The story so far: Danny is with Nulla and the new born baby. Andy is coming back and he’s threatened the baby. Danny has to protect both mother and baby until help arrives. For the complete parts 1 to 5 click here and follow the links back.
A Christmas Miracle
Nulla has heard the men too. She must know what’s going to happen because she’s half crawling, half stumbling towards the tunnel wall. She’s trying to get to the arch where Joe had crawled before. It’s under the old chimney and a little light seeps down. I guess it’s turned sunny outside or something. While Hound waits – he isn’t happy – I go to help her. It’s a struggle what with the baby and the cord and everything, but once she’s inside the alcove I pull off my coat and my hoodie and hand them to her.
I call Hound and in moments he is right there, by my leg. His eyesight is amazing. As I’m rubbing his head, he begins to growl. They’re getting close.
There’s no way I can fight these men. I can’t climb the chimney, if Joe couldn’t and I don’t see how I can sneak past them. I could go on, further into the tunnel but I think I’m more scared of that than the men. And that would leave Nulla and the child at their mercy. Where are Liam and Mr Sense and Beth and Mr Gold? Come on!
Hound barks. Just a short single bark.
‘Keep that dog away from me, you hear?’ It’s Andy, not sounding happy. ‘We need to get out. NOW!’
I can see their torch a they aproach. And as well as the urgency I can sense their fear of the dog.
I grab his collar and pull him over to where Nulla crouches. She immediately pulls away, covering the baby. ‘It’s ok,’ I say but I don’t think she understands. Holding the straining Hound I stand in front of mother and baby. Holding my breath. Hoping.
‘Get out of the way, boy. I… Ha. So she’s had the baby. One less problem then.’ Andy faces me with another man just behind. His torchlight is right in our faces so I can only see his outline. One of them steps forward; I’m not sure who. As he does so Hound rears up, barking fit to bust.
I want to pee so badly but manage to say, ‘I’ll let him go. He isn’t sacred of you.’
The men pause. I guess they each want the other to deal with Hound. One says, ‘You’d better get away. NOW!’
And at last there’s another voice. ‘Police.’ There are lots of voices and torches. Andy swings his torch round so I can see the two of them. His companion tries to turn and run but catches his foot and falls, crying out in pain. Andy hesitates, looks at me and Hound before he too starts to run, away from the cries and further up the tunnel.
Everything is mental for a while. I don’t realise how tired I am so when the police arrive moments later I’m slumped next to Nulla, with Hound still growling. They’re worried I’ve been attacked but I just want to curl up and, without my coat and hoodie, I’m now frozen. Naturally they take care of Nulla and baby first but I’m soon wrapped in a tin foil blanket and being checked by a doctor. An ambulance takes me home – even Hound is allowed to travel in it when I tell them what he did. As I’m carried out of the tunnel I see Mr Gold talking to some of the police. He smiles at me and comes over. ‘I’ll pop round later, Danny. I need to help this woman and her baby just now.’
I’m not sure what happens next. I’m at home with a lot of worried faces. Mum’s there but not dad. He’s still pretty ill and staying in hospital. It’s not long before I’m asleep. When I wake, Mr Gold has turned up.
They’ve found Joe and he too is in hospital with Nulla. He and the baby are fine and Mr Gold has organised a lawyer to help them. He says something about trafficking and honour and I drift off.
When I next come too my cousins are there. They see I’m awake and start giggling. That makes me cross. What’s happened is hardly amusing. ‘What’s so funny?’
Beth comes over and sits on the edge of my bed. ‘Hi, sleepyhead. Well everyone is ok. The bad men have all been caught and you’re dad will be home for Christmas. And that made us realise this whole thing is the new Christmas Miracle.’
‘But it’s not Christmas for a week?’
Liam joins in. ‘Yeah but don’t you see? New born baby born in a tunnel. That’s like a barn, isn’t it?’
‘I still don’t…’
‘And we’re all Shepherds right?’
‘Yes, but…’ And then I get it. I smile and point at the two of them. They nod. And we say together ‘Beth Liam!’
Liam says, ‘And there’s Mr Gold…’
And Beth adds, ‘And Frank Sense…’
I laugh, like it seems I’ve not done in weeks. ‘And Myrtle the cat!!’ Who, on cue jumps up and snuggles on my legs.
Hound looks on, rather forlorn. Beth sees where I’m looking and gives him a hug. ‘You’re the hero, Hound. When they write up this Christmas story, Hound will have to written in as the new lead.’