“I can’t come in to work today, boss, the baby’s on the roof. Bye!” Ellen clicked the off button on her phone and stuck it in her pocket as she ran out the back door. In the middle of the yard she turned to look at the roof. There was the baby, sitting on the ridgeline, sucking her thumb.
Ellen sighed. If she went up on the roof, the baby would just materialize somewhere else on the roof, just like a dog with a sock running around the house in a game of chase. “Sarah, Sweetie, come on down. I have a cookie for you.”
Sarah looked at her mother with big blue eyes and pulled her thumb out of her mouth. “Ma, ma, ma, ma, ma,” and stuck the thumb back in.
This wasn’t supposed to happen. Ellen had no superpowers, the only one in her family who didn’t. “Just not in your genes we guess, Sweetheart,” her parents told her when she was fourteen. “A power certainly would have manifested on puberty, if you had any power at all.” She was disappointed. Her brother, Sam, could fly, lucky jerk. His power manifested at five. Her parents had to keep him in a harness, tethered to the floor until he understood that he couldn’t just fly anywhere or any time.
Her mother, Carol, could see through things, helpful in a family of superheroes. There was always a broken bone somewhere in the family that she could see to help set. Dad could throw flame from his hands. It made the family camping easier, that’s for sure.
Ellen called her mother. “Hi, I’ve got a problem.”
“What is it, Sweetie?”
“The baby’s on the roof.”
“I’ll be right over.”
Ellen put the phone back in her pocket. It would take at least half an hour for her mother to get here. “Sarah, want some ice cream?”
The thumb came out again and Ellen could swear the baby was thinking the offer over. Nope, the thumb went back in. Ellen looked around. No neighbors seemed to have noticed; otherwise the police would be here. No one looks at the neighbors’ roofs, do they? They bought this house because she didn’t have powers. There was no need to live in the family superhero compound, away from the regular citizens, if there weren’t going to be superhero children to protect. Big mistake.
By the time Carol arrived, Ellen had tried juice, candy, and the baby’s favorite stuffed teddy bear as bribes but Sarah remained on the roof. Her mother stood beside her and studied the baby. “You tell Scott yet?”
Ellen shook her head. “How can I? I wasn’t supposed to have powers, remember? He’s not from a superhero family; he’s not going to understand.”
“You’re going to have to tell him.”
“Yeah, I know. But first, let’s get the baby down.”
“You tried bribes?”
“Yep, she’s not taking bribes.”
“How’d she get up there? Fly?”
“No, she just materialized up there. I suppose Sam might be able to fly up and get her, if she doesn’t decide to just disappear and pop up somewhere else.”
Carol folded her arms as she watched Sarah bat at a butterfly. “A tether might not work for her.”
“I thought of that. She’d just disappear right out of it.”
“The baby still has all of her clothes on. So it might work, if she has to take what’s on her body.”
“Maybe, mom, but right now I need to get her down before the neighbors notice and call the cops.”
Her mother waved at the baby. “Hi, dumplin’. Come give Grandma a kiss.”
They were still staring up when Sarah appeared at Carol’s feet. She scooped the baby up and gave her a big hug and a kiss. “What a good girl you are. Let’s go get some juice.”
Sarah smiled and took her thumb out of her mouth. “Ba, ba, ba, ba, ba?”
Carol grinned at her daughter. “You might consider moving out to the family compound. You’re going to have your hands full.”
Connie Cockrell began writing in response to a challenge from her daughter in October 2011 and has been hooked ever since. Her books run the gamut from SciFi and Fantasy to Contemporary to Halloween and Christmas stories. She’s published two novels, The Gulliver Station series, three collections of short stories and has been included in three different anthologies. Connie continues to write about whatever comes into her head. If you’d like to know more, go to www.conniesrandomthoughts.wordpress.com or to www.facebook.com/ConniesRandomThoughts.