She was dropping off some rubbish at the tip when she saw it. It was just a pram, standing there between two skips. It looked old and useless; the metal parts were all covered in rust, the material was shabby and damaged, and it looked like the wheels were unlikely to even turn.
Yet there was something compelling about it.
She walked over towards it, not really sure why she was doing so, and laid her hands on the handlebar.
She wheeled it out from between the skips, the wheels creaking and squeaking. One of them didn’t move at all, and pushing it was an effort, but she didn’t notice. She started to wheel it around in a circle.
“Hush little baby, don’t say a word,” she sang softly, looking down into the empty pram. “Mama’s gonna buy you a mocking bird.”
The wheel unstuck suddenly.
“If that mocking bird don’t sing, Mama’s gonna buy you a diamond ring.”
The rust started to recede underneath her hands. She didn’t notice.
“If that diamond ring turns brass, Mama’s gonna buy you a looking glass.”
The holes in the fabric seemed to knit itself back together. The worn patches disappeared, and the wheels stopped squeaking.
“If that looking… glass… gets…”
Her song faltered. Her shoulders dropped with exhaustion. Her skin was pale and clammy, and her hair had lost its shine.
A baby’s giggle emanated from the empty carriage, and as she fell to her knees, it rolled away.
“Gets… broke,” she whispered, falling face first into a puddle.
The pram rolled away, and turned a corner.
© Kari Fay