"Maaama?" He cried, searching frantically for any sign of his mom. Alas, he could not find her. It was like it had been every other day. He left his home that he lived in by himself, and went to look for his mom, who had recently disappeared.
Not looking where he was going, the little boy bumped into a tallish woman wearing glasses and pigtails.
"Mom?" He asked, looking up into the woman's emerald eyes.
"No, I'm not your mum," She said, leaning down. "Why are you looking for her? Are you lost?"
"No," The little by pouted, crossing his arms. "She's lost. I've been looking for her for days!"
Of course, the woman knew what had happened.
"What's your name, young man?" She asked, pushing her glasses up the bridge of her nose.
"Alfred Jones." He said with a grin, scratching his neck nervously. After all, it was his mom who had said not to talk to strangers. "My mom told me not to talk to strangers though..."
"Well, I'm Alice Kirkland. Now we aren't strangers." She said with a smile, grabbing the boys hand. "I think I know where your mum is. Would you care to come with me?"
The boy's mom had always said never to do this... But what if she really knew where his mom was?
"Okay," He whispered. "But only because you seem like a nice lady."
She giggled and picked him up, walking a few feet to her car. "Come on, let's go." She got in the car and began driving. Once they had reached their destination, she jumped out and asked Alfred to stay in.
Her heels made a clicking sound as they hit the pavement.
Click, click, click.
Alas, it was possible.
The gravestone looked new, almost as if she had just been buried recently. How could her son not know? She might've been murdered for all anyone knew.
She picked up the flowers, poppies, that sat next to the grave and began walking back to the car.
"Alfred," She said when she arrived at the vintage Ford, leaning down. She handed him the flowers, smiling gently. "Your mum went to a beautiful place... A Golden Palace... And she sent me to be your new mom."
Alfred looked devastated. "My mom... She didn't want me?"
"No, no!" Alice said, shaking her head and encasing his tiny palms in her delicate hands. "She wanted to share her amazing son with another mum." She whispered, smiling, although her heart was breaking.
After all, it was just a few months ago that the doctor had told her she was infertile, or unable to carry a child.
A child had always been her dream. But she wasn't able to have one. This was her chance, right?
"O-Okay..." The boy said, sniffing a bit, before smiling at Alice and wrapping his tiny arms around her neck.
"Let's go home." She whispered, getting in the car and driving home.
"Alfred?" Alice chimed, walking into the room.
"Yes mom?" He asked, obviously lacking energy.
"Are you feeling alright? I assure you if you aren't, we can fix that," She said, kneeling by him. "We can get you right into th-"
"Mom, I'm okay. I just have a small cold."
Alice, however, was not convinced. "I'll take you to the doctor tomorrow morning."
And so she did. The doctor's was a few miles away, giving them time to go over the symptoms in the car.
"Stuffy nose, achy body, bruises, headaches?" Alice questioned, repeating the symptoms Alfred had mentioned.
"Yeah." He said, closing his eyes.
They arrived at the office, stepping in immediately to be hit by a wave of scent; gloves, sanitizer, and sickness. She grasped Alfred's hand, leading him towards the door.
"We're here for Doctor Palcina?" She whispered, the look of fright on her face, not able to be concealed.
"She'll be right out."
Alfred then managed to let a small "Mom" escape his lips before falling backwards.
"No, we need a doctor now! Hold on Alfred... Hold on..."
She did not want to see the truth.
Alfred had a very bad disease, one with the long names hardly anyone can remember. They had given her the papers. She refused to read them. She did not want to read the details.
She did not want to read the truth.
After all of this... After he survived days on his own, without his mom, why this?
After all of this... After she had a miscarriage, lost her child due to infertility, why this?
The slow and steady beep of the machine was the only thing helping her to breathe.
Beep. Beep. Beep.
'He's still breathing.' She thought. She tilted her face upwards, pulling her hands down. Everything was blurry.
"Mom?" Alfred squeaked, looking over at Alice.
"Yes?" She choked, trying not to cry in front of the boy.
"Don't cry mom," He said, smiling. "It'll be okay."
She winced, clutching her shirt and holding her breath.
'It'll be okay.'
She placed some towers, poppies, the same kind she had found on his mother's grave, on the table beside Alfred. She had asked a doctor to get her some earlier.
"You're right," She smiled. "It will be okay."
Alfred giggled, soon beginning a coughing fit. Alice rushed to Alfred before he swallowed deeply and claimed he was alright.
'I need to stop being afraid and put on my glasses so I can see my son.' Alice thought, reaching for her red glasses. As she put them on, her heart cracked down the middle.
Her boy, in a hospital bed, looking miserable.
"Hey mom." He whispered, turning to face her.
"Hm?" She said, holding back her tears and biting down on her lip.
"Don't cry. I'm going to the Golden Palace, okay? I'm doing what my mom did... She wanted to share me with another mom...
So I'm going to share the best mom in the world with another son. I love you."
And with that, the machine went flat, and Alice claims to still hear the monotone beep- in her nightmares.
To a beautiful boy.
As she held the boy in her arms, she began to cry. Tears of sadness, and tears of joy. She looked down at her baby boy, smiling, shining.
"Welcome into the world, Alfred."