This story is by K.C. Bouy and was part of our 2019 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
The sun sparkled through the mini stained-glass window. Beams of radiant colors illuminated the single bed. A pure white cross was centered around panes of colored glass. Selena took care not to block the beams as she paced the one room shack.
“The door… Is it barred?” A faint pain-filled voice hissed from the bed.
“It is, sister. I’ve checked twice already.” Selena replied. She must keep Drina calm. “Just breathe.”
“Check… again. Please, Lena.” Drina begged, her mane of auburn hair plastered to her dripping neck.
Selena skirted the shabby room once more, making a point to inspect the triple deadbolt locks. Turning she nodded to her sister. Drina sagged in the filthy bed, if the short-lived relief was from the security or from the contraction, Selena was unsure. The midwife hunched at the foot of the bed, her covered head shaking back and forth at the blood oozing through the worn bedding.
“We must fetch the physician,” Helen whispered, seizing Selena’s arm to prevent her from pacing away.
“Impossible.” A swift jerk of her arm and she was on the move. She gripped the edge of the bed to shift it slightly to the right. There, the cross was centered once more on Drina’s swollen stomach.
“They would have me killed. They would have me burned.” Drina gasped, gripping the exposed edge of the bed.
“Enough. You will deliver this child. Whatever happens after that, we will handle. Your only responsibility is to ensure this child makes it into this world.” Selena demanded forcing the midwife to cower on her stool. Regret filled her briefly but was replaced by ruthless determination at the dreadful sight of her sister.
“He’s coming. I know it. You will protect my son, Selena. Promise me. Swear to me; you will not let his father take him. You must protect him.” Drina moaned digging her nails into Selena’s hand. A contraction claimed Drina, leaving her hand in a death grip on her own. Tiny streams of blood flowed down her arm from where Drina’s nails broke through her flesh.
“My Son.” A sinister rasp whispered through the room. Panic filled Drina’s gaunt face at the familiar voice.
“I heard him, Lena. The Unspoken One. He wants my baby.” Drina sobbed uncontrollably.
“It’s time. Push now, my lady.” Helen commanded, taking control of the situation.“Push.”
Selena leaned close to her cherished sister, placing her mouth close to Drina’s ear. “I swear it. This child’s father will have no part of his upbringing. Shut out the voice. I did. Concentrate on what you are about to accomplish. ”
“He is… Not… a monster, Lena. Not a demon.”
“Just push, Drina.”
Drina screamed in pain, in defiance, in defeat. The stillborn, blue-tinged child lay on her chest. Tears fell from her eyes like rain. Causing drops of water to mix with the blood still plastered to her son.
“We must cut the cord, my lady.”
“No! Not yet. Do not take my child from me, do you hear me? Do not touch him.” Drina bellowed.“Save him, Selena. You have practiced modern medicine. You studied at the Outsider’s hospital. Save my son. Save Asher.”
Selena lowered her gaze from her sister in disbelief. After all the running, the hiding. After protecting her sister for eight months, they were right. It was an abomination. Not altogether formed. The Unspoken One must have gotten to Drina. He caused this. Now it would be Drina’s undoing.
“If you will not save him, I will!” Drina pushed herself to a seated position, pumping her hand on the child’s sunken chest. A futile attempt to get his still heart pumping.
“Stop Drina, just stop. He is gone.” Selena begged her sister.
“He is not gone… he is…” Selena crossed the room in two desperate steps to grasp her sister’s arm. Drina fell to her back once more. The vivid red in her face draining way to a pasty grey. “He … will… live. Protect him, Lena. You can trust Vincent. He is a good man.”
Selena rubbed her burning eyes, not daring to believe what she was witnessing. The child, the cold blue child, was changing. Color filled his body with a healthy glowing pink. Drina twisted their position outside of the rays of light. Screaming a weakened hoarse scream when Selena attempted moving the bed back in the path of the illuminated cross.
“My lady. She has lost too much blood. I cannot stop it.” Helen said to the shell-shocked Selena. Helen must have not yet realized the child was coming to life before their eyes. At the lack of response from Selena, the midwife screeched in fear, when the child started whimpering at his dying mother’s side.
“He … he … will live.” Drina whispered. The healthier the child became closer to death her sister appeared.
“He is killing her! Cut the cord. Cut the cord.” Helen shrieked seeking the knife attached to Selena’s belt. Selena grasped the hilt and pulled the long knife from its sheath. Her eyes were glued to the inhuman process that was taking place on the bed.
“Don’t you dare. You swore to me.” Drina commanded in one last show of desperate strength. She sagged into the bed when Selena dropped the knife on the ground. It clattered in the silent room. Helen made a grab for the sharp object, but with a swift kick of her feet, Selena sent it flying across the floor.
The child cried out for the first time, as Drina’s dull eyes closed for the final one. Selena dropped to her knees in overwhelming grief. This was to save her sister. Not to kill her. They ran to save her. She had expected to bury the child. Not Drina. Never Drina.
“What do we do now?” Helen whimpered from the corner of the room. “It can’t be human. Oh my God. Did she lie with the Unspoken One? Is this child from Hell? I have to warn the Elders. I have to…”
Selena gripped Helen’s throat to stop her hysterics. “I swore to my sister I would protect her child, and now you want to hand him over to a group of men that will kill him at first sight?”
“He is not hu…” Helen choked out around the hand strangling her.
“He is Drina’s child. Asher is Drina’s son. No harm will come to him.”
“Ash…. a…. de..” Helen slumped to the ground, eyes rolling back in her head. Selena maintained her grip until she was confident the woman was not faking it. Crossing the sparse room, Selena picked up the knife and a bucket of water. Carefully, she separated the child from his mother and cleaned him up.
“He looks like you, Drina. Can you believe it? He looks just like you.”
A knock on the door of the shack sent Selena scurrying to foolishly try and clean up what she could. A brief look at the two dead women and the sleeping child told her it was no use.
“Drina! Open up!” Vincent yelled from the other side. Selena crossed herself and prayed while flipping the locks.
“What in Heaven’s name? Oh! Drina. My love.” Vincent cried running to his motionless wife. He turned towards Selena unable to speak, eyes questioning.
“She was terrified. She got pregnant and ran. The last woman that turned up pregnant in the village was burned alive. No matter what the woman said the Elders believed the Unspoken One got to her. So we ran. We hid.”
“I would have believed her!” Vincent shouted.
“You are an Elder! She had no proof the child was not for him. What case could she have made? There has not been a child born to the village in 20 years.”
“Oh, my love. I am so sorry. I would have protected you. I would have run with you.” Vincent sobbed over Drina’s cooling form.
Selena crossed to Vincent’s huddled body. She placed a shaking hand on his shoulder. “Help me protect him.” She said nodding gently to Asher. “Help me protect, Asher. Your son.”
“My son?” Vincent held his arms for the sleeping child. “My dear son. He looks like his lovely mother.”