hands in the air, not knowing what else to do. Mercifully, blackness began to swallowme, and as it did, I could hear a little girl from somewhere in that darkness hystericallyscreaming, “Mommy! Mommy!” After that everything faded away.For years I blocked the incident from my mind. To this day I can’t remember what happened afterward although the truth is, I don’t want to remember. I don’t know if Dad was home or if I was taken to the emergency room. I was too young to ask mymother what she was thinking or if my father asked her that obvious question. If he did,he never shared it with me. Most of all, I will never know if what happened was a lapseof judgment on my mother’s part or a preview of the impending madness that would soonconsume her as completely as a spider’s silken shroud covers its kill.My father and I − and perhaps my mother − were blissfully unaware of themonster that was growing inside her, but nonetheless it was. And it was growing stronger every day. Soon, it would be powerful enough to crush and tear away every thread of reason that up to that time held it at bay.We lived in Galesburg, Illinois, a smallish railroad town, in an old, two-story,white clapboard house that despite its somewhat rundown condition retained a sense of elegance that newer homes could never quite achieve. The family who owned it lived below us, a common practice after the War due to the housing shortage. But Mom andDad didn’t like living with them and assured me this was temporary although at myyoung age it didn’t matter a whit. “We’re building a house and just our family will live init,” Mom would repeat several times daily, her blue eyes sparkling when she talked aboutour future home.