We’d searched the house frantically for an hour or two now but we still hadn’t found the bomb.
We knew there was a bomb because the Bomb Location Service had rung us up and told us there was a bomb. They advised us to go outside and wait until they could get here, but that could take up to 28 days and we didn’t really want to have to sleep in the garden until then. And anyway our tents were in the house somewhere and if we had to search for them we might as well just search for the bomb.
So we were searching for the bomb but we’d stopped for a cup of tea. My mother was upstairs using the toilet and I was just boiling the kettle and my brother was searching around in the cupboards for some clean mugs making sure that none of the mugs had a bomb in them.
Before the kettle had even boiled my mother started calling down frantically from upstairs that she’d found something.
We found her in my sister’s room.
There was a box on the bed.
“What are you doing in here,” I said. “You’re not supposed to be in here.”
“There’s a box on the bed,” said my mother.
I looked at the bed, and there was a box on the bed.
“Where’d that come from?” I asked, looking at the box that was on the bed.
“Oh, yeah, they delivered that yesterday,” said my brother.
“Who delivered it?” I said.
“The delivery driver did,” he said.
“But what’s it doing in here?” my mother said.
“You didn’t let them come in here, did you?” I said. “They’re not supposed to come in here.”
“They said it was for your sister,” said my brother.
He always called her “your sister” when he was talking about my sister, as if by distancing himself from her he would somehow be absolved of blame, just in case there was going to be any blame.
“But she doesn’t even live here anymore,” I said. “Not till Christmas.”
My mother lifted the top off the box. It wasn’t even taped up or sealed or anything.
Inside the box there was a little pink woollen blanket all folded up neatly and tucked down at the edges like it was a quilt in a doll’s pram.
Whatever was under it was breathing.
We looked at the blanket rising up and down and we all held our breath for a bit and then we stopped holding our breath and my mother said, “What is it?”
“Maybe it’s a hedgehog,” my brother said.
“Why the fuck would it be a hedgehog?” I said.
“David!” hissed my mother.
“I don’t know,” said my brother. “It looks like it might be.”
“It’s not going to be a hedgehog,” I said.
“Well what it is, then?”
“I don’t know!”
My mother shouted, “Don’t shout!” and then the box started to cry and then she said, “Now look what you’ve done!”
She pulled the blanket back and underneath the blanket there was a baby.
“It’s a baby,” said my mother.
“Why’s there a baby in the box?” said my brother.
“I don’t know,” I said.
“Well she’s your sister,” my brother said. “Surely she should have told you if she was having a baby delivered here.”
“What?” I said. “Why?”
“To make sure you were in when it arrived,” he said. “Imagine if we were all out and they hid it in the wheelie bin like they usually do with parcels when we’re all out and then the binmen had come and emptied the bins before we got back.”
“Don’t say things like that,” my mother said. “It’s not nice.”
The baby was still crying but we were trying our best to pretend it wasn’t crying, but it was crying and it was probably that which was putting us all on edge.
“Can I hold it?” asked my brother.
“It’s not a toy,” I said. “And anyway it’s my sisters.”
“Well, we can’t just leave it in the box forever, can we?” he said. “Can we?”
My brother looked a bit bewildered by it all, to be honest. I shook my head.
“When’s your sister back from uni, anyway?”
“I don’t know. December some time.”
“It better not keep on crying until then,” he said.
It was still crying.
“Shouldn’t we call her?” he said.
“Aw, I wonder the baby’s called,” said my mother.
She had a faraway look in her eyes now.
“Isn’t it lovely?” she said.
Me and my brother didn’t say anything.
“I wonder what it’s called,” she said again.
“We should definitely call her,” my brother said.
“Okay, okay,” I said. “I’ll call her.”
“Aren’t you a lovely baby,” my mother cooed. She reached down into the box and picked the baby up and said, “Don’t cry, dearie, it’ll be alright, it’ll be alright.”
The baby exploded.
1. Written on July 17th, 2016
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