• Maddy sat at the kitchen table clutching a can of Sprite,trying to read Little Women for her summer reading list and listening to the rain pound against the window pane. It was a warm, humid summer storm, steaming up the windows and lighting up the whole house with its various bursts of lighting and distant rumblings of thunder, but it still worried Maddy. She didn't really like storms, having gotten a broken arm when she was younger due to a tree branch falling on her from thunder storm. Suddenly, she heard a tiny, quiet whimpering coming from the next room, in about two seconds, the whimper had turned into a full blown wailing cry. Maddy swore under her breath, jammed a bookmark into the novel, and practically sprinted to the source of the noise.
    The noise was coming from eleven month old Brooke Emily Curtis, Brooke was Maddy's niece. Maddy sighed, and picked up the screaming, obviously frightened and wet infant from her crib. She'd been told that Ashleigh, her sister and Brooke's mom would be back in 15 minutes and that Maddy would only have to babysit for a little while. That had been at 8:30, and it was almost ten o'clock now. Maddy carried Brooke over to the changing table, toying with the idea of calling her husband, James, or maybe the police. It was odd for Ashleigh to be out this late. And even more unusual, when Maddy had tried to reach her earlier in the evening, her phone had been turned off. Maddy shook off the notion quickly though, she didn't want to alarm James, who was on in house call at the local hospital or her parents, who would panic if they knew that their klutzy, forgetful, seventeen year old daughter was left unsupervised with their precious grandchild.
    Having put a new diaper on the child, Maddy began the task of redressing her, this time into comfy pajamas. The child quieted immediately, and Maddy rocked her back into a sound slumber. On tiptoe, she crept out of the nursery, flipping the baby monitor and night light on as she left, and turning off the main room light. The rain had lessened a little outside, and was now a light drizzle. Maddy headed for the guest bathroom to fix her hair and take a shower, grabbing the other, portable baby monitor from the console in the hall. She'd finish her reading in the morning.
    Maddy reached the upper floor and took a deep breath, glad to be upstairs again, away from the quiet zone that was the downstairs. Maddy stripped down, removing her favorite lime green tank top and white, cartoon print frog tank from her skinny body, in one quick maneuver, she shed her dark wash jeans, and underwear and kicked off her converse. She tiptoed to the faucet, and turned the shower on, she did a quick run of her fingers through her blonde hair, set the baby monitor on the vanity counter top and stepped into the warm spray. Maddy was just starting to put conditioner in her hair when she heard her sister's key turn in the door lock. She hastily squirted a large glob of conditioner into her hands, rinsed it off in a hurry, and smacked the shower to off. As she stepped out of the shower, she tripped over the ledge of the tub, landing on the tile floor with a loud, heavy thud. "Oh holy frick." thought Maddy, knowing that she'd sustained a bruise or two and possible sprained something, she grabbed a towel from the hanging towel loop to pull herself up with, but she'd pulled a little too hard, suddenly the whole towel bar detached itself fromt the wall and fell on top of Maddy's head, bounced and hit the tile floor with a metallic clang.
    Ashleigh appeared at the bathroom doorway in seconds, holding a now screaming Brooke. "What was that." Maddy didn't even have the energy to explain, she just pointed weakly to the towel bar on the floor and gestured upward to the two holes in the wall where the towel bar used to hang.