Birth of Our Sleuth
It was a four in the morning on the twenty-ninth of August 1996 and pouring with rain. Forty-one-year-old Derek Ward didn’t care. He had to get to the hospital and fast. His thoughtful hazel eyes betrayed an excitement about this particular trip. The Detective Chief Inspector, had blonde comb parted, blonde hair and a kind looking, round yet craggy face. He was driving his Citroen a little faster than usual, much to the chagrin of his geography teacher wife, Joanne.
“Slow down you old fool, you’ll get us killed!” she moaned while gripping her cherry red bob of hair in fear of her life.
“Relax, I didn’t do my police accredited emergency and extreme driving courses, for nothing,” Derek laughed as he pulled passed a slow-moving Ka. The little hatchback had only been on the road for a few weeks and was a nice little vehicle. Joanne glared at him, she always had a bone or two to pick with everybody that was the problem. “We need to get to the hospital to see our miracle don’t we?”
Joanne groaned again. “Yes, we bloody do! In your car and not an ambulance or hearse if you don’t mind!” she snapped. Derek just grinned as he indicated into Potters Road. Ahead the tall square tower block of the Norfolk and Broadland Hospital loomed against the angry dark sky. Its multitude of white windows were brightly lit. In one of those rooms up there, a little miracle was taking place as he drove on.
It was a further ten minutes until they arrived and parked in the hospital carpark. They would have been quicker, had Derek not harangued a driver for being too old and slow to bloody well, drive, not far from the car park gate. The detective’s heart rate was sky high with emotion, that was the trouble. Wasting no time, he leapt from the car wearing his trademark, thigh length graphite-grey trench coat and took his wife’s hand. He almost pulled her off her feet as he headed for the hospital entrance at speed.
They didn’t quite get inside before she stopped him in his tracks. Joanne was pointing at a sign.
“Sorry darling, but this a pay and display carpark and you didn’t get a ticket,” she said. Derek shook his head,
“Ah knickers! Go on up, I’ll be right behind you.” Derek grumbled at his own impatience slowing him down. He cursed himself all the way back across the carpark, after leaving Joanne. He soon had a ticket from the parking meter, installed in his car. Now he was legally parked he jogged inside the hospital. Straight around to the lifts, he went without getting lost in the maze of corridors. He knew this place like the back of his hand, having been here hundreds of times. Not for family reasons but to interview victims of heinous, sadistic and sometimes distressing crimes. Today he hit the button for the miracle ward and rose up twelve floors to it. Today’s trip was for all the right reasons and it was going to be a proud day for him and his family.
The lift doors opened onto a dated yet bright hallway. The walls were white, but in need of a coat of paint, having been hit by many a gurney or wheelchair. Stopping on to the white tiled floor, Derek allowed a heavily pregnant lady to waddle past.
“That’s it, Gemma sweetheart, keep pacing until you feel ready to go to the birthing room.” encouraged her husband. Derek wished them well, then approached the reception. There he found a stressed looking nurse, with ginger hair. She was flicking through paperwork in a hurried and irritated fashion.
“Excuse me.” began the detective. The nurse didn’t look round before speaking.
“If you’re planning on giving birth, I suggest you ask your baby to wait twenty-four hours! We’re up to our ears in here this morning, it’s crazy,” she answered in a tired voice. “Aha at last,” she added, with relief as she extracted a large brown patient’s chart from the enormous pile.
“Hmm if I start having a baby, it’ll go stark raving bonkers in here, I reckon.” Derek laughed at the thought.
The nurse blanched at the stentorian male voice.
“Oh, sorry sir, I was preoccupied.” The nurse became flustered over her mistake and covered her eyes for a moment.
“No problem, I’m looking for my daughter Carrie Ward please.”
“Then congratulations, sir. Please go through the double doors there. She’s in the pink ward to the right.” the nurse smiled and dashed away, still looking embarrassed. Derek couldn’t help feeling nervous and excited at the same time while following his directions. He pushed through the doors into a corridor with a nasty flickering fluorescent light and a strong disinfectant smell.
Joanne in her green wool, cardigan intercepted him a few steps later. “There you are Derek.” filled with excitement, she had a loud squeal in her voice. “We have a granddaughter!”
Derek was so elated, he was speechless. He swept Joanne up in a big hug and kissed her in a surge of love and bliss. With a smile a mile wide, he bounded into the ward.
Amid the sounds of new-born babies crying and mothers giving birth, Derek found a beaming young man, with side, swept dark, brown almost black hair.
“Good morning Derek, your granddaughter is beautiful. Carrie did an amazing job giving birth to her,” he announced as the two shook hands.
