Crime Horror Suspense

CW: child abuse


           “I think it is time for us to have a baby.” I straighten my back and took in a long steady breath before speaking. The smell of fresh flowers mixed with meat sauce and salad dressing on the table filled my nostril.

           My voice echoed in a room so quiet. I scooped up some salad into my mouth, wincing as I swallowed: I might put too much dressing for his liking. I hoped it wasn’t going to ruin his mood. My husband finished chewing his last bite of spaghetti: he no longer cared about eating too much carbs after the wedding. The corner of his lips twitched upward into the first smile of the night: “I was going to bring that up soon. I am glad you saved me the trouble.” He paused for a minute, trying hard to find something to say: “Oh, you remember our company dog? He made a mess in the manager’s room today…” It wasn’t particularly funny, but our exaggerated laughter filled the dining room.

           This was the happiest night for us in a long time. It had been 6 months since we were married, and recently it became harder to keep a conversation going. Not tonight though, he kept trying to find things to talk about: “Have you thought about baby names?” I hid my smirk: “Of course a baby would do the trick!” I thought to myself as he wrapped his arms around me in bed—another thing he hadn’t done in a long time. Confidence settled, I drifted into peaceful slumber without hearing any more echo.


           I was never a fan for kids. I grew up with three sisters who thought me as nothing but a competitor. Every time after losing a fight with my sisters, I would cry inside the closet. Praying someone would find me and wipe my tears away. It never happened. One time I cracked open the living room door slightly, the entire family was there laughing at some comedy. No one even realized that I was gone. Since then, I started to hear this echo like the sound of something hollow being knocked on: like knocking on a piece of china to find out if it was good quality.

           I was desperate to escape my parent’s home and start my own family. After college, I went on countless dates in search for a suitable husband: Someone that was mine alone, no one can share him with me, and could fill my hollowed inside. Six months later, I found the right one: he proposed to me not long after we met, and I said yes right away. After a rather small celebration, I was living my dream: He would cook me a three course meal for breakfast every morning, pack me bento lunch could blow up Instagram, and surprise me with flowers every week. On weekends, we would sleep in until noon, roll in bed for some nap time and try the newly opened restaurants for dinner.

           Dreams were meant to be woken up though. Three months later, the sparks quickly dead down. We started showing each other true colors: He was an early riser; I was a night owl. He ate his salad plain while I hogged the dressing and spices bottles. He exercised on weekends when I like to sleep in. At first, we accommodated each other. Soon it felt easier to make space for our preferences. We cooked individually, ate separately, and slept in different rooms. Since we spent less time together, we barely spoke to each other. Our room used to be filled with sound of talking and laughter, now it quietly reflected the noise of our daily lives. That echo was back, and it became stronger.

           If only there was a way to fill the empty space… I looked around the room looking for answers. Among the pictures hanging on the wall, I narrowed my eyes at the one and only family portrait of my family: Was it time to have a kid?


           Having a baby wasn’t as hard as some people pictured: We conceived a perfectly healthy baby after two months of trying. My whole pregnancy went smoothly like a hot knife sliced into fresh chocolate mousse cake. Everyone spoiled me with anything I wanted. The echo seemed to stop.

           Since I grew up with girls, I prayed for a little boy. I dreamed about a little man that could wear matching suits with his daddy, I could watch the two of them play soccer in the park, and he would always jump in front of me in case of danger. A part of me was happy that we seemed to go back to our honeymoon phase since the beginning of my pregnancy. Yet another part was scared that it wouldn’t last. The echo would sometimes come back and linger. My prayers weren’t answered: I gave birth to a girl. I knew the second I heard that high pitched cry: so loud and ungraceful. I refused to hold her when the nurse handed her to me: I couldn’t accept the reality. I needed to raise this little baldhead into some proper lady and watch her stealing all the love from her daddy? The thought made my blood pressure rise. Look at what she had done: freshly born and already caused me troubles. The nurses laughed when I told them I wanted a boy. What do they know! How would they know about my pain?

           She was nothing but trouble the first three months: Her cries were my alarm clock; my arms were her rocking chair; and my boobs were her meal plus chew toy. The only comfort I received was my husband. The first time he held the baby, he looked at me with loving eyes: “I couldn’t thank you enough for bringing this little angel.” He said with a tender smile. I smiled back: the echo became fainter. Maybe having a little girl wasn’t so bad, I thought.


