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She turned the news back on.

It was the responsible thing to do.

It was the same as when she last turned it off. More riots. More unrest. More sickness. More death. More reckless endangerment at the hands of self-centered lawmakers.

Her chest ached. Her breath caught in her throat. Tears rolled down her chapped cheeks. Where was the world she was promised? This kind of thing was only supposed to happen on the yellowing pages of those outdated history books she was forced to read in school. All those hours spent learning about the past---memorizing names, places, and dates---was supposed to ensure that none of it ever happened again.

And yet here she was, watching it live. For the first time in her entire life, she felt unsafe. Truly, starkly unsafe. The beast was at her door. It could swallow her at any moment.

Where could things go from here? Was “up” an option? It didn’t seem likely. How many times could she tell herself things would get better, only to have her hopes smashed like the window of an abandoned store?

The sound of crying. It wasn’t on the television. She turned it off, and the crying remained.

She moved into the next room and over to the crib whose beams had been painted a soft pink. She peered in at the wriggling baby. The child flapped its arms and legs. Its mouth was open wide, sending out the all too familiar distress call. Its face wrinkled with discomfort.

The mother smiled. This child was so sweet, even at its noisiest. So innocent. A baby who deserved so much.

She reached in and took the child into her arms.

It was the responsible thing to do.

Silence fell over the house once more. She didn’t go back to the television. There was nothing on the news that could threaten her now.

Instead, she sat in the corner of the baby’s room, clutching the child to her chest and rocking it back and forth. Its head lolled all around on the shattered neck bones that could no longer support it.

Written by Jdeschene
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