She lay in bed white as the sheets. She was alive. This time. Her mother and her mother’s friends had held her to this Earth by their very will. And they knew it. The baby had nearly taken his mother with him when he left this world. He, like his brother and sisters before him — was not meant to be. Born too soon, from a womb injured beyond repair — they would not ever be the children their father insisted MUST come to be so as to inherit his worldly goods.
If there were no intervention — the women would be back and the mother likely would not survive another ordeal such as this.
Knowing glances went around the room. The mother of the patient moved to her side. She laid cloths upon her daughter’s brow and murmured words of love and comfort to her. She promised this was the last time she would suffer such. Stroking her cheek, her arm, her heart in a mother’s way — she began the lullabies of their shared history. The group watched in silence as their charge fell into a peaceful sleep in her mother’s care.
A nod was exchanged and as one, they moved to the kitchen to comfort the distraught father-to-be-no-more, leaving mother and daughter in silence.
One put on the kettle, softly humming to herself. A second searched quietly in her bag for some tea to soothe the nerves of all in the room. The third — apparently the spokesperson — sat next to the man and took his hand.
She looked into his eyes — giving him the time and opportunity to do what is right.
Then she spoke, carefully choosing her words.
“The baby is lost. It nearly took your wife as well. She is alive — but weak. It is a miracle that. You are a lucky man. You might have lost both this night — but The Goddess smiled upon you to leave you such a good woman and a helpmate.”
The man — through grief and anger — did not share the midwife’s opinion. He cursed his luck, his wife’s damaged womb, and lastly The Goddess, Herself. The woman looked at him with sadness and pity. And then she looked at the others with not one touch of remorse in her steely gaze.
The tea was done and handed round to soothe the nerves and tempers of all in the room. The midwives drank theirs along with the man. And they watched without emotion as he slowly slumped and fell out of his chair. Eventually, his heart rate would slow to be imperceivable and then stop.
The women stood when they were sure he was dead. They cleared away the tea and boiled the tea set carefully to remove all toxins.
Eventually, one of them would contact the doctor. It was such a shame after all. They were all deeply saddened by the necessity of it. Truly.
The doctor would be perplexed. And he would exclaim — No one realized he had such a weak heart — in such a young man too! The stress of losing another child — a boy at that — was just too much for him. The women did what they could, but you know? They are only midwives.
Oddly, his father had died of the very same condition years ago. Perhaps it runs in the family? Strange how it only affects men? It must be something genetic — like baldness — wouldn’t you say?
The women would nod in agreement with the doctor and tend to their charge. And the tea set would stay safely in their bag — until the next time it was needed.
Note: My first try at a short story. I know it’s dark — but it’s completely inspired by Annie Littlewolf. And we all know how dark & twisted she is! Namaste!