Mournful Sounds in the Night
Cassie could hear the wind whistle through the window she left cracked open just a little. She loved the mournful sounds it made. It brought back memories of when she was little and frightened in the middle of the night when the wind awoke her. When she started crying, her Daddy would come in, pick his baby up out of the crib and rock her to sleep with a soft song. He had a deep voice that vibrated through her little body and sent her off to slumber land. Cassie never forgot that night time bonding. She could vaguely remember his face, dark hair, bushy eyebrows, and kind eyes, but it was his voice that stayed strong in her mind.
She remembered other mournful sounds, the milk cows lowing and the hounds calling out to each other when they were wandering around at night. She often wondered where she had heard those sounds before.
Cassie’s Mama and Daddy were her whole world. They lived on a large profitable farm just outside the little town of Fife, Washington. Her dad hired seasonal migrant workers to keep the farm going year round. It was a lot of work for him, but he loved it. His wife kept the books for all their expenses and income from sales of the abundant harvests and chicken eggs.. She also ran the little roadside market, selling fruits and vegetables in season, and the chicken eggs.
Every morning Daddy would load the pick up with fresh produce and drive Cassie and her Mama down to the store. Mama would lay baby Cassie in a crib behind the counter, next to the window. For the first four years of her life that was Cassie’s Corner as Mama called it, and hung a painted board with those words on the wall above the crib. Customers would tease Mama and ask, “Is the baby for sale, too?” Mama would laugh and say they could not afford the baby. Cassie’s golden blonde hair and large blue eyes and cheerfulness attracted everyone. She looked just like Mama.
One morning a strange couple came in. They were young, not local folks, Mama had never seen them before. The woman seemed to be mentally handicapped, she kept saying how cute Cassie was, “She looks just like the baby I might have had, she could even be my own, my baby was never born you know.” Then she started crying, begging her husband to buy the baby. “Please, Marky, please buy the baby for me, and that sign, too.” Cassie scooted far back in her corner and stared at the strange lady. Mama was getting nervous and tried to joke about it, but the man pulled out a gun and demanded the little girl. “Now you give me that baby, Ma’am. My wife ain’t quite right in the head and I have to keep her happy or she goes crazy!” Mama ran over and picked Cassie up. “You get out of here or I’ll call the sheriff and my husband!” The man laughed. “By the time they get here, we’ll be gone and you’ll be dead if you don’t give my wife that baby.” Mama started screaming when the man came behind the counter. He hit Mama hard on the head with the butt of the gun and took Cassie.
When Mama came to, she felt the blood on her face and tried to get up. She was so dizzy. Her baby was gone! Mama managed to crawl a little at a time to get to the phone and dial ‘O’. The operator answered, “Hello, Megan, what can I do for you?” The operator heard mournful sounds from Megan. All Megan could manage to say was, “Sheriff … baby kidnapped … I hurt …” then she passed out.
Please read part two of this story at Mournful Sounds of the Night – Conclusion
© 2017 Phyllis Doyle Burns
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