Content Warning: This story deals with the historical death of a child and imagines a supernatural take on the events afterwards.
My dearest Thomas, my baby is dead—will you come to see me as soon as you can. I wish to see you—It was perfectly well when I went to bed—I awoke in the night to give it suck it appeared to be sleeping so quietly that I would not awake it. It was dead then, but we did not find that out till morning—Will you come to my aid now—you are so calm a creature & my Poet is of no use for what I must now do—for now I am no longer a mother but I have heard tale of a man that may be able to provide a solution – I dare not ask my Poet to come where I must go.
When Thomas arrives to be at Mary’s side, the little house that his friend shares with her Sister and her Poet is cold and empty aside for the woman herself who greets him at the door with a wan smile and a brisk handshake before ushering him inside.
“What of –”
Mary shakes her head, cutting him off before he can say her Poet’s name. “He has taken my Sister out for a walk,” she says, the words slipping out around a sneer that twists her mouth. “A walk! They go for a walk to escape this tomblike home while I sit here, consumed by fear over a plan that may not work.”
Thomas startles, gaze flicking around the room as if he expects to see the shrouded body of his friend’s infant somewhere in the main room. He sees nothing out of the ordinary and so, squaring his shoulders before asking, “Where is the infant?”
“In the nursery upstairs,” Mary says, the twist to her mouth taking on a sharper note. “Where else would I leave her?”
Mary turns on her heel, walking towards the stairs without another look back at Thomas. At the foot of the stairs, she pauses before speaking. “I will bring her down in a moment. Please, make yourself comfortable.”
How Thomas is supposed to make himself comfortable while waiting for his friend to return with the cold body of her infant daughter, he does not know. He mumbles something that must sound like acquiescence to Mary’s words and drifts into the crumbling room that must serve as her new family’s sitting room.