The Cradle

They stared at the ramshackle house glowering above them, and gripped hands tightly.
“Well,” the man said, “It’s a fixer-upper.”
The woman smiled at him, and with the other hand caressed the barely visible bulge on her stomach. “Be nice,” she scolded gently. “It’s our home now.”
The man sighed dramatically, but a smile tugged at the corner of his lips. He put his arms around her and murmured, “Anything for you, Elana.” He gently rubbed her stomach and a spark of pure, insurmountable joy shone in his chocolate eyes. It was echoed in Elana’s green eyes the colors of apples. He added, “And the little one.”
She laughed, her voice in harmony with his low chuckle. “Come on,” she said. “We’ve much to do.”
Five months later, a child was born to these happy people. Elana lay in the hospital bed, and her husband, George, sat on the edge of the bed. They both gazed with adoration down at the clear, almost glowing skin of their baby boy, Gabriel. George captured one of Gabriel’s miniature fingers and stroked it gently. Neither of them could believe their happiness and luck.
They returned to their new house, Elana cradling the baby, and George opening doors as gently as he could. Elana brushed a lock of her chestnut hair out of her face, and so not to wake the baby, whispered, “Let’s take him to his room.”
“We don’t have a cradle for him yet,” George objected, his tone as low as Elena’s.
Elana frowned slightly, and then a look of excitement crept onto her face. She handed Gabriel to George, and said, “Remember when I was cleaning out the attic?” he nodded. She continued, “There was an old cradle up there. Let me go get it.” Before George could say a word, she dashed away, her hair streaming behind her. Gabriel stirred slightly as she left, and whimpered in George’s arms. He rocked the baby until Gabriel was asleep, and set him down. He went to go help Elana with the cradle.
Once they had set it up, Elana fetched Gabriel and set him in the cradle. He turned, and his tiny hand grasped the woolly ear of the stuffed rabbit they had given him. With the happiness only new parents can possess, George and Elana softly left the room.
As the weeks flew by, Elana became more and more worried about Gabriel, nicknamed Gabe. His original health had deteriorated, leaving him pale and sickly. Whenever they entered his nursery, his frail voice would rise into a shriek that would bring the other parent running.
Elana settled down on her bed, and gently laid Gabe down. She brushed her mussed up hair behind an ear, and rubbed her thumb against his silky baby skin, so glad that she was blessed with this child, who would grow into a happy, healthy man full of life. And she would be able to witness this miracle herself.
On that night of Halloween, Gabriel slept with his parents. Elana and George curled up around him, leaving a wall to the outside world.
At around midnight, Elana woke up. She felt an overwhelming sense of terror, and whimpered. She heard George and the baby’s steady breathing, and sighted in relief. She lowly slipped out of the bed, and pulled on her jacket, controlling the terror rising up in her. She crept to the door of their bedroom, closed the door behind her with an inaudible click, and walked down to the nursery.
As she entered the room, Elana heard a low buzzing. She looked for the source of the sound, and found it by Gabriel’s cradle. There was an oily blackness seeping over the edge of the crib, where it appeared to be located, and whatever it touched vanished.
Elana stood in horror, watching the cradle where her child had slept so reluctantly swallowed. When the darkness closed in upon itself, gorging until there was nothing left, Elana left the room in a hush. She returned to her sleeping family and softly touched her child’s cheek in a quiet horror. If she hadn’t had him sleep with them tonight, he would have died.





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bloodprincess said...
May 18, 2010 at 3:26 pm
i love it! >.< this story is so cool that i couldn't stop thinking about it all night. you know when i have a baby i will keep him in my room, just in case.-.-
 
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