Derek wiped his eyes. “Good to see you and congratulations Keith.” he beamed at Carrie’s husband. Standing in jeans and a crinkled white shirt, he looked exhausted. His dark blue eyes were red and he needed a shave and so he should. He’d been awaiting the birth of his daughter since just past nine that evening. Keith Mackay, a handyman and carpenter from Stafford had met Carrie during a family holiday. He was a boy of barely sixteen then and Carrie the same age. The two had made a strong connection during that holiday. It showed just under two years later when he suddenly appeared in Broadland City. He’d decided he had to be with her and move down to stay. Just four months ago, less than a year after he arrived the two secretly got married having feared repercussions from Carrie’s parents. When Carrie told them she also mentioned she was pregnant. Boy did she get an ear bashing from her mother, Joanne for that one! Despite the row, this was to be a defining and wonderful moment for the family. What grandparent wouldn’t be delighted to be given a beautiful granddaughter?
“Thanks, come and meet your granddaughter.” Keith led the way to Carrie’s bedside. Eighteen-year-old, Carrie had her long shiny black hair in a bun. She was sat up and glowing with pride upon her hospital bed. Derek wasn’t expecting the blue hospital gown she was wearing. He was so used to his daughter wearing her pretty dresses. She beamed at her dad while breastfeeding his granddaughter with the biggest, proudest smile on her glowing face.
“Congratulations Carrie darling, how was the birth?” Derek asked while staying back with respect. He would allow the baby girl to finishing feeding before meeting her for the first time.
“It was beautiful and natural, miraculous and rather bloody painful!” Carrie chucked and gave new daughter and loving smile.
“Then you must have done a perfect job,” Derek remarked with Joanne hugging him now.
It was a short while before the little girl finished her feed. As soon as she did Derek took her gently into his arms for the first time. He sat down in the chair that held his trench coat and studied her, looking proud as could be. He was holding what he believed was the most beautiful baby girl, he had ever seen, next to Carrie. She looked up at him through darling icy blue eyes and had the cutest smile. She was serene and perfect in every way, to the elated detective.
“Her name is, Holly Carolyn, after her great grandmother,” Carrie announced in a soft voice.
“As she is your first special granddaughter, she will be a Ward, as well,” added Keith from beside him. His eyes glued to his daughter as if he’d never look at anything else again.
Derek loved that name, he had another in mind though. “You have a perfect name, Holly. To me, though you shall always be my Treasure,” he told the little girl through teary eyes. He gently kissed her soft forehead and smiled for she had taken hold of his nose in her oh so gentle grip.
“Holly, is perfect indeed, she will be a treasure to us all,” Joanne agreed. She took her first hold of her granddaughter and looked upon her with great adoration. “I feel that I’m holding a girl with an epic life ahead of her,” she added over the cutest of gurgles made by baby Holly.
“Thank you, for such a perfect granddaughter Carrie. I’m so proud of you and Keith.” Derek hugged and kissed Carrie on the forehead. He felt the proudest father and grandfather on the planet, just then. Even if the sound of screaming, mothers in birth was giving him a headache!
Carrie took his hand in hers. “It’s our pleasure dad. I’m sorry if you think I married and had my daughter too young, but everything felt just right. I know, our little angel will prove to be a wonderful addition to our family,” she said.
“Look so long as you, Keith and baby Holly are happy and healthy. Your dad and I are delighted for you both,” replied Joanne, fetching a baby wipe to tend the new-born with.
“I couldn’t agree more, we’re both so happy for the two of you and wish you magical parenthood. Now, Joanne, you realise I’m going to have to spend every penny I earn on our little Treasure, don’t you?” Derek added in adoration.
“You bloody better. I’ll be stealing your wallet and spending your money on her if you don’t.” Joanne retorted, making everybody laugh. The next second she was glaring as a stark ringtone disturbed the peace. “Derek, why did you have to get one of those bloody new-fangled phones? They’re so distracting!” she scolded him. In her arms baby, Holly gurgled and tried a smile making her grandmother soften again.
Derek ignored his phone, to begin with, choosing to hold his granddaughter again instead. He knew then, what true happiness was. With her in his arms, he couldn’t stop smiling. He would never feel happier, than when he was spending time with his granddaughter, from that day on. He imagined teaching her the wonders of the world. He would show how to crack codes and write new ones while doting on her every day. He would teach her the ways he caught criminals and best of all take her on adventures, wherever she wanted to go. Derek looked into those enchanting icy blue eyes and realised he was holding a baby angel, and then the bloody phone rang again.
“Either answer that sodding thing or chuck it out the window, man!” Joanne snapped. Derek sighed and shook his head,
“Oh alright I’m going. Can’t a granddad get any bloody piece with his precious granddaughter!” the enamoured detective rose from his chair. “There, you go back to Mummy a while. Granddad will be right back to look after you.”
“You can’t keep her you know. She’s my precious daughter.” Carrie told him with a wink. Keith chose that moment to sit alongside her and spend some time with his girls.
“Well, we see about that, dear daughter.” Derek gave her a proud kiss. “I won’t be long,” he added before stepping away to yell at his caller for ruining his magical moment. What he didn’t know, was his caller need help with a mystery. One that wouldn’t be solved until baby Holly, became Sleuth Holly and the cat creature entered her life.
To learn more about how Holly grew to be the enchanting and intrepid mystery solver, that she is today. Head over to Amazon and purchase her story right now on: Amazon