Two men ran naked down the suburban street, laughing, the blood on their foreheads hot despite the pre-dawn chill. If they were caught, they could go to jail for indecency or public exposure, but at the moment they didn’t care.
As they passed a house, the dog inside began to howl. Other dogs on the block took up the call until a vast chorus sang to the night. The men howled back between giggles but did not break their stride, nor did the noise seem to wake any of the people sleeping around them.
Mary, already up, had wandered outside for some fresh air. Her back ached and her feet were swollen, but she comforted herself with the thought that the baby would be coming soon. The sight of two nude joggers was a shock, but she wasn’t afraid, even when one started towards her.
She raised a hand in greeting, and the man slapped it as he trotted past. Brow furrowed, she stared at his retreating form until the first pang of labor hit. Their laughter followed her as she staggered inside, calling for her husband.