The baby hadn’t stopped crying all night. Its shrill cries echoing through the house so none of its other inhabitants could sleep.
As the suns beams entered the house, none of them tried to remain in bed instead staggering out to the kitchen in various stages of undress as the baby dozed.
“Oh mum can’t you make the baby stop?” Milly groaned rubbing the sleep out of both eyes with her fists made into balls. Her legs were swinging as her feet were still unable to touch the floor, even with the tip of a toe.
At first her mum didn’t answer as she was busy placing the bottle of milk in a cupboard and a slice of bread in the fridge.
“What dear?” she mumbled, her eyes half closed.
“Mum you’ve done it all wrong”.
The baby started to cry again.
Automatically she turned to go back to its room.
Milly stared after her,” Well I guess I’ll make my own breakfast!”
Her mum didn’t answer or maybe even hear her as she scooped the baby out of its cot.
“It can’t be too difficult’ Milly said to herself as she took the slice of bread out of the fridge and put it into the toaster, her arm only just reaching,’ it’s not like I asked for a baby sister. I might as well not even be here”.
The toaster started to glow blue and vibrate across the kitchen counter.
“Urm mum there’s something wrong with the toaster!” Milly yelled.
Her mum shot back into the kitchen, the baby grizzling against her shoulder and stood staring.
“Pull the plug out Milly!”
Bravely, Milly yanked the cord out of the socket.
“Milly!” her mum yelled as clouds filled the room.
Coughing and spluttering Milly looked around her but could see nothing.
“Mum!” she called out.
She’d be glad to hear even the baby cry.
The clouds thinned.
Milly groped around her and felt the kitchen counter. Her mum had disappeared.
“Mum!” she called again.
Her mum came running with the baby now asleep in her arms. She looked at Milly, her eyes wide and round, her hair longer and tangled.
“Oh mum, what was that?” Milly cried rushing towards her and wrapping her arms around her legs.
Her mum leapt back and looked down at her.
“Who are you?”
“Who are you?”
“Mum it’s me, Milly”.
Her mum shook her head,” I have no little girl called Milly”.
Milly felt her chin wobble as tears came to her eyes.
“Mummy it’s me, Milly!” she sobbed as the tears started to trickle down her cheeks.
Her mum shook her head.
“Hey what’s happening in here?” another voice asked.
“Dad!” Milly yelled, throwing herself at him.
He paused in adjusting his tie and glanced at her mum. It was a glance she’d often seen, usually when they didn’t know what to say and wanted to check they were thinking the same thing.
“I’m sorry but who are you?” he asked.
“Dad it’s me, Milly!”
He continued to stare down at her and then shook his head.
She felt the tears pour down her cheeks.
Why didn’t they know who she was?
“Hey don’t cry little girl’ her mum said, crouching down next to her,’ we’ll find where you’re meant to be. Can you tell us how you got here?”
Milly looked at her. Her hair was lined with grey and there were wrinkles across her face.
Why was she so old?
“The toaster went blue”.
“The toaster went blue?” her mum asked her eyes still wide and round.
“Urm maybe we can have a word just in the next room?” her dad whispered to her mum.
“Of course’ she answered and then turned to Milly,’ if you just wait here sweetie, we’ll be back in minute”.
Quietly Milly tiptoed to the kitchen door and placed an ear against the wooden surface.
“….I’ve told you before not to leave the front door unlocked”.
“I didn’t! Well I don’t think I did but the baby started to cry when I went to check on it”.
“Well that’s great. Now we have a stray child in the house! Where did she come from?”
“How should I know? Why don’t you try and find out?”
“You don’t know she could be part of a theft ring or something”.
“You can’t be serious? She’s tiny”.
“They start them off early. I read about it somewhere”.
“Whatever you read, I don’t think she’s part of a theft ring. She thinks we’re her parents!”
“Well what are we going to do about it?”
“Why don’t you ring the police and they can work out what to do with her?”
Milly gasped and moved away from the door.
Why didn’t they know who she was? And why were they so old?
She looked around the kitchen. Her eyes strayed to the toaster sitting on the kitchen counter. It was its normal white and was sitting perfectly still.
What had she been saying? She might as well not even be there? Had the toaster listened to her?
“Can you hear me?” she asked it.
It remained still and white.
Then, almost as if she’d thought about it, she grabbed a slice of bread from the loaf on the counter and stuffed it into the toaster, her arm only just reaching again.
The toaster turned blue and started to vibrate.
Clouds filled the kitchen.
“Mum!” Milly yelled hoping to hear her answer.
But she could hear nothing.
Tears continued to pour down her cheeks.
Would she have to be alone forever?
Through the clouds she heard the baby cry.
“Mum!” she called out again.
“Milly! Where are you?” her mum shouted.
The clouds started to thin.
Her mum was standing in the kitchen with the baby against her shoulder crying.
“Mum!” Milly yelled, rushing towards her and wrapping her arms around her legs.
“Oh sweetie, when the smoke came out of the toaster I couldn’t see you. Are you okay?”
Milly nodded as her mum brushed her hands across her cheeks.
“I’m sorry mum, I do want to be here”.
“Of course you do sweetie. Now I don’t think we should use the toaster. How about a nice bowl of cornflakes instead?”
Milly nodded. She never wanted toast again.