I shivered against the chill in the air, and recalled how the news talked about the Midwest being dumped on by snow. I huffed and settled a new grey blanket around my shoulders. “Here I thought Cali was cold in winter. Damn.” I settled on the sunken old could and tried to go to sleep, despite the chill all around.
I didn’t realize I had passed out until I woke up. I laid there, sprawled out across the couch and frigid as hell because I had tossed my blanket as I slept. I was trying to get the blanket secured in place when a wail filled the run down house. I cocked my head to one side and my long, grey pony tail slipped over my shoulder. The wail sounded again and yup, that was for sure a baby. What the hell?
I stood from the couch and the fierce ache in my knee panged from the cold and uncomfortable piece of furniture. It was better than the stoop I had been on for the last few months though. I limped through the dusty room towards the wails, which were growing louder and more desperate. A frown weighed on my brow as another cry filled the stillness of this otherwise quiet house. The last thing I needed was to be caught with a baby and charged for kidnapping.
The first room right inside of the front door was where I found him. Or her, I wasn’t going to look. I paused over the basket and frowned down at it. “What the…” With a groan I knelt and lightly ran my scarred fingers over the woven leaves and vines that made up the basket. It was beautiful. The baby stirred again and a cry bounced off the walls and inside of my skull.
“Hey now, Bub,” I said softly as I reached in to move the furry blanket. My fingers stilled on the fabric. It wasn’t furry…it WAS fur. A plush white with black spots like a snow leopard. I moved it and looked down at the dark haired baby who was squirming in place.
Tiny fists were clenched as they moved around. His face was scrunched up in a frown as he grunted and nuzzled the side of the basket. I gently brushed long brown hair from his eyes. I jumped when his eyes snapped open and focused on me. The baby froze as he stared up with gold colored eyes. Not honey brown or anything, gold. Like gold gold. Who the hell would put contacts on an infant? He stared at me and I couldn’t bring myself to turn away until he did, but I remained rooted in place as his tiny fist tightened around my thumb.
Something coursed through me. It was hot and fiery and for a moment I thought I would burn; then it was gone. In its place I felt an overwhelming need to protect this small baby. I scooped him up and his hair moved enough that one of his ears poked through and I froze again. “Do you know your ears are pointed, Bub?” I asked softly as I cradled him close to my chest. The dark hoodie I wore was clean at least, I had just gotten it. Thank Whatever for the shelter across town. He nuzzled closer and reached over to grasp at my pony tail.
I looked around the cold, dark room. I had been alone for the majority of my sixty some years, but I had him now. As he nuzzled against my shoulder I realized I needed supplies. I couldn’t very well walk into a store with a golden eyed, pointy eared baby though. An old man and a newborn would raise some suspicion just like that, not to mention his otherworldly features. I pushed myself to my feet as I wrapped his fur blanket over him. As I headed for my backpack in the other room, a thought trickled into my mind and I held the baby tighter and whispered into his hair.
“You’re safe now, my prince. I have you.”
I might possibly turn this into a book somewhere down the line. I have an elemental elves fantasy to work on first though.