Spokane, Washington, 2001 — Morning sunlight shone through the uncovered window, spilling onto the pale yellow walls and giving the room a soft glow.

A tiny hand reached up toward the mobile hanging above the crib, and a giggle sounded from within.

“Look who’s up bright and early,” Lizzie said as she came inside the room. Upon seeing her, eight-month-old Junior squealed with delight.

Smiling, she picked him up and tucked him into the crook of her arm, gently swaying back-and-forth.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a figure approach and turned to see her husband leaning against the doorway, a soft smile on his face.

“What?” she asked. Henry just shrugged and said nothing. Lizzie walked over, intending to give Junior to him.

But the moment her hand brushed Henry’s arm, he vanished. Startled, she stepped back, clutching Junior a little tighter.


The light faded from the room, putting mother and son into complete darkness. Lizzie felt her legs weaken. Then the weight of her son left her arms and she looked down to find them empty.

“Henry! Junior!” Lizzie abruptly sat up, throwing her sheets into a disarray. The other side of the bed was empty, as it had been since their son’s birth.


Her bare feet hit the cool wood floor as she bolted down the hall to her son’s room. She slowed as she approached the crib and looked inside.

Junior slept peacefully, blissfully unaware to his mother’s dream-turned-nightmare. Lizzie sat down in the rocking chair with a thud, relieved he was safe.

Moonlight filtered through the partially open blinds, creating lines of light on the walls and furniture. Lizzie leaned against the back of the rocking chair and closed her eyes.

Next thing she knew, she was being awakened by the morning sun, along with her son’s squeals and giggles as he tried to reach the mobile hanging above his crib.

©H.S. Kylian 2018

(Critiques are welcome and appreciated!)

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