Katlynn- Kitty- my sweet little girl. She was seven with a twinkle in her eyes and a dimpled smile that mirrored my own from when I was that age. She was my mini-me with a matching birthmark on her back and short brown hair. Her eighth birthday was coming around the corner faster this year than it had before, and I had been picking up some extra shifts at work so I could do something big for her. I was figuring Chuck E Cheese and a massive birthday cake with Tony Stark plastered across the top. Hours of games and tickets would be perfect for her since we don’t normally get to do much together.
With the extra work, though, came extra exhaustion. Days off became rare, so when I finally had one, I figured I’d sleep in an extra hour. Where would be the harm in that, right? There wouldn’t be.
Or… so I thought.
The sound of my alarm clock drilled into my skull like nails across the chalkboard, so I slammed my hand down on the snooze. To my displeasure, the demise of my alarm clock did not bring forth any silence. There was a drumming sound, soft, but enough to vibrate through the walls. The gears in my barely conscious brain began to churn, trying to place the sound. My heart, on the other hand, placed it quickly. At least it placed the location.
I tore my covers off of my body, allowing an awakening cold to washed over me as I scrambled to the bedroom next to mine. Kitty’s bedroom. Nearly kicking her door in, I enter like a mad explosion. My eyes began to scan for Kitty, not spotting her at her Star Wars bed or her stickered up pink desk, but in a corner. She was on the ground, hunched over, contorted with her back arched and her arms stiff at her side.
“Kitty!” I shout, rushing her side and dropping to my knees, getting a bit of rug burn as I do. “Baby, what’s wrong?!”
Her body begins to twitch, feet kicking the walls, recreating the sound that my heart knew could only be the opening act to my nightmare.
In a panic, I felt for my phone and whispering a shaky curse as I remembered it was back on my nightstand. A lump managed to lodge itself in my throat, and I knew I had to stand, to leave my little girl here alone. At a moment like this, courage was both easy and painful to muster, but as a mother who needed to save her child, I did what I had to.
As I moved to stand, Kitty stopped. She simply laid there, her deep brown eyes staring into mine. I saw there what no mother ever wants to see in her child’s eyes. Fear. A deep, unyielding fear that not only had a hold of her, but sucked me in as well. It was like being dropped into a vast well and hopelessly trying to find the sunlight when the cover has been placed over the opening.
Paralyzed, I stood there, helpless, my little girl still, but that was the outside. On the inside, my heart thrummed, ready to break free from my chest.
In a blink, my little girl began to convulse again and I shot out of her room. I dived for my cell at my nightstand, dialing for help and dashing back to my Kitty. By the time the operator answered, I was on my knees, sliding to Kitty, and pulling my little girl back into my arms, holding her head up.
I find my little girl’s eyes again as I open my mouth to speak, but suddenly, my tongue is dry. Words are lost. The sparkling life that lit up my little Kitty’s brown eyes waned and her body became heavy in my arms. It was as if I was supposed to carry her to bed, like she’d fallen asleep in my arms. She used to do that a lot when she was younger, but this feeling, this heaviness was quite different from then. This was not a heaviness from exhaustion, but from emptiness. The spirit that kept my little girl light and lifted was gone. I knew I’d never carry her to bed again, that I’d only ever carry her to the grave.
A stormy scream tore from my throat.
The operator’s voice fills my ears, but my senses are dulled. Sounds become mere dull hums, including my own scream, and I am numb to the touch as I clutch my child closer. Her head falls like a rock on my shoulder meeting no resistance. It’s the only sensation I have as I rock back and forth, voice given away to sobs and sight to wet darkness.
How did I let this happen? I should’ve woken up sooner. I could’ve saved her life, my baby girl, my Kitty. Too many hours were wasted at work that I could’ve spent with her, that I could’ve noticed something wrong. I could’ve saved her life. All I had to do was be with her, something she would’ve liked more than Chuck E Cheese. That big mouse wasn’t important. Toys, games, a big cake, none of that matters in the end.
It is the end. The end has arrived for my little girl and in the end, it didn’t matter. In the end, my baby, my Kitty, isn’t here to be happy or sad. She’s gone, just gone. Torn away from me.
A new kind of agony erupts in my chest, sending me deep into the downward spiral. That vast well of fear loosing is bottom and its darkness consuming me, tearing away any dreams I may have ever had of the future for me and my little Kitty. With her gone, there was nothing left for me. Nothing. She was my everything. Her laughter was the song that filled my life, voice my light, and needs my reason for being. All gone, right along with her.
My little girl. My Kitty.