Saturday, February 29, 2020

Excerpt from Decision

I'm half excited, half terrified about tomorrow's release of Decision (Diversion 8). Fans have grown to love Bo and Lucky and I worry about letting them down.

That said, how about a little teaser? Some have asked about the thematic element of a rocking chair on the cover, and many have reached their own conclusions.

How about this?

Lucky strolled toward the back of the room, staring through a layer of protective glass. Two incubators sat side by side, the first one empty. A curtain partially obscured the view.

The second held a tiny infant, so much smaller than the other babies on display. A blue armband declared him a boy. He wasn’t wrapped like the others. Instead he wore a diaper and tiny knit hat, white sensor dots on his chest, warming under lights. A tuft of dark hair peeked out from under the hat.

Tiny fingers curled into fists. While Lucky watched, the baby’s lower lip quivered in a sucking motion. Head to the side, the dusky-skinned bundle slept. So quiet. So peaceful.

So alone.

From this angle, Lucky couldn’t read the nameplate. Instinct said he’d found the right kid.
A door opened and a nurse swept through, followed by a dark-haired man in a hospital gown and mask. He sat in a rocking chair while the nurse freed the little one from his incubator.

Wires still attached, the woman placed the child in the man’s arms. Eyes crinkling at the corners showed the man’s smile.

She handed him a bottle. The man cradled the child in his arms, offering the bottle. Sleepy dark eyes blinked open, and the baby latched on to the nipple. The man fed the child, pushing the chair back and forth with his legs.

Who was this man? A hospital volunteer, maybe? This kid belonged to Yolanda, right?

Lucky watched for a while, heart clenching at the image. Would he one day hold his own child, rocking and holding a bottle?

At least the little boy wasn’t alone—for now.

He should leave. He’d accomplished what he set out to do: ensure the baby was okay. Somehow, he couldn’t make himself move.

Folks milled around him, coming and going, admiring this baby or that. Ever so gently the man removed the bottle from the child’s mouth. Again his lower lip quivered as though he still sucked, though he’d quite obviously fallen back asleep.

“Eat, sleep, and grow. That’s what babies do,” his mother once said while rocking Todd.

The man took a cloth from the nurse, placed it over his shoulder, and raised the baby. He gave a few pats, his eyes crinkling at the corners again.

The nurse held out her arms.

The man kissed the child’s forehead, slowly surrendering his precious bundle.

He stood and followed the nurse with his eyes as she returned the child to the incubator, placing his hand on the plexiglass in a silent goodbye.

For a single moment he looked up, long enough for Lucky to get a good look at the man’s eyes.

Holy shit!


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