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Monday, July 25, 2011

From "The Sixth Seed" by Lee Allen Howard

The Sixth SeedAt the end of his rope, Tom Furst contemplates his family's spiraling circumstances and his wife's difficult pregnancy:

Melanie had been virtually comatose since lunch. Late that afternoon, he’d slipped into the bedroom to check on her and laid his hand on her warm belly. She didn’t stir. Faintly, almost imperceptibly, he felt the baby move. It made him smile.

His smile had died when he felt the child trace the outline of his outspread hand.

Stinging tears splashed over his cheeks and onto his bare chest. He let them come, swell, die.

“Why, God. Why? Why has all this happened?” He buried his face in his hands. “Are we going down the tubes? What have I done wrong?”

He cried harder, his shoulders racked with sobs he tried to keep silent. He prayed for forgiveness, for help. When the weeping subsided and a calm exhaustion settled over him, he rose and started upstairs.

From above, creaking. He froze.

Someone walking. Then a throaty retching, splattering, followed by something thudding on the floor.

He shook off his fear and ran up the stairs.

Gurgling with delirium, Melanie lay sprawled on the bathroom floor, clutching her swollen belly.

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