SPARK (4 of 11) I never prayed for that.

Mother sits with me, my head on her lap and my legs curled under me as she strokes my hair. At dawn, my mother’s scream raised me from my bizarre revelations. I notice that a large puddle of blood developed under me and stained my pale legs.

“My heart burns.” I cry. I can hardly hear my own words.

Father wakes, but he only stares at us. Mother shouts at Louis to go fetch Mrs. Anna, who is the midwife. Father leaves and drags Louis with him.

“Your girl-child has gone to Heaven,” Mrs. Anna explains. “The Lord is merciful.” She touches my hair gently.

I look away from Mrs. Anna to the tiny, bloody and limp baby in my arms. I hold her as long as my mother will let me. The baby has a birthmark over her eyebrow. She is so precious.

“He blessed you by granting your prayers. Took away what would have been an extra mouth to feed,” she whispers confidently, patting me on the head.

I never prayed for that.

“Get some rest. Drink lots of water.” She withdraws, nods to my mother and smiles at me before leaving. “You’ll be all right.”

“I want my baby,” I whine with a groan, turning my head from left to right.

“You’ll have more babies,” Mother says gently.

“I don’t want more. I want this one,” I cry. “Then pray. Take this,” she says, opening her hand.

We pray together, then I snort every pinch of powder from her palm.



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