With no announcement, the infant was handed to her. She took a long, studied look at her new baby. "Sora...Sora," she cried. She then turned to her husband, "Promise me…promise me that you'll keep our baby. Please, promise me…" "I promise," he replied. She smiled, took one last look at her baby, and consciousness left her.

It had been a difficult pregnancy from the beginning. Early on, her doctor was worried that she was carrying twins. Twins present difficulties in any pregnancy, but especially if it is the woman's first. Although the technology existed for some time now, it was not routinely used. However, this high-risk circumstance warranted it. Therefore, the doctor scheduled an ultra-sound.

During the ultra-sound, the technician pointed out many things from the fuzzy image to the soon-to-be mother. The most important was confirmed, she was indeed, carrying twins. "I wonder if I should tell my husband about this," she thought to herself. "Having twins isn't considered a good thing. Of course, if he asks me directly, I don't think I'll be able to lie convincingly about it."

In the end, she decided to tell him that everything was progressing normally. She didn't want him to needlessly worry.

"How did it go?" her husband asked later that evening. She chose her words carefully, putting on an air of confidence. "Everything is progressing normally," she replied. "One of my co-workers said the gender of a baby can be determined during an ultra-sound," he interjected.

She wasn't prepared for that. The technician didn't mention anything about it. She took a long pause, and then settled on a reply. "It's too early to tell, you're so impatient!" She felt she'd be more convincing if she kept her tone playful. "I see," he replied flatly. She was happy that he pressed her no more. Besides, she had another ultra-sound scheduled in two months. If there was anything to report, she'd tell him then.

. . .

The next month came and went without incident. Her sister, Karina, came for a short visit. "Karina, it's been so long!" she said upon her arrival. "I can't believe it! Wow, you're so big! How far along are you?" Karina replied. "Five months," she told Karina. As she prepared the tea, she thought about how to break the news to Karina. "Karina," she said while waiting for the tea leaves to brew, "I am carrying twins." Karina gave her a wide-eyed stare and said, "Really, how can you be sure?"

"I had an ultra-sound; the doctor said there are two."

"How is your health?"

"I have good days, and not so good days. I'm not particularly worried about myself; I'm more worried about my husband. I don't know how he's going to react when I finally have to tell him."

"Well, you'll just have to cross that bridge when you get there."

. . .

Shortly after Karina left, the problems started. Pain, deep pain, then blood, much blood. She was rushed to emergency and…surgery…delivery…she wasn't sure. The lights were so bright, she couldn't tell. After waiting a few minutes for her eyes to adjust, she looked down at her stomach. Indeed, she was still pregnant. However, something was different. Just then, a nurse entered. "What, what...happened?" she choked out. "I will get your doctor," replied the nurse. She tried to sit up, but couldn't. She felt so weak.

"Ms. Kodo," said the man in the lab coat, "you're a very fortunate young lady." We weren't sure if you would pull through, but you did. Unfortunately, I have some bad news. One of your babies didn't make it. However, the other one is stable. I'm going to keep you here for a few days just to make sure all is well. So please, try to get some rest while you're here. Also, you'll need to take it easy when you return home." She nodded, and with that, he left.

She couldn't comprehend. What happened? She remembered pain, then blood, then nothing. She wondered if her husband had been told about the twins. "I hope not," she thought. Then sleep overcame her.

Her husband came to visit the next morning. He looked more irritated than concerned. "Here you go causing trouble again," he said flatly. She looked away. "So what happened?" he asked. "I don't know," she half-lied, "did they tell you anything?" "Nothing at all," he replied. She breathed a sigh of relief. "I think the baby is ok now," she said. "Good," he replied, walking across the room to stare out the window. Several silent minutes passed, then, without warning, he turned around and left.

. . .

The next few weeks were burdensome. She was supposed to be taking it easy, but that was not possible. With all of her relatives living so far away, there was no one to help with household chores. It wasn't as if her husband was going to help or even be considerate. She wondered why she was even trying. "For my baby," she thought, "I must keep pressing on for my baby."

She had given some thought to names for the twins, but now there was just one. She had to think about new names. It wouldn't be proper to give a twin name to the surviving child.

Once again she awoke with severe pain. This was worse than before, if that was even possible. She awoke her husband, and off to the hospital they went. That night, one life was lost as another arrived. That night, a child was born who killed two before its arrival. That night, an androgynous child of death entered our world, and its name, was Sora.