The Swetky Agency

Baby Makes Three

by D. J. Herda

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It was in a small town in downstate Illinois where I met her.  It was in a small town in downstate Illinois where I lost her.  But it was my decision to stay on with our teenage daughter in that large, rambling, prairie-style home that set the stage for disaster.

How could I have known?  Who could have warned me?

Everything had been so right.

It all began to unravel on a cloudy Tuesday evening in May, when Lorelei was at band practice and I was fixing dinner for when she returned.  Marie Franklin--I liked to call her by both names because they had such a lyrical lilt to them--had gone upstairs to draw a bath.  I had finished with the Caesar's salad, which both of my women loved nearly as much as I enjoyed preparing it, and had heated the grill for the tenderloins that I had purchased earlier that afternoon at Baumgartener's Meat Shop.  I had turned away only for a second or two to grab the marinade off the island when I heard a loud hissing sound.  I turned in time to see the grill smoking and wondered what had happened.

I walked up to it, and a thick drop of water fell from the sky, atomizing into a billion shards of light and steam the moment it touched the grate.  I looked up just as another drop splattered against the metal.

Oh, Christ.  "Marie Franklin!" I yelled.  I reached for the controls and turned the gas off.  I grabbed a large metal bowl to set over the grate, snatched up a towel, and quickly wiped my hands.  Another drop fell, making a hollow clanging sound as it hit the bowl.  "Marie Franklin!" I shouted again.

I turned toward the hallway and raced up the stairs.  When I got to the top, I heard the water running.  "Marie Franklin, what's going on?  Where are you?  The tub is overflowing!"  I reached the bathroom door, threw it open, and stepped into an inch of water.  I looked up at the tub and saw the water running down the sides.  I saw the water running down the sides and two dull lifeless eyes peering up at me.

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