Short Story Saturday: Decisions, Decisions

It was a typical night at his place: takeout paired with an obscure yet satisfyingly gruesome horror movie, a couple of cocktails, fuck, then pass out. But something about tonight felt different; it was different. After the climax, we laid in each other’s arms as our bodies cooled. The bedroom was dark with a little slice of moonlight peeping through the curtains. He’s fast asleep. But I laid there, mind racing, staring into nothingness. I skillfully moved his heap of flesh snug across my waist and walk by moonlight to the bathroom to clean myself. Turning on the light, I catch a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror. “Fuck”, I whispered while staring in the mirror. “Something’s not right”. I splash cold water on my face to shake whatever thought is trying to creep its way into my mind. I look in the mirror again before turning off the light then ventured back into the dark abyss of the bedroom. As soon as I laid, he turned over, grabbing for me in the night. He pulls me close and is fast asleep again, but still I laid there staring into nothingness.

A few weeks go by, then it hits. The nausea, food aversions, gagging at the smell of my beloved whiskey, and ultimately the Lady in Red didn’t pay me a visit this month. Fuck. Instinctively, I knew what this meant but too scared of the confirmation. Stop being a coward and go to the doctor. The doctor visit was pretty routine then the dreaded “When was your last period?” was asked. I told the nurse it’s been almost two months. She looked at me over her glasses and in the most auntie way said “Oh baby, you know you’re probably pregnant, right? Let me grab a test so we can be sure.” After taking the test, she gleefully said “Yup, you’re definitely pregnant” When she realized I’m wasn’t smiling back; she began to speak again but I couldn’t hear her. What is this I’m feeling? Happiness, sadness, fear? Yes. I’m damn near 30 so these things are bound to happen, right? I mean, at least it happened with someone I love and loves me back, right?

I left the doctor’s office dazed. She provided informational paperwork regarding pregnancy expectations, adoption and abortion. I walked to my car and sat in silence, still not knowing how to feel. Guess I should tell him the news. As the phone rings, my mind is racing, hoping to find some sanctuary with him. “I’m pregnant” I blurt out before he greets me. I expected him to be taken aback and shocked but happy. Instead he bursts into laughter. The kind of laugher you’ve experience in middle school when you’ve done something embarrassing and you’re forever known as that fuck up. Rather than comforting me, he spent the duration of the phone call berating, belittling, and blaming me for getting pregnant. In a panic, I blurt out “It’s fine, I’ll just get an abortion!” He’s immediately calmed by that declaration. In that moment, I knew it was over between us. Our once light, fun-loving and perfect relationship shattered. When we hung up, I cried uncontrollably. The cry came from the pit of my stomach. I felt alone, ashamed, damaged.

A week later, with my mother’s support, I went to a clinic. After filling out some paperwork, I was instructed to wait in the reception area until my name was called. As we’re sitting in the cold waiting area, my mother reaches for my hand and gently says “We can still leave, I’ll help you raise the baby”. “This is for the best” I said with a weak smile and grab her hand for comfort. My name is called and the long tedious process begins. The nurse escorts me to a room to get an ultrasound of the baby. I, being the morbid fuck that I am, asked for the picture of the person floating around my uterus. I spent hours speaking with social workers, nurses, counselors.

I’m in a windowless room alone when a woman in a black lab coat enters. Her entrance shifted the energy in the room and peaked my anxiety and curiosity. Her face was expressionless and intense. Without uttering a word or introducing herself, she sat down in the chair across from me and stared at me, peering into my soul. She finally says “It’s come to my attention that you wanted a picture of your unborn child, yet you’re here with the intention of ending its life, why?” I look down at the ultrasound in my hand, “I don’t know, I’m weirdly sentimental like that.” Her interest seems peaked as she leans forward in her seat toward me. “Do you have doubts?” Her eyes intently staring at me searching for my answer. “No.” I finally say with hesitation. “If you knew the type of person your child will be, would that change your mind about terminating the pregnancy?” I perk up a little in my seat. Before I could say anything, the strange woman stands and motions me to follow her. We go down a dark hallway only illuminated by red overhead lights. She leads me into a dark room in the back of the clinic. The room is empty except for a medical bed positioned at the center of the room. “Would you like to see how your child’s life will unfold?” She asked whilst gesturing toward the bed. Without saying a word, I nod.

I lie still on the bed while the Woman in Black placed two flat wafer-like structures on either side of my temples. She pricks my left arm and injects something inside me. “It’s a light sedative.” She says as if reading my mind. As I’m drifting off into unconsciousness, she pulls out a large needle and pushes it into my stomach. I drunkenly gasp. “I’m sorry for the discomfort my dear but the probe needs some amniotic fluid to get a full reading on the child”. I look up into the bright medical light above me and close my eyes.

My eyes open. I sleepily look around the room and realized I’m not in the clinic anymore. The room seemed familiar, too familiar. I’m at his home, laid on the couch. As I sat up, I felt heaviness and pressure in my stomach. I looked down to find it swollen the size of a melon. “What the fuck?!” I say under my breath as I touch my belly. The xenomorph inside kicked at the touch. I sat on the couch for a moment trying to catch my breath from the utter shock of seeing and feeling my stomach.

