Witness – Short Story part 2
I quickly retreated from the lifeless lump in the crib, and hopped over the rail and back to the floor. I darted out of the room and into the dark hallway. I had to let the Bigs know. “Meow! Meow! Meow!” I turned in circles, letting out my loud call. I could hear it echoing and bouncing off the walls of the hallway and filling the quiet house. “MEOW! MEOW!” The rustling of the sheets coming from the Bigs room. The light under the doorway flicking on.
“That god damn cat…” a groggy voice said from behind the door.
“MEOW! MEOW! MEOW!”
“Well, what does he want?”
“How the Hell would I know?”
“Jesus Christ! Okay, Spencer, I’m coming!”
“We should’ve gotten a dog…”
thump thump thump The slow heavy footsteps got closer to the door, until finally it opened and a disheveled Big stood in front of me. I looked up at her, turning in circles and continuing my obnoxious song. I wanted her to follow me. She had to see what that rotten Little did to the Emma.
She took a step forward, rubbing her eyes “Spencer! Stop it! I swear if you wake the baby, I’m putting you outside..,” she hissed at me. I continued walking down the hall, and she started towards me. I stopped in front of Emma’s room until she was just about to reach me.
“Spencer,” she whispered “Please don’t go in there. No! Come on-“
I ignored her, and pushed the door open, running into the room and stopping at the crib. I looked back to be sure she was following me. The Big stood in the doorway, eyes alert now, and pleading with me to be quiet. “Spencer! Come here, baby! Don’t jump into that-“
I hopped up and swiftly landed into the crib. I could hear as she came bounding across the room, reaching in and grabbing me. It was clumsy and quick, my legs going everywhere. I hissed and instinctively bit her until she whispered “Ow!” and released me. I hit the ground with a thud and ran to the door and stopped. I turned and watched as the Big looked at her hand, checking for blood from my bite. Not finding any, she rested her hands on the rail of the crib and leaned down. She appeared to be relieved, thinking Emma hadn’t been woken. I saw her body relax, and she leaned forward grabbing the edge of the blanket and pulling it higher to Emma’s chest.
Suddenly, I saw her body tense up and I could hear her heart skip a beat. She rested her hand on Emma’s tiny chest, and immediately knew something was wrong. I saw her body move as she began to gently shake Emma, trying to wake her.
“Emma?” I could smell the sweat, and fear as her voice got louder.
“Emma? Emma, wake up!” She reached both hands into the crib and picked up Emma. I sat in the doorway, ears flat, and hair raised as the Little’s head rolled back and arms and legs dangled limp in the now screaming Big’s hands. “EMMA?! OH MY GOD! EMMA!” her trembling voice pierced the night, and I heard the loud footsteps of the other Big come running into the room.
“Dawn? What the Hell-” he paused as he entered the room, absorbing the scene. I saw as reality swept over his face, and then fear. In one movement, he was across the room, now cradling Emma in his own arms trying to nudge her awake.
“Emma, sweetie, come on. Wake up, baby. Wake up for, Daddy,” he had her pressed against his chest and patting her back. I’d seen him do this many times, usually after she had eaten. The Bigs were both crying now, and one ran out of the room and grabbed a phone. She was yelling into it “MY BABY ISN’T BREATHING! PLEASE! HURRY!”
The rest of the night was filled with more crying, and screaming. Strangers showed up and filled Emma’s room. I was kicked out and left in the hallway. I don’t know what happened in there, but the Big let out a loud scream that sent shivers through my body and I ran and hid under the Big’s bed. I heard a lot more footsteps, some quiet talking, and muffled cries. Then I heard a squeak as a door opened. Michael.
I came out from under the bed and crept to the doorway. I saw as he poked his head out of his room. There were still people coming and going and he was watching with curious eyes. His eyes landed on me down the hall and we stared at each other for several moments. His eyes narrowed, and I could feel him boiling under the surface with hatred and rottenness. They had to know it was him! “MEOW!” I let out my loud call, and Michael’s eyes got big as if he knew I was trying to tell on him. “MEOW! MEOW!”
“That god damn cat again!” and a Big came out of Emma’s room with fists clenched. He noticed Michael first though, and immediately the anger washed from his face and was replaced with grief like I had never seen. He dropped to his knees, pulling Michael into him, and began sobbing. I could still see Michael’s face over the Big’s shoulders and we met eyes again.
“Michael, buddy, Michael….it’s….it’s all going to be okay. Okay, buddy? We love you so much. I’m so sorry-” the Big was spitting out words between sobs, his whole body shaking as he squeezed onto the Little. Michael stared back at me blankly, mouth agape, caught completely off guard by the Big’s raw emotions. Like a flash of lightening, I saw as the thought hit him and he realized he’d gotten away with killing Emma. His eyes crinkled as his face broke into a smile, and he threw his arms around the Big, who was now uncontrollably crying.
Just then the other Big and a man dressed in all black came walking out of Emma’s room. She looked down and saw Michael and fell right alongside the other Big on her knees, throwing her arms around both of them and burying her head into his neck. The two Big’s cries and muffled apologies to Michael as they tried to explain to him that his little sister had died in her sleep, was enough to break any heart. Michael never said a word through his parent’s tearful explanation. Not until he finally interrupted them, leaning back and asking “What’s SIDS?”