Mother's Voice, Chapter 1 The Baby in the Dark and Stormy Night

a writing by Elizabeth Padillo Olesen

Let me introduce below the very first part of my second novel: Mother's Voice...still working on the 14th chapter. Excited to give life to characters and to study on the structure and development of the plot...

The Baby in the Dark and Stormy Night

1 The night thundered. Lightning broke the darkness. Amalda held the crying baby closer to her bosom as she hesitantly made the sign of the cross as the used to expression to ward off fear or as a cure from evil. Rain continued to fall through the holes of the nipa rooftops, roofing made out of the leaves of nipa plant from the mangrove shoreline. More raindrops trickled down the floor. The cry of the baby grew louder. Light from the kerosene lamp was flickering, as if wanting for a refill of kerosene. She knew soon this flickering light would disappear and soon she and the baby would find themselves still awake in complete darkness.

The baby continued to cry without let up. Such a cry was something very familiar. The baby must be hungry and cold. But Amalda’s mother had not returned yet. Her mother went with her father fishing. She promised she would return soon, and asked Amalda to take care of the baby in her absence.

Amalda held on to her conviction. Her parents would come home soon. The thunder and storm and rain would soon stop. She must learn patience. She had to wait and things would be well. The child would soon get the food she needed. The cold would be gone when rain would stop.

The best thing she could do to appease the child’s great discontent was to sing lullaby and rocked the child in her arms, sang and danced, wishing that her singing and dancing would put the child to sleep. Tired with her movements for child’s own comfort, she sat and then busied her feet, spreading the tattered rug of her father’s pants to prevent the water on the floor from spreading. Irritated by the continuing cries of the child, which could not be entertained by her song and dance, she thought how great it would have been if she had milk from her own breast, or if rain that had trickled down the floor could have been her mother’s milk.

But the heavy rainfall and the dark night were real; she could not get rid off of them by empty words of magic. Her dress she had been wearing the past two days were also wet by the constant dripping of rain from the rooftop. She felt cold and she sympathized with the little child. Her skin in 13 years had been exposed to cold and constant heat of the sun during both the rainy and dry seasons of the whole year round. Her teeth could not shiver in cold. She thought the years had taught her lessons, lessons to be resilient, to be strong in the midst of storm, rain and searing heat of the sun. But the little child had just begun her lesson in life, Amalda thought. She was there by fate to protect her, to be the child’s big and strong sister.

Amalda was on her thirteenth year. She only heard her mother saying she was born in that month of sunny April. But she never experienced the joy to be a birthday celebrant. No other children ever came to their nipa hut to sing birthday song, to light a candle or cut a piece of cake. Nobody ever remembered her birthday. She did not even know which day in the month was her birth or where it took place. Was she born in the boat, in the road, or in the nipa hut? It was not at all so important. What was more important at the moment was to give food to the child, to silence her from crying…

The light from the kerosene lamp went black. She heard the rain stopped. The child was silent. She had to lie down, crawl on the floor to touch the mat, and spread a piece of cloth she could touch to cover her and the child as blanket in that cold night.

Mother's Voice, (Novel)
Mother's Voice, Chapter 2 Fishing Island and Recruiters for Virgin Girls

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