head against my chest.

She is still upset. Something is bothering her. I set her down into the crib, looking for something for her to play with once she wakes up. I turn to grab something from the small box, filled with plastic toys and cotton animals.

Despite all the choices- or rather, because of all the choices, I can’t seem to choose. I sigh, and grab a pink penguin plushie. I hear my baby roll in her bed, and her cooing suddenly stops. Dead silence.

I turn sharply. She is not in her crib.

She is not on the floor.

She is not on the bed.

I search. I search. I search, upturning everything, shifting everything around. My heart rate quickens dramatically. My breathing starts to turn to hyperventilation. She is not here. She is not here.

My hands start to shake. My lower lip begins to quiver. Tears. She can’t be gone. She can’t be not here. She can’t be gone. No.

I fall to my knees. I look under everything. I try to get back up but I can’t. I can’t. She can’t be gone. Please. Please.

I ball my hands and bring them up to my face. Water flowing down them. Please, please, please.

I scream.

A girl in an oversized coat was wandering through the dilapidated halls. “I know where I’m going, Chris.”

Despite the fact she wasn’t looking at the boy following her, she could practically sense him shrugging. It’s his go-to gesture. “I know you know, Emma. I didn’t say anything.”

Emma stopped, turned around, and glared at him. “I felt your judgy eyes.”

Chris’ face remained basically emotionless beyond a dumb half-smile. “Whatever you say.”

Emma turned back to the halls and continued walking. “The trick is, Chris, to never assume you know. It’s when you recognize that you’re wandering that you get to where you want to be-”

“And we want to be back to Outpost Kochni.”

“Yeah. I know. I mean- I mean I don’t know. Yeah. Vagrant mindset, Chris.”

Chris scoffed. Or maybe not. Scoffing would probably be the greatest show of emotion Chris would display to-


Emma looked at Chris. He was looking down a different hall, his face was aghast. Horrified.

Emma had never seen Chris look so disturbed before. Not in a very long time.

“Chr- Chris? What is…” She looked down the hall, carefully peeking her head around the corner.

It was a baby.

“Oh God. Oh God. Oh God.” Chris was talking to himself, mumbling the same two words over and over as he walked over to the child. The baby was asleep, holding a bright pink blanket.

Emma could barely speak. “I- I- I didn’t… how…”

Chris didn’t respond to her as he scooped up the little girl.

“Maybe her mom… or- or her dad is nearby..?”

Chris shook his head, didn't say a word.

“I… you…” Emma bit her lip. Her foot started to tap the ground. She was scared.

“What do we… do? What can we do?”

“We need to get to Kochni. Now.”

Emma started to speak, but stopped, her words fading with her breath. She simply nodded.

They begin to head down the halls. The baby began to scream.

Jehak was a strange man. His eyes were not set right, his hands had a weird look to them. But he was a friendly figure, like his saintly namesake. The UNCB would never fall if they had a few more men like him running the food stores. Or so Emma liked to say.


Jek laughed. “Emma! It’s good to hear your-” He stopped talking as he turned to face her. Emma. Chris. And something small, swaddled in pink cloth.

“Oh. Oh no, no, no…”

Chris stepped forward. “We need food. Baby food.”

“Shit. I mean- damn. Fuck. Shit. Uh, yeah, yeah, lemme- lemme see… Where did…” He rummaged through the shelves.

Emma started to tap her feet again. “She was just… on the floor. In the halls. We don’t know where she came from. Th-” She swallowed. “There was no one with her.” She had cried on the way over.

Jehak’s wild persona faded quickly as the implications of the child began to form in his mind. “I got…Amartía fruit?”

Chris furrowed his brow. “Jehak.”

“Alcoholic, right, right, right, I-” He turned to look at the baby again. “A baby. Christ, holy and dear, how does that…”

He got out a small plastic cup of apple sauce from the extensive row of containers behind him. “It’s from Boundless Retail. The Guild was basically giving them away since… uh. Nevermind.”

Emma grabbed it from Jehak and turned to the baby. “Erm. Do you have…”

Jehak stopped, stared, and his eyes widened. “Right! Right, I got a spoon, I got plenty. I’ll go-” He ran off to the bowls of plasticware across the counter.

Emma opened up the small container and scooped up sauce onto her finger. She cooed at the baby as she slowly brought her finger to her mouth. The child, giggling, grabbed Emma’s hand.

Chris smiled once more. “She likes it.”

“Her name’s Bea.”

Chris raised an eyebrow. “Where’d you get that?”

Emma shrugged. “I dunno. B’s on her blanket. Just a guess.”

Chris shrugged as well. “I like it. Bea.”

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