A/N: Hello, all. This is my first story on story mash, and I'm a total noob when it comes to collab writing. I was confused on where to start, and stuff, but I finally got an idea going, so...mmm, yeah I guess you guys just take the three characters I wrote out (Arrianna the baby, Jackson the 4 year old, and Clyde the old guy) and work something out with that...? I'm sorry if I sound so ignorant. Well, for all of you experienced collab writers...take it away :)
I hope you like it, I tried my best.
“Well what do we have here?” In a pile of gunk and garbage lays a small basket with a gingham patterned blanket over it. It was old and ripped in various places, and provided little protection against the rain drops plummeting mercilessly to the alleyway grounds.
The red stripes across the blanket stood out in the alleyway. Everything here was so dark, gloomy and depressing. Definitely not a place you'd visit on a daily basis. But there are some people who have to be here. People like me. I'm an odd man who does odd things. And some of the odd things I do consist of me rummaging through down right disgusting places to find somewhat valuable items I can put up for sale at my shop. That shop of mine is a raggedy old thing just as myself. But it's the only lifeline me and my little boy had. If I didn't make enough money at the shop, I couldn't put food on the table for my kid. The things a father will do for his son.
I step closer to the pile of boxes and garbage bags, dragging my feet through the muddy puddles that makes me feel like my feet weighed 10 pounds each. The closer I get, the stranger things got. I began hearing noises. At first I thought it was my imagination. My mind always tended to play tricks on me when I'd come out on my nightly scavenge hunts. But this seemed different. The sounds seemed less like a false record spinning in my head. Everything seemed more real.
When the last remains of rubbish were removed, I saw the last thing I had ever expected to see in such a horrible place. So many possibilities ran through my mind as my eyes scanned over the basket. Perhaps a homeless man got lucky one day and found some food, and decided to hide it to ensure he would not lose such a precious privilege. Maybe a little girl was running from a couple of bullies that were teasing her for carrying her favorite toys in a picnic basket around school. So she took a short cut through the alleys and buried the basket under the trash, making sure to return to it the next morning. Never did it cross my mind that this would be in that basket. It wasn't food. It wasn't a collection of toys.
It was a child.
A small child with a rather large rounded face. Chubby little arms and legs. Crystalline blue eyes that twinkled under the moonlight, small thin lips and a little nose to match. The baby looked to be around 5 months old, more or less. The small, fragile form was wrapped securely in a thick blanket.
But this child was nowhere near safe. How long can a child so young survive out here in such a despicable environment? Not to mention the rain pouring down day and night, and all the crime that occurs on the streets. How long had this child been left here? Left here to just...die.
I crouch before the child in front of me. So small. So helpless. At first I question whether the baby's even breathing, but the kid's alive, I know for sure. I see life in a pool of blue before me. “Hey there little fella.” I smooth the blanket over the baby's body, and cradle the child in my arms. The little rascal begins crying immediately. “ Hey, hey, hey, none of that. I ain't gonna hurt cha.” My voice seemed to make the poor thing wail even louder. Louder, but not loud enough to hear clearly through the pounding of rain.
The voice pervaded through the small space around us, bouncing off the walls and whistling through the falling water droplets. I cradled the child, and wrapped my hunting jacket securely around the small figure. Before retreating to my pick-up truck, I take a quick peak at what features are under the blanket.
It's a girl.
“Shh, there, there, it's all right. Calm down little fella.” I murmur soothing words to the little girl, cradling her in my arms as I rock her back and forth, now in the shelter of my rusty old truck. “It's okay little one.” I stare down at the girl in front of me. So many things ran through my mind. It felt like a tornado was brewing in there. I can't take care of this child. Not when I already have a 4 year old son, and a stack of bills that come up to my knees. The lights have already been shut off, and we're facing eviction notices on the door. They won't give us anymore extensions. We've already gotten three.
The food we eat isn't very appetizing either. I can't afford to buy better brands. Plus stirring a picky eater into the mix, it's nearly impossible to feed the boy something he likes. Hell, I don't even like the slop I bring home, so why would he?
Those are all reasons on why I cannot take another child into my home. How do you take care of a baby anyway? When I took in Jackson, he was already a year old. He was past all that baby stuff. All I had to do was teach him how to walk, talk, and use the facilities properly. And though it was challenging, it was a whole lot simpler than taking care of a baby.
My eyes never leave the girl's small, angelic face when the most sickening thought came to mind; Leaving the girl in that alley.
It was sick and inhumane. Only a man with no conscience whatsoever would even consider leaving a child alone in the dark and wet. No food, no shelter, no nothing. How could I let that thought enter my mind? How could such things corrupt my thinking, just because I was a little worried and desperate for money? How far have I let myself go?
My eyes tighten, and I shake my head in disgust, utterly ashamed at my thinking. In that moment, the little girl smiles at me, and I couldn't help but smile back. It was then and there I knew I had made a decision.
“There is no way in hell I'm gonna put you back in that basket. I'm going to take care of you. No matter how hard it gets. You're a fighter, little one. And I'm going to be one too. For your sake. I ain't lettin' ya down anytime soon.”