Shana Carter was one of those teen mothers. She got pregnant at her school prom and gave up the baby. No one asked who the daddy was and Shana never said. No one came forward though and I guess you’d remember Shana if you really were the baby daddy. She was beautiful, that girl was, with her perfect brown curls and eyes that made every day seem a little brighter. Everyone predicted a first-class future for her. She was Arlington Beauty Queen three years running. But when the pregnancy news broke out, Shana was the centre of town gossip for a year. Teen mothers were a rare species in Arlington at the time so people revelled in having something to talk about over the garden fence. There wasn’t much they could say though, Shana kept to herself. She lived in her granddaddy’s farm on the edge of town. Once she had the baby, it went up for adoption and no one heard about it again. Shana moved back to the farm and got some cattle for herself. No one ever fancied that girl a farm hand but it turns out she was good at just about everything. She sold chicken eggs to clamouring bidders who proclaimed them ‘the best darn eggs’ they ever tasted. Years past and Shana was no longer a gossip topic, people had better things to talk about. Mavis Thomas had died. Her son Big Mac was only fourteen. Big Mac, known to Mavis as Cyril, was simple. Authorities in town didn’t have the heart to take him from Mavis’s so they let him stay there. He did odd jobs for people around town and went to different people’s houses for dinner each night. Rumours went around that Big Mac was really rich because he inherited Mavis’s secret fortune but he never proved this. Mac wore the same filthy overalls every day, except on Sundays when he wore clean overalls to church.
Anyway, Shana was twenty nine or there about when she got pregnant again. She wasn’t married, no. She didn’t have a boyfriend or a bit on the side. It was an ‘unfortunate accident’, people said. She was pitied by people who saw her. It was a difficult pregnancy. The gossip at the time was that Shana had a bad fall on the farm. By the time she made it to a hospital, doctors said her baby might not make it. Shana Carter had heard it all from the doctor’s. ‘Your child might not make it’, ‘she’ll die’, ‘don’t get your hopes up’. But Shana could feel the baby inside of her. She knew her baby was strong, despite medical opinion. She proved everyone wrong when her daughter was born, a healthy seven pounds. Doctor’s marvelled at how she could have survived when her heart stopped twice in the womb. They dubbed her the Angel baby. That was how Cherub Carter got her name. Shana held her daughter for the first time and looked down at her pudgy face proudly. She yawned widely and flailed her arms about. Shana held her hand out and Cherub held tight to Shana’s forefinger. It was the first sign of their unbreakable connection, Shana thought. That was before she was screaming in pain. She prised her finger from her baby’s hand and looked at it. Doctors and nurses rushed in and just stared.
Shana’s finger was bent at an awkward angle and Cherub was squealing happily in her mother’s arms. The angel baby with the strength of a grown man, soon she wasn’t being called Angel baby anymore but rather ‘the impossible child’.
‘Hold on. Wait a minute. How is it even possible for a baby to be that strong?’ Eli asked in disbelief. The old woman cocked her head to the side and half smiled.
‘Do you want to tell the story hon? You can believe me or not, I’m just telling you what happened.’ She said. Eli apologized and signalled for the woman to continue.
‘Now where was I? Oh yeah, the impossible child…’