Friday, August 19, 2011


I did actually write this on Thursday night...then I forgot to post it on Friday! But here it is, backdated (it's Sunday right now, but yes I'm backdating).


She bloomed with life and good health. He was inclined to thank the baby for that. The creature growing inside her, a small human awaiting its turn at life. Not long now. She was forty weeks pregnant and ready to burst. But he hated the faraway look on her face, hated the way he’d talk and she’d forget to listen.
     Amazing that in just nine months, he’d grown to hate the love of his life. And all because of a dreamy expression.
     There were mysteries he could never be in on, secrets he could never learn. He didn’t want to be a woman, but he envied the secret nooks and crannies of their minds, those places he’d never been able to reach. His mother had had them, all his girlfriends had had them. And now his wife, the one he’d had to beg just to get a first date, to get the ring on her finger, to get her to stay when the grass on the other side glowed searing green. His wife was the worst of all. Because begging didn’t work this time.
     She didn’t even hear him.
     Despite his frustration, he counted down the weeks and days and hours and sometimes even the seconds. He craved the day when he would see his son—or daughter, he reminded himself; might be a girl—in the flesh. He longed to see that minute face, however prune-like it might appear at first. He longed to study those tiny hands, fingers laid out in all their perfect glory against one of his comparatively enormous fingers. He longed for the day, he hungered for it, and he stayed by her side because that day was coming.
     It was the only thing that kept him here.
     He’d seen newborn babies in sunlight—sometimes it was like you could see through their skin. They glowed red, and you saw the skin silhouetted. It was difficult to describe the wonder of such a sight. He’d always been insanely jealous of others and their babies. He was jealous of his wife for being closer to the kid than he was. He was jealous of his friend who was a single father. He wished he could be a single father too.
     Just Daddy and baby, living in harmony together. Glowing in the sunshine.
     Because really, what man needed a wife?

For the first time in weeks, a new expression flitted over his wife’s face. A slight pinching of her brow, a flicker of an eyelid, a soft intake of breath like a snake’s hiss. He tensed in his chair, leaning toward her. “Darling? What is it?” He called her darling out of force of habit alone, now. She wasn’t his darling any longer. Hadn’t been for a good while. But since all words were empty to him now, what was another meaningless utterance?
     “I think…” She’d had it for a moment there—a grip on the thing she wanted to say. But then it had slipped through her fingers, wafted out of her mind like every thought she’d had for the last nine months.
     His fingers itched to slap her. He tensed the muscles of his arm to keep it by his side. He gritted his teeth and reached out in his mind for an anchor. Something to hold him steady on the stormy seas. He was so close, so close. He couldn’t ruin things now.
     He wouldn’t let her ruin things now, when he was so close.
     “Darling? What is it?”
     She blinked. “I think the baby…”
     And then she doubled over, as far as her distended belly would allow her to, and that flicker of discomfort became a fixed mask of pain. Teeth were bared, eyes squeezed shut, and breathing sped up. A strange guttural moan began in her throat, and he saw her chest rattling with it. Then he saw the belly—it was moving, writhing, the creature inside it fighting to get out. Fighting for air and freedom.
     He knew it then—the baby didn’t want her anymore than his Daddy did. The baby wanted freedom. The baby wanted a life with just Daddy.
     It was settled, then. Daddy would take care of him.
     He would.

