Michael stood at the foot of their bed, looking down at his wife with a million thoughts flitting through his head. It had been almost two months since they’d buried little Andrew, and not a day went by that he didn’t find her standing her standing outside his nursery, that far away look in her eyes.
Two truly was too young die, but then, was there really an where it would be acceptable. Though death was an inevitability, it was still something humans fought against. That their child was stolen from them had been a terrible blow, but the tragedy, he felt, lay in the circumstances of his son’s death. Such a little thing, he thought, as he made his way into the blue and green nursery room.
The exterminator had shown up two days too late, and the black widow spider which had crept into the crib had passed its venom into the small body that lay within it. There hadn’t even been any screams to alert them to the danger. She was right. We should have let him sleep with us, but we let Mother persuade us… He cut off that train of thought with an angry shake of his head.
Everyone had suffered from little Andrew’s death, most especially his mother. She had blamed herself for pushing the issue, but that was as far as laying blame went. Abby, with her gentle soul, had comforted the woman, promising her that she held no one responsible for her son’s death.
He wished, suddenly, as he began taking down the little wooden blocks that spelled out his son’s name, that there was someone to blame. Anyone, really, just so long as there was an outlet. Someone to carry the brunt of their hurt, so that it wouldn’t consume his wife, as he knew it was. He wasn’t fooled by her soft promises of the future. He saw the shadows in her eyes, heard her whispers in the night that soon, soon, they would be together. He held no delusions over whom it was she was speaking of. Not little Blair, who would be making her appearance in only two months. No, she meant their son.
He paused next to the crib, running his fingers over the hand-carved railing. It was older than he was, and all of his brothers and sisters, all six of them, had been laid down to sleep in the very same crib. So why was it, then, that it was his son that never woke up?
The sudden fury that swept through him, the rage that had been simmering just below the surface since that morning when his wife’s screams had dragged him from a deep sleep into the midst of a living nightmare, exploded out of him, and his fist crashed into the wall, caving a small section in. The wood splintered inward, dragging through his hand and wrecking a havoc of it’s own.
The pain did nothing to stop the overwhelming sense of despair and helplessness that crashed through him. His son was dead, his wife was slowly slipping away from him and he a daughter on the way who would, if he couldn’t figure out how to stop it, be growing up without her mother. He wouldn’t have Abby committed; that would destroy her, but knowing that she was plotting her own death, even if it was passively, was destroying him. It was eating him alive from the inside out and the thought of losing them both was driving him to the brink of insanity.
Christ, I don’t even know anything about little girls. I can’t braid hair or pick out dresses. He knew these were little things, trivial pieces of nonsense that were trying to blot out the bigger picture; life without Abby, his high school sweetheart and the complement to his soul.