By @AlanHagins

Chapter 1

Chapter One

On a cold and stormy night, Markus was born. The weather in Chicago, Illinois that season had been usually harsh. It was the first of March when Markus’ mother, Amber, feeling somewhat isolated at home, decided to take a walk. She carried Markus with her, swaddled in a blanket that wrapped across her mid-section from her left shoulder to her waist. In this position, Amber couldn’t help but remember what Markus felt like to carry inside of her, and imagined the cloth which swaddled him like a second skin. She had walked about a mile out of her house into the nearby woods, when the sky began to darken. Clouds were forming rapidly on the horizon. It’s going to rain, Amber thought, and turned on her heel to make her way back to the house. She reached a clearing, and saw a flash of lightning on the horizon. The clap of thunder that followed came faster than she expected and she jumped. Just then, she felt something whizz past her ear. Laying in the grass was a globule of ice, no bigger than a marble, and filmed in a coat of water. The mess of grass below it seemed to swaddle it up. Then another marble of ice fell close by it as she continued to look at the grass. The pitter patter of ice began to fall faster and faster, and she to walk quicker and quicker across the clearing. She smiled a little at the intensity of the experience. The slight danger had awoken something in her that had been dormant as she recovered from the birth. She had made it to the other side of the clearing when the hail began to get larger. Right then, and plop, a stone of hail landed squarely onto Markus’s swaddled form. He wailed, and she bent low to shelter him, and examine the place where the hail had struck. His wails came fast and hot now, and the stone of ice slid away from his forehead. The residue it left was tinged with blood.

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