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"I searched through the bushes. Blood covered the ground, and in the blood lay a pile of small creatures. Three of'em were dead, but one remained just barely alive."
"What? Wait. I don't understand. What happened? How did a baby get there?" "The same question was runnin' through my own mind, believe me, but one thing I knew for certain: regardless of how she came into the world, I had to get this baby some help. I bundled her up in my jacket, hiked back down the hill, and carried her out of the woods. I took her to the midwives at the convent and begged for them to help, but they gasped at the sight of her, muttering that she was the devil's work. They said that she was malformed, near to death,and that there was nothing they could do to help her."
"You have to understand the poor little thing had been born with her eyes closed, Sera, and the nuns said that she would never see. She'd been born deaf, and they said she would never hear. And it was plain enough to see that she had four toes on each foot instead of five, but that was the least of it. Her collar bones were malformed, and she had unnaturally long curving spine - all twisted like - and she did not look like she would survive." The shock hit her like a blow... "I'm the baby!" she shouted.
"The bones of the baby's back weren't connected to each other the way they should have been," he continued. "The nuns were half scared out of their wits at the idea of caring for this child, like it was some sort of demon spawn, but to me she was a little baby, a little chitlan, and you didn't abandon such a thing. Who cares how many toes she had?"
"I didn't have any proper food," he said," so I crept into a farmer's barn and milked a goat - stole a bottle to. Felt ashamed doin' these things, but I needed to get some food into her, and I couldn't see a better road. That night, I feed the little chitlan her first meal, and as bad off as she was, and with her eyes still closed, she drank it down real good, and I remember praying that somehow it would help. The more I held her and watched her suck down that milk, the more I wanted her to live."
"In the time that followed, I fed the little chitlan every morning and every night. I slept with her tucked under my arm. I nestled her in an open toolbox beside me when I worked. When she started growing up a little, I taught her how to crawl and run about."
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