Short Story Preview: The Golden Baby – Sue Hampton
Maybe there was a time, long ago, when nothing surprised anyone, because no one expected the earth to explain its mysteries. Besides, everyone knew that of all its truths the deepest lay in stories. So everything that happened meant one thing or perhaps another – or both, or just as probably nothing at all. Nobody imagined that a heart could hold any knowledge more universal than the smile it showed, and reasons were just notes on the wind.
So it was with the Golden Baby.
Who found it?
The child they all forgot. His name was All, because a name was all he had. It seemed he had nothing to say and nothing much to do except breathe the life around him. Inside too, for all they knew. His silence was sealed. Only feelings shook it open with sounds that might be pain or fear. Even his mother, Erin, could not read their meaning in All’s eyes. All found the Golden Baby in the snow. Or so the story went, the one he could not tell.
The snow was deep and always new. No sooner had the earth’s contours been torn and grooved, scuffed and reshaped by boots and hooves, wheels and paws, than nightfall restored them. But each morning the curves swelled fuller and All’s worn old boots sank deeper. The crunch they made gaped wider, like a whisper in a cave. It made him laugh inside. The Golden Baby shone as it lay on the snow. It made no disturbance, as if the wind, like a mother, had prepared a place for it to fit. At first All thought it must be a small fire, or a crown dropped by a king. The gold was brighter than a beak or a fruit. It made him chuckle because it looked warm, but in its cradle of snow nothing melted. Nothing stirred, not even a single snowflake suspended in the bitter air.