           I was proven wrong again: Having a girl was the worst. The baby never escaped any weather change without getting sick. The doctors said her immune system was not fully developed yet and being on formula milk since she was two months old was not helping either. What could I do? I couldn’t handle the pain of breastfeeding in the middle of the night again! I had enough!

           Taking her to the hospital was also dreadful: all the sick kids coughing and crying, she woke up every five minutes. We would wait at least two hours until the doctor would see us for five minutes. After every hospital trip, I felt like I was going to be sick too. Sometimes I watched her sleeping soundly in the car seat on our way home, I get the urge to pinch those lotus-like legs to give her a taste of what I went through.

           When I complained to the people around me, they all looked at me with disbelief: “I couldn’t believe you would say such a thing about your baby!” That sneaky little two-faced bastard! She always put on a sweet and innocent smile in front of everyone else, leaving me with all the cries and dirty diapers. There is that echo again! It came back and haunted me after the baby was born.

           This situation went on for a few months. I started to hear that echo more often. Until one night, everything turned upside down. I had given her the daily dose of medicine, and the last task I needed to do was putting some prescribed eye drops in her before I could hop into a long bath. She wriggled under my hands, letting out a soft squeak. I propped her left eye open and squeezed the bottle twice. She started to fight back, cried at the top of her lungs. I moved my hands to her other eye, my manicured nails chipped under she struggles. I squeezed the bottle again. There! I had finished my work of the day. I hummed as I put away the pill bottles, her screams echoed in the background like a lullaby.

           Her cries went on for a good ten minutes. My husband appeared at the doorway: “Can’t you control the baby? It’s late, the neighbors will complain!” He said while rubbing sleepiness out of his eyes. “She will calm down. The eye drops stings a bit when you first put it in.” I rolled my eyes quietly, taking out my silk bath robe from the closet. “But it’s been ten minutes! What kind of eye drops did you use?” he exclaimed, walking closer to the crib and trying to take a better look at her eyes. I rolled my eyes again and tossed him the pink bottle I used. He adjusted the glasses sitting on his nose bridge, immediately his face fell: “This isn’t eye drops!” he snapped: “This is jewelry cleanser!” He dropped the bottle and propped the baby’ eyes open. “Oh god! Her eyes are bloody red!” He gave me the coldest glare. “Look at what you have done!”

           Fear gripped me heart. He never even raised his voice when he was upset. Now he was yelling for someone else? Before I realized what happened, he carried the baby out. His shouting bounced off the wall: “What are you doing just standing there! We need to get her to the hospital!” I blinked my tears away and gathered the baby bag thinking to myself: “Would he be this worried if I was the one needing hospital care?”

           The smell of chlorine at the hospital always gave me goosebumps. I sat nervously on the freezing cold bench next to my husband, who cradled that screaming baby in his arms while the nurse filled out a form. “How much eye drops did you put in each eye?” The baby faced nurse turned and asked me, glancing at me like I was an irresponsible mother. How rude! She didn’t know what it was like to be a mother! “About two drops in each.” I replied, “And how long has it been since you put the first drop in?” I rolled my eyes at that question. Who kept track of time anymore! “I don’t remember? Is it necessary to know?” I crossed my arms: “Just rinse her eyes with some water and she should be fine right?” The nurse looked at me like I said something unforgivable. “Madame, the eye drops may have damaged your daughter’s cornea. She might need surgery or cornea transplant. This is a serious matter. Now, please recall the information I asked. I will come back.” The nurse took off after that. Oh terrific! I didn’t even get the chance to ask her how long it would be until a doctor would see us! I pouted as she walked away.

           “Could you give me a hand?” I looked up and saw him handing me the swaddle. “There goes my good jacket.” I thought to myself as I laid her on my right shoulder. Time was dreadful in the emergency room at night. Constant screaming, loud crying and occasional noises made my nerves ache. My husband buried his head in his hands. I could tell he was nervous: he was shaking his knees, drumming his thumbs on his temples, and looking up at the doctor’s office’s door every five seconds.