At the hospital, it was everything he could do to hold everything on the inside. He was bursting with feeling: excitement, fear, desperation, elation. Anticipation. He anticipated the beginning of his life, for really, life hadn’t begun before now. The baby would kick start everything. The baby would breathe new life into its lungs and into its father. The baby would change the world.
     But first, it had to escape the prison of its mother’s womb.
     He’d started to wonder, in the last few minutes, if that creature was the baby’s mother after all. How could such a sublime creature have such a thing as a mother? Surely it was more divine than that. And somehow, the thought of that baby being tainted with such a vacuous influence was too awful to bear. So he decided, in his infinite wisdom, that the baby was his and nobody else’s. Mothers didn’t matter, anymore than wives did.
     He was forgetting his own beloved mother, of course. But it had been so long since she died that it was natural he would’ve forgotten. All he knew of women was the one he’d married, the empty shell who had served as a vessel for the growth of his son. His only son. There would be no others. For there to be others would mean taking attention away from the child. That couldn’t happen, not even for a moment. The child was all, it would be everything. And together, he and the child would never want for anything more.
     The vessel was laid out on a cot. The kind that rolled down hallways, when pushed. She was laid out, and her stomach climbed into the air like a mountain. The baby pushed against its bonds with increasing fervour and strength. Growing more desperate. Daddy was hard pressed not to lunge for the cot and plunge his hands into that mountain, ripping his child free. He was hard pressed not to wrestle the vessel to the floor and scoop its treasure out. But ending up in prison wasn’t his idea of quality fathering. That would really mess things up. So he stood beside the cot, staring down at the trembling mountain and biting his tongue. Clamping down on the scream that built inside him.
     At last, the nurses arrived and the cot began to move. The vessel was wheeled along one hallway, then along another. At a pair of double doors, he had to fight the nurses to be able to follow. In those days, fathers weren’t meant to be anywhere near the birthing room. But he knew just the right wheedling words to say, and he said them, and he begged and pleaded and he even cried a little. It was easy. All he had to do was think of a life without Baby. The tears flowed freely after that.
     In the birthing room, things happened quickly. Nurses spoke encouraging words while Daddy held his tongue, unable to speak for fear of unleashing a stream of invective. He raged inwardly at the vessel for taking so long. How dare she withhold his treasure from him? How dare she laugh at the ceiling, eyes practically crossed from the stupidity flowing in her veins. How had he never noticed her stupidity before? How had he been so blind?
     At last, things started to look up. The nurses began talking of crowning, and Daddy knew that meant something about the head appearing. He gathered it hadn’t appeared yet, but was set to at any moment. He tried to lean closer, tried to see, but bodies crowded in front of him to keep him away. He growled and clenched his fists and thought about smashing faces in. Only thought about it, mind; it’d never do to end up in jail at this particular moment, when he was so. damn. close. It was the hardest thing he’d ever had to do, though. Hold himself back. Restrain himself. Wait.
     Voices rang out in the room, and the vessel’s stupid airy laughter coated everything. Daddy felt in desperate need of a shower, but that was hardly his main concern. His main concern was an exclamation from one of the nurses: “Oooohhhhh…” And then the strange croaking sound, the kind of sound he’d never heard before. It made him think, Baby! but no, it couldn’t be. Babies didn’t sound like that…did they?
     All fell silent, but for the vessel’s hateful laughter and the beeping of machines. The thundering of Daddy’s heart in his chest. The ticking of some distant clock. The faint hush of activity beyond the doors of the birthing room. Daddy’s thundering heart. What is wrong? he found himself thinking. But nothing could be wrong. Nothing at all.
     “Where’s my baby? Where is he?”
     Nobody looked at him. All eyes were on the vessel, or rather on what had just come out of her. He could not see! And though he tried to be polite about it, nobody was letting him through. So, politeness wasn’t the way. He had to try something new.
     He shoved the first nurse aside, and the second. People started getting the message, shifting so he could pass. The vessel’s mindless titter wafted through the air, grating on his nerves, making him flinch. The way forward parted, the crowd around the cot making way for him. For a moment he had eyes for something other than his baby, and what he saw sent a faint chill through him. Round saucer eyes full of fear, a nurse’s mouth hanging open in apparent disbelief. Sympathy. Sorrow. Confusion. Horror.
     What the hell is wrong? He longed to ask, but he had no time for questions. He had to see with his own eyes.
     At last, the cot was revealed. The vessel was torn open, blood everywhere. He could hardly see that she had been a person. He realised that the sound of her laughter was in his head, not happening for real. It echoed in his head, seeming to grow louder with each second that passed. Blood and gore and death greeted him. But not everything was dead.
     There, nestled in the middle of a lake of wet and sticky redness, was a creature so unlike any human baby that Daddy had to wonder just what he was looking at. The thing had a spine on the outside, it had protrusions from its back that he quickly recognised as folded bat wings, it had oddly arched eyebrows that reached nearly to the hairline. And the hair. It had a fountain of black hair, longer than its body, clumped with blood and bone and other unrecognisable matter. But the main thing he saw was the eyes. Glowing orange-yellow like the strongest flame, blazing from where they nestled in a misshapen head, the eyes fixed right on Daddy and seemed to glow even brighter. Daddy, a voice whispered straight into his mind. You’ve come, at last. Take me home, Daddy. Let us begin our life together.
     And despite the dismay all around him, Daddy wasn’t sad at all.
     The grin on his face was fixed—destined to stay there forever more.
     He scooped his child up into his arms and cradled it, gazing down with mindless adoration into that beloved face.


  1. Certainly not a pencil, hmm hmmm? Jk. Deliciously weird and good! Third paragraph was my favorite; can't pinpoint why.

    I bet any pregnant woman who comes across this will shudder,lol.

  2. Ohhhh my God. Trisha, this is TERRIFYING! Jeez! I was so scared for the mommy...

  3. I'm not sure I can explain why, but I found this story incredibly funny. The whole time I was reading I was wondering if this was a story about--not to speak ill of the dead, but of his interviews do feature some similar scenes--Michael Jackson. God, I wonder what kind of pop songs would come out of an experience like this.

  4. LOL. It wasn't about Michael Jackson, just for the record... :P I'm a big MJ fan too, even if he was a wee bit...strange.

    I've known men who were jealous of women's ability to get pregnant and carry a child. The whole "pencil" thing was the baby not being a normal baby. But yeah, it took on a life of its own...the story, that is.


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