Mary Carroll-Hackett


The old wives’ tales say never let cats near your babies, that they’ll steal the child’s breath, padding silently away, licking the youngster‘s life-force like drops of milk from their lock-picker paws. On the haunted dangerous barrier islands of North Carolina, superstition and fear run deep, especially when it comes to those we love. Housewife Eliza, alone with her fear in the little cottage on the isolated islands while her husband Nathan works as a fisherman, lives in constant terror of losing her children. Memories of the little ones lost, multiple miscarriages, one recalled as nothing more than a blood stain on the deck of her husband’s boat in a tragic attempt to get to a hospital on the mainland, have driven her to the only way she knows to cope, the thing she has come to desperately believe keeps the children she has safe--counting each breath her living children draw, counting each second they remain with her. Nathan, a man who faces the very real danger of the barrier reefs every day, does his best to deal with his wife’s feelings, and maintain some sense of normalcy for his three young children. “You live to worry, stop, just stop,” Nathan begs, but Eliza simply can’t get past the fear, the yowling of cats just outside the door. And even as her encroaching madness proves to be the very thing to make her fear a reality, Eliza can’t stop herself, saying, as we all know, “Sometimes, it’s all you can do to breathe.”

Copyright 2007 Mary Carroll-Hackett
All Rights Reserved