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Dancing in the Rain (Prologue)
An hour after the sun had set, and the fog had hazed through the city, a man peered out his window and looked up at the sky. He wasn't a very large man, but he wasn't the smallest of them all, either. He had brown hair that he kept nice and tidy, and a muscled posture, of which he was very proud of. He was known for his optimism, of looking on the bright side of things. But not tonight. Tonight, as he stared out his window, squinting through the foggy haze that weaved around the buildings this night, he felt very pessimistic.
"Is she here yet, Timothy? " his wife asked from her birthing bed in the corner. Timothy glanced at her, small and fragile, covered with a fine sheen of sweat.
"No, dear. We're safe for now, " he replied.
"Father? " asked a small boy that huddled in the corner.
"Yes, Nicholas? " Timothy replied, smiling at the smear of dirt on the boy's nose.
"Mrs. Marigold says we have to go in the living room now, because Mother's sick. Can we wait just a few minutes more? Please? " Nicholas gathered his arms around his brothers, Daniel, Brian, and William. Nicholas was the oldest at seven years old; Brian had just turned six, and the twins, William and Daniel, were four and a half.
Timothy looked at his sons, then glanced at his wife, who was gripping the sides of her bed so hard her knuckles were white.
"No. Listen to Mrs. Marigold, she knows what she's doing. " Mrs. Marigold smiled at Timothy and gathered the boys around her.
"Come on, dearies. Lets get on to the living room, and we can play a game. "
"Oh, I wanna play 'I Spy', Mrs. Marigold. Can we play that? " Daniel piped up from behind his brothers. The children and maid disappeared behind the door.
Timothy didn't bother glancing at his wife, like he had been doing all night. He knew what he'd see. Instead, he glanced back out the window at the dark clouds rolling around the full moon and wondered where she was tonight, if she even knew.
"Is she here yet? Oh, Timothy, tell me she's not here yet. " Marie moaned from her bed.
"No, she's... " he trailed off as he saw something blink in the sky. Oh, no.
"What, Timothy? What? " Marie whispered.
"I think...she's here, " Timothy said, dread filling his whole soul. His hands trembled as he thought of what could happen.
"Do you see her anywhere? Maybe it was just a star...a falling star. Maybe... " she trailed off as Timothy hurriedly glanced everywhere at the dark.
"I don't see her. Maybe it was just a trick of the clouds and the moonlight... " He stopped as three strong knocks sounded at the door. They both jumped. Marie lay a hand on her stomach. Timothy hesitated, not wanting to open the door.
"Four boys, Timothy, " Marie whispered from her birthing bed. "We've had four boys. What are the odds we'll get another one? " The fear she had for getting another boy was shown in her trembling words. Timothy walked up to the door. His hands were shaking, sweat dripped past his ear.
What were the odds? he asked himself. They were pretty good.
He opened the door and let his eyes adjust to the darkness. The woman stood there, in a long blue or black cloak that swished around her ankles. She was wearing a long hood that cast a shadow over her face. Pulling up one long, thin hand, she pulled the hood from her face.
"Timothy, " she said, her voice a monotone. "Fifth time's the charm. " She let herself into the small house.
"So, " she said, taking in the scene around her: Marie in her birthing bed, the clothes scattered around and the dirt from the hardly-used house. "Why aren't you in your lovely home? " she asked. Nobody answered. "In your home, you have special nurses that could have taken care of your pain, Marie, " she reminded them. "In your home, you wouldn't have to have your child in a dirty, mold-sodden house, decaying with disuse. " She looked at the both of them. She was about mid-thirties with long red hair and dark eyes. "You could have everything. Why are you here? "
Nobody answered. "I'll tell you why, " she answered herself. "Because you were trying to hide from me. You didn't want me to show up. I'll tell you, that was not very smart. "
Marie groaned from her bed, gripping at her sheets, her head back in pain.
"Please, " Timothy begged the woman. "Please just leave. I'm sorry about your son. I'm so so sorry. It was an accident. But please...please take pity on us. I'm begging you. " The woman's head snapped to Timothy, a deadly look in her cold, black eyes.
"You should have thought of that before you sentenced him to die! Samuel didn't do anything! They found him, and because of what you said, they killed him! It's your fault he died! And he was innocent! "
"Please, Irina, please... " Marie whimpered.
"No! None of that! Because of what you did, I shall take this son from you; I will take your fifth son just like I swore to you the day you killed my Samuel! I've been waiting for this day for years...You two didn't believe me, but I will do anything to get my son back! Anything! " Her cloak swished around, making it seem like the shadows were moving. "Your fifth son. He shall be mine. What did you plan on naming him? " Timothy glanced at Marie, and saw how pale she looked, how scared she looked, as she lay a hand on her bulging stomach.
"Micheal. We were going to name him Micheal, " Timothy answered.
That night, Marie's screams echoed through the old house, because she had no medication to ease the pain, as she had with the other four. If her screams were a tangible thing, they would have cut the foggy mist right through like a path, as they echoed through the woods. And if you happened to be standing outside the window, you could hear Timothy's shocked voice declare, "It's a girl! Oh, God. It's a girl. "
And you would have heard Irina's angry, shrill, scream rip through the darkness, and her cloak swished around her boots like a living thing. "No! " she screamed at them. "What about my son? My son! " she yelled. She pointed an accusing finger at Marie, who lay there in awe, holding her daughter. "You! You knew it wasn't a boy! You did this on purpose! "
"No! " Marie gasped, clutching her daughter to her chest. "No, I promise I didn't know! "
Timothy was afraid that Irina would take their first and only daughter; that he would take her away to replace her son, Samuel.
"Irina, we didn't know. How would we know such a thing? "
"I don't care! You took my son from me and now I don't have one to replace! " She sobbed. "You and your whole family will be cursed, Timothy Freeway! You will be cursed forever! Anyone related to you! Even if they were so distantly related, time went backwards, they'd still be cursed forever and ever! I will come back one day and take what is rightfull mine! I will! So you be expecting me, Timothy, and get ready because the fight is coming! "
And with this, Irina swished her cloak, yanked up her hood, and stormed out the door, slamming it behind her.