Word Count: 483
The Blessed Child
After the Yankees thought they had rousted all of the hideaways from the root cellar, Miss Mavis’ limp body was carried to her bedroom. Paddy, the mammy, assessed Miss Mavis’s bullet wound to the shoulder, and yelled out the window, “Old Rufus, you get those black feet up here, fast as if the devil’s fork was poking you on the back side!” Old Rufus, came up to the bedroom as fast as an ancient man can muster. “Old Rufus, you go fetch the water, is a boilin over da fire where I was cookin’. Bring it in da big bowl.”
With frustration and indignation, Old Rufus replied, “You gonna make me walk them stairs agin? I just got up here. Why didt you just say so out the winda’? Lord a mercy!” as he shuffled out the door.
While studying the wound, Paddy noticed a movement in the corner of her eye. Was Mavis’s hand moving? No. She focused on her wound again, studying the depth of the bullet. Again, she saw movement from the corner of her eye. “Oh, my Lord!” she exclaimed springing away from the bed as if it was on fire, with her eyes staring at the moving belly. “Lord a mercy! Old Rufus! You hurry those black feet. Those Yankee monsters done scar’t this poor chil’ right out of his mama!” Paddy yelled.
An hour later, Paddy had given her heart away to the tiny orphan. “You picked a fine time to make your entrance in da worl’, chil’. Ifin’ you made it this far, you must surly be blessed. The Lord must have big plans for you, little chil’.
After a few prayers, Paddy explained her plan. “Old Rufus, I heard the Massa’ say to the Missus, ifn it was to be a girl chil’, we not gonna name her after her mama, Sara, but after his mama.”
Seeing little Emily peaking in the doorway, Paddy introduced the newborn, “Missy, come here chil’. Miss Emily, meet yo new best friend and sister, Miss Margret.” The little Emily peaked into the red squiggling bundle, and then around the corner and saw her mother lying on the bed. She looked at her mother’s pale face, and ran from the room.
From the top of the staircase, Paddy yelled down, “Old Rufus, go fetch Georgy and Johnny to run to Mz Maddock’s place. We gonna need a wet nurse.” Old Rufus started out but stopped dead in his tracks, his eyes popped open. Paddy looked at Old Rufus, and then her eyes popped, too.
For a moment the seriousness the day slipped aside, as they both giggled when they realized that the boys had not come out of the root cellar with the others. “Sure nuf, those rascals done give them Yankees the slip.” Old Rufus said with a smirk of admiration. For once, the boys’ mischief had paid off.