It is raining outside. Violet does not like the rain. She thinks it brings gloom to everyone around her.
Violet is nine-months pregnant and going to be a first-time mother. She works a desk job, taking calls all day and calming the upset customers who didn’t get their packages delivered on time. The only time Violet can relax is when she gets home. She watches the news on the TV. Today on the news, they talk about a lady being released from prison for good behavior. They show a photo of her. She has short dirty blonde hair, unlike Violet’s long black curls. She is tall and thin with vacant eyes, her name is under the image, Elaine Burnside. Violet turns off the TV, then looks at the clock, 9:55 pm. She gets on her pj’s and falls asleep, thinking about her late husband, Mark Johnson, who died in January, from driving drunk.
In the morning Violet wakes up, gets dressed, and brews a cup of coffee. Then she goes to work. Everyone had been emailed a list of new people that were hired and people that were fired or resigned. Violet skims through and sees that one of the names is Elaine Burnside. Her name was under the category of hired. Violet remembers the name from last night’s news. Violet leans over to the next cubicle, “Did you see one of the people who got the job is Elaine Burnside?”
“Yeah, wasn’t she the girl who just got out of jail? But don’t stress about it Vi. I’m sure if she were a danger, she wouldn’t have gotten an interview,” said Christine, a coworker.
The next day Elaine had been assigned a cubicle next to Violet. A couple people look over once in awhile and stare. During lunch, Violet goes to the break room and makes coffee. Elaine walks in behind her and greets her with an awkward, “Hello.”
“Hi,” Violet responds.
“I see your pregnant.”
“Umm…yes,” Violet says. Her voice is unsure.
“Is it a boy or a girl? I like girls better,” says Elaine.
Violet pauses and thinks, why is she asking these questions? Is she crazy? Why was she put in jail? No, just calm down, she couldn’t be that bad if she was let out of jail. “Yes, it’s a girl.”
Elaine smiles and leaves the room.
Violet lets out a sigh of relief and goes back to her desk.
The workday ends, and Violet shuts down her computer, packs up, leaves the office. She drives to her apartment building. She gets out of her car and locks the doors. It is dark and quiet outside. Her parking space is far from the entrance to her apartment. She hears a quiet whisper in her ear, “I like your baby.” Then she feels a sharp pain in her upper back. Violet turns, and screams, “Elaine!”
Elaine throws Violet to the ground. She takes the knife in her hand with Violet’s blood on it, and stabs her in the back again. Then Elaine grabs Violet by the hair and smashes her head down on the pavement until she is unconscious. She starts carving an opening in Violet’s lower abdomen to get to the baby. Blood is everywhere. Elaine continues working. She removes the infant and cuts the umbilical cord. Violet is dead.
Elaine wraps the baby in an old towel she brought. she walks up the sidewalk to and abandoned mine she lives in. She sets out a blanket, places the infant down on it, lays down on an old, torn up mattress, and sleeps.
In the morning Elaine does not go to work. She keeps hearing a voice, which is quiet and soft, “You took my baby, my precious little Valerie!” She hears the whisper in her ear constantly. Elaine starts mumbling to herself, saying, “I didn’t steal her. I wanted her. She’s mine, not yours! Shut up!” Over and over again she mumbles this.
Elaine is confused, she had never heard a voice like this before, like she is being teased, this would go on for hours… She is getting more scared and paces back and forth. Focusing on the voice, she begins to stumble over the still-breathing baby. Valerie is weak and cries. She hasn’t been fed.
Elaine is going insane from hearing the desperate cries of Violet’s ghost. She can’t bear the intense burden of the ghost’s voice. Elaine grabs her knife and Valerie and goes to a bridge. She sets Valerie on one side of the bridge and returns to the other side. She takes the knife from her jacket. The screams and cries from a grieving mother is just too much. Elaine raises the knife with two hands and points the blade straight at her heart. She plunges the knife into her chest and falls over the railing, off the bridge, and into the water with a splash.