Maricia thought for a second, then replied, "She shall remain unnamed."


1. Prologue

"Maricia, here's your daughter," said the nurse cordially. He handed the woman on the hospital bed a small child that fit in the palm of her hand.

"She's...a peanut?" said Maricia in a faint voice.

"No, she's premature. She'll get bigger," explained the nurse.

"Oh..." she said, breathing heavily. "Is it a male or female?"


"Ow!" the woman cried faintly in pain.

"Careful, your extremely weak."
"Will I live?"

The nurse's eyes got dark. "Probably not."

Maricia looked fearfully into the eyes of the nurse. "Will my daughter live?"

"Probably not."

Maricia's eyes filled up with tears. "Take her back."


"Get this child out of my sight."


Maricia thought about telling the stranger all about why. Why not? She'd probably die, any way. But no, her husband was dead, and she had to honor him-she couldn't tell the nurse.

"None of your business," Maricia snapped as strong as she could.

The nurse looked Maricia in the eyes and took the child in his hand. "I have to ask you one more question."
"What?" Maricia asked.

"What will you name this child?"

Maricia thought for a second, then replied, "She shall remain unnamed."

"Unnamed is her name?" the nurse asked, but Maricia didn't answer. The heart monitor made a long tone. She's gone, thought the nurse. And so is her husband. The poor child'll have to be put up for adoption...

The nurse looked down at the small, crying child in his hand...and smiled. "She's dead...yes!" he cried happily, laying the child down on the table. "And this child is next..."

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