The New Children

It wasn’t for lack of effort. They just stopped happening. A generation mourned infertility. Governments restructured. We graciously accepted our fate.

Then, the apparitions. A silhouette in an empty crib, a vision scooting across floorboards, a transparent ruse. Within months they leaned to opaque, dependent on each one’s willingness to exist. Some fully tangible in infancy, others walking before they solidified.

Parents thought they’d gone mad. Tests confirmed otherwise. Mothers gasped, fathers cried, playgrounds filled, if with the occasional flicker, a child unsure of its coming or going, staying to catch a ball, disappearing forever at the hint of loss.