Red Writing Hood: The Countdown

Agnes looked at the child in her arms, counting every finger and marveling at the tiny pink lips. She used her feet to slide the glider back and forth. She tucked the hospital-issue blanket under the baby’s chin and made a mental promise to bring the small thing a blanket from home.

David put a hand on his wife’s shoulder and gazed down at the scrunched up face of his new daughter. He looked at the monitor and wished he knew what it all was for. She was tiny, yes, but she looked to be just as healthy as any new baby. He looked at the baby again. She was so tiny.

An alarm sounded from another crib. Agnes cringed and held her daughter close to her chest to block out the sound. She looked at the sleeping baby, who hadn’t flinched at the sound, and she wished for more light. This room was kept so dark. So dark, and so quiet.

The nurse tapped David on the shoulder. He tried to ignore her. They only needed a few more moments with the little girl. They weren’t ready to put her back in the plexiglas crib with the bilirubin lights. He didn’t want to have to put the patch of cloth over her eyes. Protection, yes. But he worried, what if she woke up and was confused about the darkness?

The nurse took the baby from Agnes and placed her back in the crib. She switched on the bilirubin lights and looked back at the new parents. She wanted to apologize, but they knew the rules. No more than half an hour. They could hold the baby again later.

Happy New Year!
Agnes reached into the plexiglas crib and placed her hand gently on the baby’s soft scalp. David reached in and placed his hand on the baby’s legs. She squirmed beneath her parent’s touch. In the background, they could hear a few nurses in the hallway wishing each other blessings in the new year. David put his free hand around his wife and held his family as close as he was allowed. Agnes looked up at him with tears in her eyes.

“Let’s name her, Matilda.”


This week’s Red Writing Hood prompt from Write on Edge: This week, we’d like you to write a post – fiction or creative non-fiction – which begins with a countdown. “Three, two, one.” You pick what the countdown is for. The ideas above are just suggestions. Use your imagination and have fun with it! / 300 word limit

For more on Finding Agnes, visit my Fiction page.

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