Lucius Short Stories

Country Christmas Miracle

I hope you have your gifts ready, and you’re on the road if you’re travlin’. Our children are headin’ home for Christmas. Darla has been a mite busy with dustin’, cookin’, and movin’ furniture around, so our kids have bedrooms to sleep in. We changed the kid’s bedrooms into other things as the door hit their butts on the way out.

I try to help where I can. Most days, I head out to the barn early and check on the biddies and farm equipment. We tend to get a lot of cold nights and chilly rain this time of year, so it’s always smart to check on things. At least that’s what we usually do. Yesterday mornin’ was a bit different.

Darla wanted to come out with me to check on that fool turkey of her’s. I reckon she wants to make sure I won’t put him on the Christmas meal. We drove on out about five-thirty in the mornin’. I like to get my chores done early so I can enjoy the day. Darla reminded me on the drive over that her version of early was closer to ten.

I hit my brakes and slid the truck to a stop when my headlights lit up the side of the barn. Right there in front of us was an opened door. Now I might be gettin’ a bit old, but I never leave a door open. So, I knew we were lookin’ at trouble. I reached over and grabbed my pistol out of the glove box, and Darla got the shotgun off the rack behind us. I killed the headlights and the engine, and we got out. Darla had me lead the way, and we snuck up real quiet.

I left my flashlight off so we couldn’t be seen and slowly worked our way towards the barn as our eyes adjusted to the dark before the dawn. We weren’t so much as breathin’. A mouse couldn’t have crawled across that barn floor without us knowin’. In fact, we heard a couple while we were standin’ there. The hay rustled on the ground near the feedin’ trough, and I turned on the flashlight with my gun leveled. What I saw plumb took the air out of me, and I holstered my weapon immediately. Darla walked up next to me with her shotgun at her side.

“You see that?” she asked me.

“I reckon so.” Was all I could get out.

There in front of us was a young girl. She was dressed in torn old street rags that were bloodied and stained. The girl was shiverin’ and pale. She’d taken her old ragged coat and covered a baby that was layin’ in the feed trough. It looked newborn on account of the steam risin’ from the little infant’s bloody head. Darla ran over and took off her coat and covered the woman. I took off my jacket and gave it to Darla. She checked the baby and wrapped it up better. Darla smiled at me and said, “It’s a boy.” Then she snuggled that woman’s baby, and we all huddled in close to try and keep everyone warm while I called 911 on my cell phone.

The woman reached for her baby. Darla handed the little fella to her and asked the woman her name. She replied in a weak voice, “Mary.”

You talk about a cold chill. I bet I looked as pale as a ghost when I heard that name and thought about the scene playin’ out around us. Just then, the baby started coughin’ and chokin’. The 911 operator said to check the nose. It was all plugged up with mucus. The operator told me to suck it out. I was all in a panic. That old barn just had mowin’ machines, copper sheets and tubing, and hay. I was desperate, so I did the first thing that popped into my head. I grabbed that baby from Mary and sucked on his nose. That little fella let out a squeak and was breathin’ healthy again.

I was happy ’til it dawned on me what was in my mouth. I handed Mary back her boy and spit again and again. Lawd it was disgustin’! I mean, I’ve had bovine boogers sneezed on me that weren’t that bad. I reached behind and raised a board where I keep some shine for emergencies. I gargled and spit half a quart before my mouth felt right again. That got Darla and Mary laughin’. Somethin’ told me Mary hadn’t laughed in a long time.

We asked her how she ended up in our barn. She said she’d run away from home a year ago, and met this fella she thought was a good man. Turns out he was just a sex slaver. He pimped her out ’til she got pregnant, and then told her to abort her baby or leave when she was showin’ too much, so she left. Mary was trying to get home, hopin’ her folks would take her back.

Darla asked if she wanted to call home. Mary was weak but said she really wanted to talk with her folks. We dialed up the number she gave us on Darla’s phone, and Darla handed her phone to Mary. She hung up after a few minutes and said her parents would be down this way directly and should arrive in a day or two. About that time, the siren’s could be heard comin’ up the farm road. Mary smiled, but then her eyes rolled back, and she passed out.

I picked up the baby off Mary’s chest, and Darla started slappin’ her. A moment later the EMTs came in. I was concerned they might think we were beatin’ her up, but fortunately, they knew better. The EMT said Mary had lost right much blood but should be okay. After they took care of Mary, the EMTs got that baby good and warm, the ambilical cord cut, and loaded them into the ambulance and left.

Darla and I are headin’ over to the hospital at Christmas to check on Mary and meet her parents. She called here this mornin’ and said she wanted to name the baby after me. She’s callin’ him, Luke since that’s another form of Lucius. I’m prouder than a peacock in a flock of peahens.

Darla and I hope y’all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Y’all be good.

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