Cries ~ 1

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The first time, at 10:37 pm, the cries were fast and furious. Furious, like an evil thirst for life and fast, as it ended as soon as it started. You can almost ignore it. But Mia Thurman didn't. She could hear the crying, so clear, so vigilant, and so calling. It was calling her. But the speed of it masked it's call.

"The baby must be keeping our new neighbors up all night," she said.

"What baby?" her husband, Thomas asked.

"You know, the new neighbors' baby. They just moved in yesterday. Pay attention to what's happening around, Tom," she said, trying to hide her annoyance.

But Thomas had spent enough time with her to realize the taste of her words. "Maybe I will, Mia, when I can finally put the fear of never having a child away." With that, he sat up, found his shirt and walked out of the bedroom, leaving a sobbing Mia in the bed.

Mia and Thomas have been married 10 years. They had had a wonderful marriage at first. They loved each other very much. It had all been perfect. Until the subject of a baby came. They have been trying ever since the night of their wedding. But they were not blessed with a child. They consulted doctors, therapists, churches, temples, anywhere and everywhere. But they could neither find a solution, nor a baby. The doctors had said that there was no problem whatsoever in either of them. But there was a problem. The problem was in their minds.

Mia's mind was filled with the fear of history repeating itself. Her mother had died giving birth to her. And her grandmother had died giving birth to her mother. It was like a curse. And Mia was too scared to even share the fear with Thomas.

Thomas's mind was filled with the fear of becoming his dad. His father had never shown affection to him. he treated Thomas like he was just a thing he should discipline. He never uttered 'I am proud of you, son'. Even when he graduated, his father said, 'You should get employed well; I'm not helping you anymore.'

But they had both wanted a child. These fears masked their minds from trying with whole heart, but that was just in the beginning. As years started to pass by, they had fallen out of love. Now they were just two people desperately wanting a child, but forgetting the reason they wanted it for: to be a symbol of their love.

***

The second time, the cries were louder, more painful and they lasted a minute longer than the previous night. But it was at the same time of the night. At 10:37 pm. Thomas was not home that night, he was off to an office party, the one they keep every Friday, or so he had said.

Mia was alone, sprawled in her bed, wide awake, repeating the cacophony of the baby's cries inside her head. Strangely, she felt a harmony in them.

"I should visit their house tomorrow," she told aloud to herself.

And so, the next day, she was up at 7, finished the chores by 8, and sent Thomas off to his boss's golf course by 9.

By 9:30, she was knocking at the door of her neighbors, with apple pie in hand. After a casual wait of five minutes, she turned to leave, but the cry stopped her. The baby's cry pulled her back. She didn't think. She just twisted the door knob.

And it opened.

Not thinking about the mystery of the open door, she rushed inside, with the sound of the cries as her compass. She soon reached the nursery. When she entered, she saw a plain white room, with a baby closet and a pink crib. When she peeped inside the crib, she gasped.

The baby was almost invisible, it's skin as pink as the blanket it was wrapped on. "Sh...Shh..." she whispered, and swayed the crib, her motherly instincts taking over. Surprisingly for her, the baby stopped crying. Now, it was wide awake, looking directly into Mia's blue eyes. Mia noticed the chocolate brown eyes gazing at her, and smiled.

"Oh my dear doll, you like me, don't you? Oh Princess, where's your mom?" She asked, talking in an animated baby voice.

The baby raised her small arms, wanting to be lifted. She looked at Mia with pleading eyes, and made beautiful baby noises, that made Mia's heart warm.

"Oh my darling, you want to be lifted huh? Come here, sweetie!" She said as she lifted her along with the pink blanket wrapped around her. She carefully placed the baby in her arms, cuddling the cute little doll within her arms.

"You are so perfect, you know that? Oh my beautiful baby," she whispered as she swayed her in her arms. The baby stared at Mia's face, scanning it like a computer. And then, she raised her small hands and touched Mia's cheeks.

Mia smiled. "You like me, don't you honey? Oh, Mia likes you too, sweetie..."

The baby smiled, and brought her thumb to her mouth.

"Let's find your mommy, shall we?" Mia said and walked out of the nursery.

She searched all through the living room, the bedroom, the bathroom, the backyard... When she stepped into the kitchen, she felt something in her gut. That she shouldn't go there. And, as if right on cue, the baby started crying.

"Sh... Sweetie... It's okay... We'll find mommy..." She swayed her arms. When she turned, she gasped.

There lay a corpse. A dying body of a woman. Her eyes were stunned. Her face was frozen in horror. She was writhing on the floor, clutching her stomach. When Mia's gaze traveled from her face to her stomach, she saw blood.

Blood was oozing out of her stomach. It soaked through the middle of her light blue dress and spilled on her sides. It was all over the floor, all over her hands which lay on top of the resource of the spill. She lay still, like a dead figure. Mia thought she was in fact dead, but still she had the blind audacity to take a step forward.

She kneeled in front of her and looked at her in sheer shock and fear. Her light brown eyes were stunted in moment and her lips paved open a little. All voluntary actions of her body seemed to have ceased. It was not a pretty sight to watch in spite of her beautiful jet black hair and the good looking facial features which were now just an attractive entry gate to a barren land with no life. Yet, Mia couldn't look away from her.

Suddenly, the woman on the floor jerked. Mia gasped and took a step back in shock.

The woman looked at Mia, and then at the baby. She raised her right arm towards the baby, motioning her to come forward. But Mia's legs were rooted to the ground, and her mind at the brim of flight and fright hormones.

That was until the woman whispered something to the panicking Mia.

"Rae..." she pointed to the child and whispered. That melted something inside the childless woman's heart. Dying or not, the woman on the floor was the mother of the baby. And she wanted to bid her child goodbye. Who was she to stop a mother from her child?

That thought made Mia take a step forward and lean in. The baby was wailing now. The woman touched the baby's child with her blood stained hands. "Take care of Rae..." she whispered to Mia. She nodded, and then the woman took her hands from the baby's head to her lips and kissed it.

Then she slowly closed her eyes.

Mia watched it all... And then, she took a step back, shaking with fear now. She walked back till she reached the window. She rested her head on it, panting heavily.

She could hear her heartbeat, along with the clock on the kitchen. The seconds ticked by, with the pumping of the blood. When the clock struck ten, the gong struck a loud bell, and the glass of her window shattered. She cried and took a step away, and when she turned, she saw that there was no woman on the floor. Only blood. No woman.

She shouted, so loudly that the whole world could hear. But nothing happened. She could see nothing; not the broken glass pieces, not the clock, not the baby, nothing but the blood.

She passed out, right there. She locked herself out from the blood on the floor, the glass pieces near the window and the clock striking 10 times. She also locked herself from the smile playing on the baby's lips.
***

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