Chapter 1: The Husband
The nursery was done.
John had checked all the new tech to make sure it worked. He’d spared no expense on the bells and whistles, and stated to himself that if a spider farted in its web anywhere near the new baby’s crib, they’d know.
Taking a step back to admire his work, he turned to his wife Megan and smiled.
She smiled back, but it was more like an attempt than an actual smile, and John’s brow furrowed in concern.
The baby growing inside her seemed to keep her wan and listless, so her smile was weak. He also noticed that her eyes, usually so bright and full of life, were red and tired from fitful nights of sporadic sleep.
He knew she needed to see a doctor outside of their regular appointments, but she kept assuring him whatever was ailing her would pass, so not to upset her further he backed off to let her sort it out.
Looking down at her now, he couldn’t do that anymore.
Something was wrong, and what should have been a happy occasion was turning into something dark and maudlin.
Not meaning to make it about him, but doing it, John decided he couldn’t live with that if something happened to his wife because he was clueless.
Also not meaning to make decisions for Megan, but doing it, he wouldn’t let her wave him off anymore; she was going to see a doctor whether she wanted to or not, and if she didn’t want to go to an office, there was enough to pay for a house call.
Now that it was settled in his mind, he held her hand and pointed with his free one, explaining all the bells and whistles, what they did, and why he installed it.
Chapter 2: The Wife
He’d done a great job, she could see that.
He always did, and probably always would do a great job.
He did a great job selling you to marry him, after what you said…
She smiled as he nattered on, remembering she’d told him she’d never get married.
Now here they were, not only married, but in a self-made nursery.
How did we get here, Megan? Where did you go?
No, this hadn’t been in the plans, her plans anyway, but he’d been so excited when she told him that she actually got caught up in it.
The weeks flew by at first, and she enjoyed his attention, but at times he became cloying when she just wanted peace. He’d fire questions at her as if he’d never taken sex ed in school sometimes.
She knew it came from a place of love, that he wanted to look after her. He liked looking after her. He liked needing to be needed.
That’s what husbands are for. He said it so much for so long, she began to get caught up in that too, but now, standing beside him, her belly stretched and stretching farther, she was simply no match for the seemingly endless waves of energy he exuded.
Seeing the concern in his eyes appear as his smile vanished, she knew then that whatever he saw in her face was not good. She also knew what he’d say next when he finished his guided tour of shiny new tech she couldn’t care less about, and that she wouldn’t be allowed to say no this time.
Chapter 3: The Baby Monitor
These human things, they never learn. They make it embarrassingly easy for us to enter their world, and make their lives unbearable before we make them ours.
The little ones, the portals, are the most vulnerable, newly cast from our own world. They are the easiest. They have no strength to resist us, but they know something’s wrong, and cry.
The parents arrive then, concerned and fussing, soothing the portal until it goes back to sleep.
Some of us slip from the portals to stay and make sport until they all leave the house.
Other times, they’ll summon their clerics to summon their gods to be rid of us.
Some of us take the portals back, but to other places, and the big ones get sad and don’t stay together.
In the old times they placed their wards and slept by the portal’s side, or had the portal sleep beside them so they could protect it if we sent our familiars.
Not so, now. They have given the care of their portals over to these things they call cameras, with machines that make hissing noises to sooth the portal and make it rest.
That’s when we strike.
Even now, this one leeches the female’s soul as well as her body.
I think it wants to come back and bring her with it.
The male will intervene, and have someone try to make her whole again.
We shall see, but for now we wait.