Scrounger: Fifteen

he baby awakens and pulls herself up. Nap time was over a couple of hours ago, but the shrieking cries she howled earlier didn’t bring her parents to her rescue. Instead, she fell back asleep. What rattles her awake this time is the noise downstairs. The sounds clatter from the kitchen. Pots bang, dishes shatter. There is a moan. There is another moan.
The baby shifts her weight back and forth, shaking the bars of the crib. The bars knock against the wall, thudding. The syncopated smacking stops the sounds from downstairs. Debris scrapes against the floor as drunken footfalls falter toward the stairs. Two sets of feet make their way up. The baby girl breathes deep because she believes her parents will come and pick her up.
One set of feet makes it to the top of the stairs, but there’s also a thud against the wall, a cry, and the sound of a tumbling body cascades down the hall. The other footsteps drag and whisper across the carpet. The door knob jostles, unable to turn. “Mama,” the baby girls calls out.