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Watching Him Sleep

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The baby breathes out.

The baby breathes in.

The baby breathes out.

There are many reasons why human babies die.

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The majority of reasons are due to misconstruction parts.

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Rose would not have made mistakes.

The baby breathes in.

Rose knew what she was doing.

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The baby must be correct.

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Some deaths have known causes.

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Some not.

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To be correct is not a guarantee.

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To be whole is not a guarantee. (Hadn't that been made so clear these last few thousand years.)

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The baby has been placed on its back.

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There is nothing else in there to cause problems.

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The mattress does not bend under the baby's weight.

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There is no pillow.

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There is no blanket.

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The stuffed toy is on the floor outside of the bars.

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The temperature is precisely twenty degrees.

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All directions are being followed.

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Everything harmful has been banished.

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"Pearl?"

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"It's sleeping," she says.

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"Right."

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"I, uh, got some more formula."

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"Do you need me to-"

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"No, that's fine."

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The baby breathes in.

The baby breathes out.

"How's Steven been?"

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"Breathing stopped from 17:52:14 to 17:52:20."

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"Oh...okay. That's...that's..."

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"Normal interruptions last no longer than five seconds," Pearl says.

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"Six seconds is longer than five seconds," Pearl says.

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The baby breathes out.

"I thought it was ten seconds."

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"Ten seconds is a sign of a problem."

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"Five seconds and less is normal."

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Nothing said what six seconds is.

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She had decided to wake it at seven.

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She is precise.

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She knows exactly the force needed, the tiny safe window between not enough and shattered. Awake.

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It won't suffocate if it's awake.

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It can't be kept awake or parts will begin to fail.

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If anything is wrong it will stop and it will never not be stopped, it will shatter and melt until it is completely gone, like it was never there at all.

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Seven had not happened.

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Seven had not happened yet.

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"Don't worry," she says.

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"Rose knew what she was doing."

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"Why don't you go see Amethyst?"

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"Watch that show you two like, Small Butler?"

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The baby breathes in.

"I, uh, just got back from that."

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"Figured I'd stop in."

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"You must be tired." The books say parents get tired. Sometimes the sentence makes him go away.

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"Yeah. But, I'm good."

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The baby breathes in.

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"About, uh, Amethyst."

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"I know she said she uh..."

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"...well..."

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"...but maybe I should invite her again."

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"That's not necessary. She came by once."

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"Did it...how'd it go?"

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"Fine."

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"Really?"

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"The baby didn't interest her."

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look at me pearl look at me

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"Then she left."

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just look at me pearl please please just look at me

The baby breathes out.