Baby's Breath
Ron Morelli

Georgina studied the clock in the parlor, as the child bounced on her left kneecap.

Sister Kate cooed at the infant, whispering: "What a treasure you are! O' look what a true treasure you are! Why, look at your locks and how light they are," she fetched between her fingers a curl or two of the child's hair. "Like fine spun gold they are, Georgina dear."

Georgina merely smiled, bouncing the child up and down as she studied the clock.

"And what chubby cheeks such a babe as you posses!" Sister Kate reached out and stroked the rosy cheeks with her withered knuckles. "They'd have brought a tear to our late second King George . . .wouldn't they have, Georgina."

She smiled faintly as the clock hands came together to strike midnight, and then she turned with a wishful gaze: "'Tis time."

"Indeed," the Sister smiled, moving back a step to draw the blade from underneath her cloak. "I get the child's locks and cheeks. You may stew the eyes and blubber for your own desires."

"We go halvers, you old witch you," was all Georgina replied, as the Sister drew closer to the bouncing baby on that kneecap.

And with that the clock's chimes died down, to preach the passing by a minute.

First published: November 2002