Sheila walked out of the musty smelling clinic feeling much better about her future. The clinic was a relatively new office. Sheila only knew about it because she overheard two teenagers talking about it being the cheapest in town. It was also in a part of town she pretty much avoided, so she was sure that the chances of being seen by any of her acquaintances was next to zero. Inside, the floors were browning with age and the musty smell she noticed was just part of the ambiance. She couldn't wait to leave, so as soon as her procedure was finished, she rushed out to the fresh air and freedom. She was still crying because she had conflicting emotions, but her emotions were a luxury she could not afford. She was 28, single, very attractive, and had just passed her bar exam. Sheila had done something no one else in her family had ever done, she finished college. This was just one last roadblock to the rest of her life.
Being a lawyer was never something she had dreamed about, she just wanted to be successful. The luxury car, the perfect house, and the always full bank account is what she wanted. Plus the added bonus of being the one all of her relatives envied helped. Sheila had studied hard and nothing was going to stop her from achieving the financial success she deserved, including the drunken fling with Robert-Roger-Ronald, whatever his name was, last month. Sheila had met him at a party her best friend Tina had thrown. He was mildly attractive, but that didn't matter to Sheila because she wasn't taking him home to mom and dad. She remembered him from school, but never paid much attention because she wasn't there for fun, Sheila was there to learn. So she had a couple drinks and they started talking, and the more she drank, the cuter he became, and the more irresistible. Besides, she figured he was lucky she was talking to him. Over the next couple weeks she started feeling differently. Sheila was feeling nauseous more often than normal. She didn't realize until her regular menstrual cycle came and went without a single drop of blood that she might be pregnant. One pregnancy test removed all doubt, she was carrying. So Sheila did what she felt she had to do, even though everything inside her screamed against it and she knew her mother would kill her if she ever found out. 'Oh, well', she thought, it wasn't like her mom would be taking care of it.
So, out of the clinic Sheila walked. She wiped the tears from her eyes, felt the sun shine on her face, and embraced her future without 'what's his name's' kid.
"Are you okay?" Her friend Tina was waiting in the car, afraid to leave it unattended in their new, very temporary surroundings.
"Yeah, I'm fine. Just glad its over." Sheila replied. "I just want to go home, get a nap, and forget this whole thing ever happened. This stays between us, right?"
"Of course, what kind of friend do you think I am?" Tina asked dejectedly.
Sheila knew what kind of a friend Tina was, she also knew that Tina . Tina would always be there for her, as long as it was convenient.
"Yeah, I know. I'm just tired. And hungry," said Sheila.
"Sooo? What was it like?"
"Really?" Sheila felt her insides knot up. She didn't expect that question. It wasn't an emotional response, or a mental response, but an actual physical response. "Really? You'd ask me that right nowaaaaaah!" She grabbed her midsection.
"Whoa! What was that? That CAN'T be normal!" Tina looked shocked.
Sheila felt the sweat start beading on her forehead and took a few deep breaths, "doctor said there might be some discomfort at first, ohh gawwd! I just need to lie down for a little bit."
Tina drove a little faster until they reached Sheila's apartment. She parked her car in front of the building. Tina got out and walked around to Sheila's side and opened the door.
"No, I'm okay. I'm feeling better. I'll be alright. Go on home. I'll call you in a little later," Sheila said as she stepped out of the car.
"Okay, but make sure you call me later," said Tina as she walked back to her side of the car.
Sheila waved goodbye and walked to her door. She heard Tina's car drive away as she pulled her keys from her pocket and opened her door.
Sheila's apartment wasn't spectacular. It looked like a college student's apartment. There was a flat screen that student loans had paid for sitting on an old table in the center of the room. The couch had sunken cushions revealing the age concealed underneath the colorful pillows and patterned couch cover. The walls had pictures of her holding trophies, certificates, and other visual proof of her accomplishments, yet the absence of any family pictures revealed how she really felt about her relatives. She did, however, have one old picture of her mother and father tucked away in the corner of her bookshelf, because they were still her parents.
She was very organized. Sheila hated leaving a mess. Her sink was always empty, her countertop was always wiped down. Her cupboards were neatly arranged with matching dishes. They may have been bought at the local discount store, but they could still match, unlike most college students she knew that had convenient store cups and all kinds of different dishes stacked however they would stay up.
Sheila walked into her kitchen and pulled a glass from the cupboard. She opened the refrigerator, grabbed the jug of water, and filled her glass. She put the container back and walked to her couch, sat down, and took a drink.
'Ahhh, that feels good', she thought to herself. She felt a slight movement inside her gut, began to feel nervous, then farted. 'Whew.' She closed her eyes.
"Waaaaaa! Waaaaaa!" Sheila awoke to the sounds of a screaming baby.
"What the hell", she said out loud.
She hadn't realized new neighbors had moved in upstairs. She never saw them move in, she didn't see them bring in their baby, and this was definitely the first time she had heard it. 'It', she had recently become more comfortable calling them 'its'. Well, 'it' had to be up there because there were no other units connected to hers and she definitely heard 'it'.
