Chicago – May 17, 1915.

“My baby,” Abigail moaned and curled into a ball. Night peeled from soot-covered wards, unveiling a lattice of streets, cable car lines, and railroad tracks. Men trudged between gas lights extinguishing their flames. Horse-drawn carts rumbled over brick streets behind rubber-tired automobiles. West of the river, in the crowded nineteenth ward of mansions and tenement houses, sunlight filtered through Irish lace curtains.

In their four-poster bed, Abigail slid her hand under her pillow. She stroked a baby bonnet, gathered up her rosary, and rolled the wood beads between her fingers. Their rosette edges worn smooth over generations, harkened back to another rosary, pearls, passed on with the infant taken from her nine years earlier. A shadow from the crucifix on her chest-of-drawers inched down the wall.

She huddled against Gaylen.

Still asleep, he settled onto his back.

Removing her hand from under her pillow, Abigail curved toward him, inhaling his scent of fresh cut wood. I thought I’d lost you. She flinched, might I still lose you?

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