           “Relax, she will be fine.” I tried to ease his mind. It was the best I could do: My bath was going to be cold when we get home! “How could you say that? You heard the nurse! She might need surgery!” He sat up and looked at me with bloodshot eyes. “She was assuming the worst. Doctors always do that. It was not a big deal.” I tried harder to enlighten the mood: “You think you can take the day off and watch her tomorrow? I really need to catch up on some beauty sleep.” It didn’t seem to work. “Unbelievable.” His glaze pierced right through me: “Our daughter might need surgery! And you are thinking about beauty rest? What kind of mother are you?” I stared into his eyes with disbelief: “It was a small mistake! Everyone makes mistakes! Don’t blame them all on me!” The baby started crying at my outburst, what a jerk. I rubbed her back slightly, when she didn’t stop and vomited strawberry goo on my cashmere jacket: that was the last straw. I tossed her into my husband’s lap. “I didn’t even want to be a mother! Look what you made me do!” The aggravation since her birth finally got to me: I put my head in my lap and burst into tears.

          After a long pause, the doctor called the baby’s name. My husband stood up, baby in his hands, looking down on me giving me his last remarks: “I need to rethink about this marriage.” I froze on the spot, couldn’t believe what he said. What I thought was a perfect buffer to our marriage, turned out to be the sole reason that drove us apart.


           I didn’t remember how we got home. The damage of the cornea would be determined by an eye specialist tomorrow.. For once, I was grateful to be back in this room with smell of baby vomit and diapers. My husband disappeared into the baby room the minute. I rolled on my side, debating whether to shower again or just change into my pajamas and call it a night.

           The living room door squeaked quietly. He came out of our room, blankets and pillows in his hand. “What are you doing?” I exclaimed wearily. “Quiet! I just put her down for the night.” He glared at me unpleasantly: “I’m going to sleep in the study, until we figure out what to do.” My eyes widened at that last sentence: “We are still on that page? It’s been a long night. I don’t want to fight about it anymore!” I threw my arms up in defeat. He put the beddings on the armchair next to me and took in a long breath before speaking to me: “This is not over. You made a big mistake today and it made me question your character. We need to talk about this matter after our baby gets proper treatment.”

           I shivered, remembering what he had said at the hospital: “Talk about what?” “Well, whether or not you can be a good mother to our kid.” He rolled his eyes slightly like I asked a stupid question. “And if I can’t?” My voice shivered. Tears began rimming from the corner of my eyes. “I would have no choice but to file for divorce. I don’t want to be married to someone that would harm our baby and not feel a tinge of regret.” Those words felt like a flow of ice cold water that dipped me from head to toe. I struggled for air, unable to move long after he left the room. The only sound I heard was my heavy breathing and the clock ticking echoing in the empty living room.


           I lost track of time sitting on the couch. When I finally regained my consciousness, the sun was peeking through the curtains. My eyes bone dried they could start dripping blood. I heard him snoring in the study. “How could he sleep this soundly after dropping that bombshell on me?” I glanced at the baby room door. “He loved her so much, he would divorce me.” I rose to my feet and let them carried me to the kitchen. The smell of rotten garbage, spilled milk powder, and vomit made me gag. “It was all hear fault!” I screamed in my head: “If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be stuck in this mess and clean after an ungrateful little bastard who did nothing but wrecking my marriage!” Anger filled my mind as I reached a hand into the knife drawer.

           I made my way into the baby’s room. The smell of milk odor, sweat and vomit became more apparent. Quietly, I stood beside crib where the monster was sleeping. She slept in a surrender style: hands rose to either side of her head. Maybe it was her way of saying sorry? Who was she kidding? She destroyed my marriage! She thought she could make it slide with a simple sorry?

           I took one last look at her face: The baby fat on each cheek was plumped like a sun kissed apple. I raised one hand to my own face. Barely touching, I could feel the fine lines and bumps with my fingertips. I could barely contain my anger any longer: Not only she destroyed my marriage, she took away my youthful sprit! Soon she would replace me, steal my husband and no one would remember an old ugly witch like me… No! I refused to let that happen!

           I raised the knife in my hand.

           I squeezed my eyes shut so I wouldn’t think about the bloody mess that I had to clean up later.

August 28, 2021 02:32

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17:56 Sep 02, 2021

Oh my goodness what a twist ending!! I would love to see a part 2 to this and see what happens next. Really good writing! left me speechless at the end. Keep it up!!😀


Floria Yang
03:16 Sep 04, 2021

Thank you for your kind words! Your comment means a lot to me! I am in the process of turning this into a novel. I hope to hear your thoughts on my other works! Thanks again :)


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