Part 37 - Baby goes Missing

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A BATTERED PICKUP truck pulled up at the gates to the military hospital, "Sawasdii madam. Are you visiting somebody or having treatment?" asked the soldier.

"I'm visiting a friend," said the driver.

"Okay, can I have your ID card? Pick it up when you leave."

"I have a Burmese card, is that okay? My friend is married to one of your infantrymen, I want to see the new baby."

"Go on."

Hla followed the signs and parked outside the maternity block. Military hospitals are natural experts in gunshot injuries, bomb blast wounds, and training accidents. Many people don't realise that military doctors and nurses also deal with expecting mothers. The fathers come home on leave; they try to make up for lost time, hence these hospitals deal with many family issues. Pranburi Military Hospital is no different. The maternity ward is bristling with action.

Hla slipped on a green gown, and a mask pulled from her shoulder bag. Hla walked at a reasonable pace to the spotless room where newborn babies are cleaned, weighed and have all their vitals recorded before presenting them to shattered but beaming new mums.

She walked past the glass show window, noting where and how many nurses were working.

The girl saw that two young nurses were busy in the room; she turned, and returned, then entered the room.

"Is this the little girl who was born this morning?" asked Hla.

"No, that one, next to her," she flipped her hand. "Why? And who are you?" said the older of the two.

The younger nurse wandered over to join her colleague.

"Please pass me that blanket," said Hla.

As the younger nurse bent to pull the blanket from its shelf, a flash of light caught her eye as the blade slashed her colleague's throat. Before the girl could scream, she also slumped, dying to the floor. She kicked both nurses towards the window where their bodies could not be seen from the corridor.

Hla calmly wrapped the baby in the clean blanket, cuddled her, and walked from the room.

Orderlies were rushing a wheelchair with its moaning patient in the opposite direction.

"Get the emergency room ready now," one called.

Nurses dashed from their tasks to aid the stricken patient.

Hla smiled at her good luck. She had longer than expected to make her escape.

Carefully she places the baby behind her seat, stripped off the gown and mask unhurriedly, she then retrieved her Burmese ID card and drove away grinning.

Skylab and Kev were happy to be home in Hua Hin. The rain had stopped, and the floodwater was draining to the sea.

"Dam will be back soon. The doctors want to check on his stitches first, then he will try to start his 'best' truck," said Skylab.

Kev was sheepish, "Will we have to pay for the repairs to that one?"

"No, it's fully insured, but the old one will have to be scrapped."

"Well, he couldn't drive both home," Kev smiled.

"No, but Noi, could have driven one of them. We should buy him a second-hand works vehicle," hinted Skylab.

"Yes, I was only joking, we'll ask him later," said Kev.

"I'll get the coffee on, here comes Gatts."

"Welcome home, what did the doc say?" asked Kev.

"I'm fine, nothing to worry about, but being tied up is no fun when you are my size," they both chuckled.

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