Hush Little Baby

"Hush little baby, don't say a word, momma's gonna buy you a mockingbird." The soft melody from the mother's lips caressed the child in her arms into a quiet slumber. "And if that mockingbird don't sing, momma's gonna buy you a diamond ring." The room was dark, lit by only the soft glow of the candles that had been slowly fading, the wax gently drifting down the side of them to rest on the base. "And if that diamond ring don't shine, momma's gonna sing you a lullaby." She closed her eyes for a moment, the shimmer of the dull light illuminating her golden hair, her lashes fluttering darkly in the night, casting a shadow across her cheeks. Her hands were soft and warm around the bundle of blankets that was her little child. She paused in her rocking chair, not wanting to disturb the peaceful sleep of her daughter. She sat still, staring into the face of her little one; love in ever bit of her heart. She didn't need to know anything but her devotion to this child, her flesh and blood. She owed it to herself. She stay poised as if frozen in time for no one knows how long. The mother only came out of her soft stupor when one of her candle's lights had diminished, flickering for a brief moment before extinguishing itself. She slowly made to rise from the chair, the warm baby in her arms, when a hand shot out from behind her, covering her mouth. Her first instinct was to drop her child, her love, but she fought it, clasping the silent ball of comfort against her chest. Her heart was beating so loudly and fiercely she could have sworn to have heard it echoing off the walls. She felt something cold and hard pressed upon her temple, and knew she was going to die. The burglar had his finger on the trigger. He whispered softly in her ear, "give me the baby and I'll let you live."

The mother didn't know what to do, a bead of sweat trickling down her cheek, as she didn't move. She waited what seemed like eternity, trying to think, to act out, and to do something to save herself and her daughter. He moved his hand to her neck, keeping a firm grasp.

"Take my money instead," she tried to say bravely, but what came out as a whisper of a croak, barely audible, even in the perfect silence.

"Too late for that, sweet cakes," he whispered back, his lips on her ear. She didn't want to believe it, but she knew that voice. It haunted her every waking moment, and took over her dreams often. He couldn't have escaped, yet she could somehow believe him capable of doing so. She knew him all too well, and feared his temper if she did not obey.

"You won't hurt her?" she whispered back, her voice quavering as he brushed back her hair that shone in the moonlight.

"Why would I?" he replied, laughing under his breath, his hand now stroking her cheekbones as she shook from the fear. She couldn't trust him, yet something in her mind told her she had to. She was tearing herself apart inside, her mind battling with itself on what to do. Finally, in desperation, she unwillingly turned slowly on the spot, handing over her only form of happiness. She looked into his deep blue eyes, eyes she had once loved. He took the child, almost violently, and backed a pace or two from the mother, his gun pointed at her chest.

"Thanks, baby," he said, a crooked smile on his face, as he turned towards the door.

She had one last glimpse of him, the man she loathed, despised, and yet in the depths of her heart, still cared for. Her husband stood before her in the doorway, having threatened her to death for the second time. And then, the baby, crying and wriggling in his arms, tried to break free of his grasp. He repeated the lullaby the mother had been singing in his mind. He looked at the child, then across the room at the woman who had never done anything to harm him, saying goodbye. He checked his aim and pulled the trigger.