Nine Days Until NaNo


Countdown to National Novel Writing Month: Thirty days, fifty thousand words, no excuses. Nine more days until the gauntlet begins…

From NaNowriMo has come published works…after the long cold days of winter edits.

This year I shall be working on what I have given an insight or two already–a sequel to Soul In His Eyes.

Some of your comments so far:

“Anyone that can place words down such as these that enable you to feel that you are actually there in the room as you read have my highest respect.”

“Wow…did you write this? It’s really good, Christine. ”

Stay tuned and I’ll post a bit more here and there…

Losing a baby is never easy, but this late in life for Christine –her last chance, and her new husband’s first child— a tragedy that leaves them both shattered.

When Erik gets wind of the possibility his baby girl did not die– stolen during their moment of greatest grief, nothing can stop him. Stolen into the world of a man so powerful not even Erik can reach his infant daughter…living now in the arms of danger.


*  *  *  *

“Let’s go.” Doctor McCann sent a wink Erik’s way, nodded and grasped the side rail of the gurney. A frisson of excitement telegraphed up Erik’s spine as he joined the doctor in the last push down the hall to labor and delivery.

Christine’s face flushed red and beaded with perspiration, she nevertheless beamed with joyous anticipation. One helluva a woman going through the transition of labour and still able to maintain her great joy at the arrival of their first child.

“Whoa…here comes another one.” She grimaced and grasped her thighs waiting for Doc McCann to give the final approval to push.

“Hold on a couple more moments, Christine.”  The gurney hit the delivery room doors, swinging out of the way as they exploded inside the theater of a half dozen L&D nurses waiting like baited raptors.

Christine grunted crescendoing into a full out scream. “Noooow?” She panted reaching for Erik’s hand.

“Now,” McCann commanded as he guided Christine into spread eagle pose beneath the thin white sheet. Christine’s grasp could have crushed the bones in Erik’s hand had she exerted another pound per square inch of force.

“Ahhhh…” she screamed, face burning a shade of bright crimson. “Grrrrrrrrr.” The veins in her neck and forehead bulged with the strain as she held her breath in pressured focus.

Doc had the sheet folded back atop her knees in moments. “You’re crowning, Mrs. Bartholomew. A couple more pushes and—”

“Ooooo YOU do the f**king pushing. I’m done.” Fifteen hours of labour exhausted, Christine was beyond her usual even temper; transition pushing her right over the politeness line into verbal territory usually reserved for sailors and rock stars.

Erik’s fingers had gone numb as Christine squeezed off the circulation. He didn’t care. All he wanted, all he wished and prayed for was his daughter’s first cry. He lifted his eyes from Christine’s straining face to McCann’s tranquility.

“Push!” The nurses said like back up singers to Doc McCann’s lead as he extended his hands forward beneath the sheet to cradle Erik’s daughter into the world.

A sound of slippery gushing fluid background to Christine’s muffled final grunt and the theater’s participants gasped in corporate delight.

“Apgar ,” the nurse at doc’s right shoulder called as Doc’s expression fell into poker neutral. He clamped the umbilical and snipped the infant free. Without so much as a hitch, he swept the baby over to a well lit table in the corner. Two nurses and doctor hunched over the baby.

“Where’s her cry?” Christine said, balancing on bent elbows as she strained to see. One of the nurses tended to Christine with no notice on Christine’s part.

Erik’s heart caught in his throat as he waited interminable moments for a reply. He slid a glance back to Christine, the white of the sheet covering her now stained with bright blood.

“One,” the elder nurse called. Doc McCann’s shoulders now moved in a barely perceptible rhythmic motion.

“What’s happenin”?” Erik heard the words as they left his mouth, but the world seemed to retract before him. He bored a visual hole in Doc’s back and dropped Christine’s hand. A male nurse had him restrained by the upper arm in a flash.

“Let them work.” The nurse’s voice rumbled like a thundercloud across Erik’s shrinking world.

A masked nurse scooped the blanketed bundle into a plastic incubator, one wee foot protruding from the cotton linen— ashen blue.

Through a door at the back of the room, the three hustled—McCann, and two nurses with the incubator on wheels.

“Noooo,” Erik called as he strained against the iron clasp of the nurse at one arm, Christine’s icy hand grasping him on the other.



He woke up in a cold sweat. Sleep deprivation scrambled Erik’s mind. Nothing could blunt the agony of the truth.

She was gone.

Piercing images of Christine’s laborious struggle. The screaming. The thinly veiled panic on the doctor’s face. The nurses dashing about. And the blood. God, but there was so much blood.

Erik’s body quaked with uncontrollable shivering. He pushed a hand through his damp hair and rose from the bed. Twisted sheets left behind molded to his incessant writhing through the too-short night—testament to the dark as demon’s soul, cold without mercy grief.

“Good,” he rasped, voice long shredded. The irony of the word did not escape him.

Three days, twenty two hours of hell. He was in a place so dark and deep, not even the dead could escape.

Nurses rushing about, voices in a whispered hush. The cartoonish movements of futile attempts to bring life into his baby’s wee body, all magnified in his mind in an eternal loop. His mind bordered on insanity. Oh, but for the sweet relief of the insane.

Erik stood at the window, sash thrown open to the unrelenting wind of the moor. Icy tendrils wiped around him like burning razors, so sharp as not to be felt in their merciless slashing.

All that he could truly feel was loss—and the crushing grief that had driven his beloved Christine over the brink. His newborn daughter, dead. Christine in a state of denial and despair so profound no one could reach her.

Garthmore. Christine’s prison, a mental hospital. Modern medicine with all its advances, could do little to bring a woman back to reality who had lost her last chance at motherhood in one night of agony and blood. Not even her grown children had any ability to sway her. No one could touch her heart, left a shriveled stone in her chest. You could see the vacancy her eyes. Cold. Sterile.

“Christine.” He doubled over, wrapping elbows around his ears. A sob raked through him, scouring his lungs like steel wool. Erik dropped to the frigid stone, curling in on himself, trying to force the memory of that terrible night from his mind. But like the sweet baby girl lost, he could no more expunge the vivid images than he could return to his former life of goodness and love.

It was gone. They were gone. His Christine and sweet baby Olivia.  And he felt, for the first time in his life, well and truly shattered.

*  *  *  *

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