As soon as I began to let my guard down, I was startled by the clanking of dishes in another room. But my fear was soothed by the sweet aroma filling the air. I wonder who else is here and what they’re making. I rise from the couch and cautiously make my way to the source of the smell. Then I hear it, his voice. My heart drops as I turn the corner to the kitchen. There he is. His amber eyes looked up from the masterpiece he has created on the stove. When we lock eyes, he flashes that pretty smile. The same smile that got me pregnant in the first place. “You hungry?” he asked through the smile. Still in awe of seeing him for the first time in months, I could only muster up a faint smile and a weak nod. “Take a load off” he says gesturing to the seat behind me. He turns his back to me tending to the food on the stove. I turned away for a moment to find a seat at the kitchen table. After carefully sitting down and settling in my seat, I looked up to find him gone. The kitchen was empty and looked as though no one had been there all day. The pots and plates were even back in their respective places. As I gathered myself, I noticed I felt lighter, less pressure around my abdomen. Remembering my big belly, I frantically looked down only to find my stomach flat. “What the fuck?” Then I hear it. A voice. Only this time it wasn’t his voice. It was a soft whimper coming from the bedroom. I slowly crept into the room and found him lying on his back with a squirming and fussy wad of flesh on his chest. As I moved closer to the bed, I see it. A little person lying awake, hoping someone would hear its cries. I grabbed the sandy-haired beauty and held him close with his head directly under my nose. I smell his hair. It was a weird combo of lavender and cinnamon. I walked out the room to let him sleep and take the precious creature with me, I gently plop on the couch pulling the baby away from my chest to get a better look at him. He’s absolutely beautiful. I smile at him with an overwhelming sense of love and obsession and he smiles back. The same smile as him, with those same amber eyes. I sat staring at him for hours. Soon, the light in his jeweled eyes began to dim as he quickly drifted to sleep. I too feel a sudden heaviness in my eyes and laid down on the couch with the baby snuggled on my chest. Feeling the gentle rise and fall of his breath, I fell asleep.

I slept for what seemed like a moment. My chest empty and the baby gone. In a panic, I ran around the apartment searching for any sign of the baby or him. After a few long minutes, the front door opens. He walks with his hand locked on a curly haired boy. The curly haired boy looked about 6-years-old. The child sees me and drops his father’s hand. He rushes to me with enthusiasm and love. “Mommy, I missed you so much. Are you feeling better today?” I look down at the boy’s sweet and bright face with confusion. Who are you? Then I realized he’s the same boy I was holding moments ago, just older. I look up at him to find worry fixed on his face. He quickly instructs the boy to go to his room and to start his homework. “We’ll discuss your behavior later.” He says as the boys disappears down the hall, skipping and humming an unfamiliar tune. What a happy kid. A smile began to creep on my face as I watch him skip down the hallway. “He’s getting worse.” He says as he sits on the couch with his face in his hands. My smile fades as I sit next to him. “What do you mean?” He looks up at me bewildered. “What the fuck you mean what do I mean? He fucking stabbed a student with a pencil this time!” This time? This happened more than once? But I can’t bring myself to ask aloud. “It was one thing for him to cut people’s clothes or hair with scissors but to fucking stab them?! And you know what the teacher said he said after stabbed his classmate’s hand?” I waited in anticipation. “He just wanted to see what would happen! The fucking therapy isn’t working! And the parents are threatening to press charges and the school suspended him. What the fuck are we going to do?” He looks up at me for an answer. But all I could do was sit as still as possible, soaking in everything. “I- I don’t know.” He takes a deep breath and lovingly patted me on the knee. “We’ll figure this out, we always do.” He pauses for a moment gathering himself, “I’m going to go help him with his homework” He gets up from the couch and disappears down the hallway.

I remained still on the couch, reeling from the information I was bombarded with. “What the fuck is going on? He seems like a sweet kid but what the fuck?” Suddenly I heard a loud thud coming from the boy’s room. I call out asking if everything is okay. I waited for a response but hear nothing. I waited for another moment in silence trying to pick up any frequency of sound. Nothing. I get up from the couch and slowly make my way to the room. As I was just about to turn the doorknob, I felt something warm and wet on my socks. Turning on the hallway light, I gasped at the sight. It’s blood spilling from the boy’s room soaking my socks. I stare at the door for a moment then ask “Is everything alright in there?” No one says a word but I heard movement in the bedroom. I slowly grab the doorknob again and open the door bracing myself for whatever horrors await on the other side. Once the door is open, I follow the trail of blood and find where the path ends. The boy is mesmerized and hunched over his father’s body. There’s a pair of fine scissors lodged in his neck, blood saturating the floor and slowly seeping into the hallway. The boy turns to me, his bright amber eyes “I just wanna to see what happens.”

I felt a sudden jolt. I felt disoriented and unsure of where I am. But I’m back in the clinic, in that room, on that cold table. With the woman in black standing over me, intently staring at me. “You’re alright. We’re still working out the kinks of the extraction.” She pauses. “Here take this.” She hands me a small Styrofoam cup of cold water and a red jelly-like pill. “It’ll help calm you. We pulled you out early as your heart rate was off the charts. This system isn’t equipped to withstand such stresses.” She pauses again, waiting for me to take the pill. I do. And hand her the empty cup. “I won’t ask what you saw on your journey, but I’ll give you a moment alone to fully awaken and gather your thoughts. I’ll return in a moment to discuss your final decision.” As the woman in black turns to leave, I grabbed her arm. “I don’t need time. I’ve made my decision.”

Doc Discussion: The Woman Who Wasn't There

Doc Discussion: The Woman Who Wasn't There