It was nearly over, but I wanted to watch anyway. I was locked out. My father said that it wasn't good for me to watch my mother give birth, but It was natural for a five year old to be curious.
I couldn't see much through the tiny keyhole. But I could hear everything. Mother was screaming, words that I had never heard before, words not suitable for a small girl.
Father ran for the doctor, taking such measures to keep me out that he escaped out the window. We waited for another hour, and sometime during that false eternity, Mother's cries abated, to be replaced by another's.
Father had not yet returned. He had missed the new baby entirely. Since the baby had begun to cry, I had not heard a single noise from my mother. I found this suspicious. Like I said, five year olds are curious. I knew that there was a key somewhere.
I remembered one of my searches of the house, and thought of Father's hiding places for everything. The little box on the fireplace was worn, the inlaid gold no longer sparkled. The glaze was chipping and the hinges were virtually nonexistent. I dashed over and flung the lid open. It broke free from the other part of the box, but I didn't care.
My tiny feet padded against the floor as I raced toward the bedroom where my mother and the baby were. The cries of the newborn were loud on my young ears as I fumbled win the great bronze key. I flung myself at the door. I could see the baby on top of my mother's stomach, now tiny from the absence of what I could then see was a sister.
Mother's chest heaved up and down. Then, with that she was still. The baby seemed to sense that something was wrong. She began to wail like a siren, flailing her little fists and writhing. I joined in, grieving for my mother. Then I realized I felt sorrier for my newborn sister than I did for myself. She would have to grow up without a mother or a… I paused in my thoughts. Father had been gone for entirely too long.
He had only gone to fetch the doctor who lived just about a mile or so down the road. I began to panic, and was about to rush out the door, when I remembered the baby, who was still squealing on the mattress. I looked out the door, then back at her. In the closet, I found a soft blue length of fabric, which I wrapped my sister in. Ignoring her cries, I dashed out the door, disregarding my shoes.
My small feet pounded the chalky earth and waves of caramel colored hair billowed out behind me, still not brushed from the night before. I sprinted nonstop to the only place I could think of at the moment. I burst through the door of the doctor’s shack.
“Hello, Madam,” he greeted me nonchalantly, as if he couldn’t tell that I was panicked.
I broke down further as I tried to explain my predicament. “My,” I choked, “Mother! She’s…” I howled. I couldn’t finish. The doctor regarded me with his eyebrows furrowed.
“Milady,” he asked, “Why do you have a baby?”
I howled. He was oblivious. He took the baby gingerly from my hands and examined her.
“Healthy,” he confirmed. “Where’s your father?”
“I thought he want to get you!”
He wrapped the baby up in her cloth again. “He never came.” He handed her back to me. I almost dropped her.
“Never?” This was a lot for a five year-old to handle.
“I’m sorry.” He seemed to notice my grief and bade me to go to my uncle. “He’ll know what to do. I shall go and fetch your mother.”
So, off we went. A child and a baby, all alone in the woods. I ran my fastest, but I wasn’t used to running with an extra seven pounds weighing me down. We reached the glistening castle gates, and I shoved past the protesting guards.
They ensnared my arm, nearly making me drop my sister. I stuck out my neck and showed them the crystal choker around my neck, which made them apologize profusely. The guard on the left, a burly fellow wearing the standard forest green coat released me. I rubbed my red, twisted arm against my hip and marched crankily inside.