baby shoes, never worn

Author's Note: Now that I'm actually going for the English creative writing major, I have some assignments I can start sharing!  So here's the first flash fiction on the site, as well.  Let's see if you can figure out what the prompt was!

To the New York City Chief of Police James Buchanan,

This is a report from the lead detective for the baby mutilation case, Olivia Broyles.  I remember thinking that this was all some elaborate prank when you put me on this case, but I’ve seen the parents, the pictures— even the baby, poor little guy.  My findings were… suffice to say, frustratingly sparse.

At 7:03 A.M, the child was born to Mary and Smith Rodgers at the Southton Brooklyn Hospital.  The deliver was perfectly normal, and the baby appeared to be completely healthy.  We have pictures of the child after birth, and we can confirm that he was born with every part of him intact.  After the boy was given the standard post-birth care, he was returned to his mother.  The little guy cried, breathed, and ate, just like any other baby.  He sure looked better than my sister’s kid did coming out.  

Once all aftercare was complete, around 11:11 that same morning, the door to the hospital room containing the baby and the mother closed without any visible cause.  This was captured on CCTV— which also accounted for all doctors on staff that day and on the father’s location.  There is no questioning that it was only the child and the mother in that hospital room.  Cameras caught footage of the room going dark in an instant.  Far darker than should have been possible for the middle of the day.  It was as if the hallway lights couldn’t get through the glass.

The door reopened at 11:12, at which point the room became lit again.  Hospital staff didn’t discover the resulting scene until 11:20, when a nurse entered the room and immediately pressed an emergency call button.  The child’s mother was gone, without a trace, but the baby was still there in the bed.  He didn’t cry or make a sound, even as the room flooded with staff and security.  His feet were missing, as well, which is really the principal mystery of this case, isn’t it?

Missing is the best way to describe it.  The boy’s skin is untouched and unbroken.  There’s no sign of amputation, nor of any blood in the room.  It was as if something had just popped the feet off a doll.  He looks like he never had feet to begin with.

Additional Notes:

To be frank, sir, I know what happens to detectives who get cases like this.  They get sectioned off like a leper and quietly demoted to an archive jockey.  I don’t know if that’s why you gave me this case, or if this was just an accident, but I won’t be going down that route.  This is why I am offering my resignation, effective immediately.  Still, I have to take this opportunity to tell you that getting rid of people who get close to this side of the job isn’t going to protect you from whatever goes bump in the night.

Olivia Broyles

NYPD Senior Detective

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