It's late at night and I'm extremely tired. But when a baby cries, you have to check up on them. Right now he is crying. I can hear his screams through the baby monitor on my nightstand. Reaching out, I grab the receiver and press the button to see the video feed. Now I can see him flailing around in his crib, an upset look on his face. There's no chance he will be going back to sleep.
Sitting up in bed, I fling my feet over the edge and stand up. A quick stretch and I head to the kitchen to prepare a bottle. His cries echo through the dark and lonely house. My wife is not home tonight. She's been working hard lately and taking care of our son. I told her to go out with her friends tonight and get a drink. I guess she had a few too many and ended up staying at her friend's house for the night. It's fine. I think she deserves it.
As I shake up the bottle, my son screams louder. It's almost like he can hear the bottle being made. Or maybe he senses it. Who can say? Either way, I want to quiet him down and get back to sleep. Taking care of a child by yourself is tough work. I find myself thinking about single parents and can only commend them.
Heading back towards his room, I crack open the door and slip in. It's pretty dark in here but my eyes adjust fairly quickly. There he is. There's my beautiful boy writhing around in his crib. I find it funny when he gets so angry for a bottle. He acts like someone is trying to suffocate him. But the noise is piercing and I want it to end.
Scooping up my son, I stick the bottle in his mouth and try to shush him quietly and affectionately. Carrying him carefully to my bedroom, I prop myself up in the bed and watch television while he snacks. I don't dare look at the alarm clock on my nightstand. I really don't want to know how late it is.
He begins to slow down and his eyes shut. I know he's getting ready to go back to sleep but I must burp him first. This is the part I hate. Not because I'm afraid to hurt him but because I know it will wake him.
He begins to fuss again and I put the bottle back in his mouth. As I do, a familiar noise comes from the baby monitor. At first I'm confused but then the hair on the back of my neck stands up. I can see the image of my child's room on the monitor. There is no one in there. Yet somehow, there is a cry coming from the monitor. A cry that sounds exactly like my son's. I look down at my baby but he is sucking away at his bottle without a care in the world. I am unsure of what is waiting for us back in that room.
Evan Bond, author of To the Wolves and Death Can Wait, is a thriller/suspense author. When not writing, he can be found hiking or camping in the beautiful state of Florida.