The crying got louder. 'They need to control that baby's crying, don't they know other people live around here here?' Sheila thought. She was ready to grab a broom and hit the ceiling when the crying suddenly stopped.
Her mouth was unbelievably dry. She went to the kitchen for more water.
"Mommy, mommy!" she heard the baby squeal.
'That baby is loud' Sheila thought. 'Sounded like it was in my ear.'
She felt a coldness breeze by her. She shivered. Sheila turned to look to see if she had left a window open. She walked over and checked each window, all were closed.
Sheila walked back into her kitchen and rinsed out her glass, dried it, and put it away. She turned to head towards her room and felt a cold wetness in her crotch. She looked down and saw that her jeans had a glistening red spot.
"Oh no, not these jeans. Dammit!"
She walked to her room and into her bathroom. She pulled her pants off and saw that she had bled through the pad she had been given at the clinic. She cleaned herself off, put on another pad, and grabbed some shorts out of a drawer. She went back into her bathroom and picked up her jeans so that she could clean them.
Suddenly she felt another ripping pain ripple through her now empty womb. She dropped her pants and doubled over screaming out in agony gripping her midsection. It felt as if little hands were tearing at her from the inside. She reached up for the sink and vomited, a lot, much more than she thought possible on an empty stomach. The pain stopped as suddenly as it had started.
Sheila closed her eyes, took a couple deep breaths, opened them. For a moment she could have sworn she saw a baby's face in the mirror, undeveloped and dripping fluids. The baby's eyes quickly opened and the face disappeared. Sheila opened her mouth to scream but nothing came out. The image appeared and vanished so fast, she wasn't sure if she had really seen it. She stepped back into her room, breathing rapidly.
Sheila sat on her bed and grabbed her phone. She dialed Tina's number. It rang four times and her voicemail came on, "Hey, you've reached Tina..." Sheila jammed her finger into the end button before the message finished. She looked towards the bathroom cautiously, but saw nothing.
"Come on now, relax," she told herself out loud. "Calm down, you just need some rest."
Sheila turned around quickly. Nothing was there. She looked towards the ceiling.
'Stupid kid,' she thought. 'People need to keep their kids quiet, and I need to lay down.'
Sheila sat on her bed with her hands on her knees. She took a couple deep breaths and rubbed her belly. 'Maybe now would be a good time to start smoking, calm these nerves,' she thought sarcastically. 'Not like it would hurt the baby!' She grinned at that thought. It was funny in its own twisted way. She needed to smile, she hadn't had enough smiles since she found out she was pregnant. Now that she wasn't, bring on the grins again.
She laid her head down, looking up at the ceiling. She watched the ceiling fan spin round and round, noticing the dust build up on each blade. 'I'm going to need to clean those,' she thought. The spinning was hypnotic, the light clicking sound of the chain knocking against the metal base. Everything else was quiet. She closed her eyes.
"Hee hee heeeee". She opened her eyes. The baby laughter was deafening. She looked around, then looked down because she could feel something moving inside her. She pulled up her shirt and saw the shape of a face pushing up against her skin, and little hands poking around. The dip in her skin where the mouth appeared to be moved, "mommy, mommy! Where are you?"
She screamed, loudly! Sheila jumped off of the bed trying to back away from herself, though it was futile. She ran into her bathroom and threw water on her face, to wake her from this nightmare. 'Impossible, impossible. Something must have been in the meds that doctor gave me.' She splashed more water on her face. Sheila lifted her shirt, nothing. Had to be a hallucination, a very bad dream. It had to be.
She walked into her living room and looked out her window, sun was going down. The parking spaces in front of her apartment were noticeably empty. Sheila felt uneasy, because she was hearing their child, but from the look of the lot, no one was home. She opened her door and walked outside. She walked a few steps until she could see the upstairs window, and noticed it was dark, and still had the 'FOR RENT' sign taped inside with the managers phone number on it.
"What the hell, then where is that noise coming from?"
Sheila felt a very hot, wet feeling, and looked down. Blood was soaking through her shorts and running down both legs. A panicked rush came over her as she ran back inside, through her living room, into her bedroom, then into her bathroom. She jumped into the bathtub and undressed, quickly. She turned the water on and felt it wash over her, rinsing blood down the drain. She looked down and saw her belly bulge, then start pulsating. The cries of the baby filled her ears. Sheila screamed into the emptiness of her bathroom, tears flowing down her cheeks.
She ran to her bed, a trail of blood dripping behind her, marking her way. She grabbed her phone and dialed for Tina again, "please, oh please pick up" she cried into the phone. The phone beeped and then disconnected. She looked at the screen, no signal.
"What? Come on! Please!" She felt a ripping in her private area, the pain was overwhelming. She prayed that she would pass out, the ripples of agony were unbearable. She screamed again, but was feeling weaker, the screams were getting quieter, the baby giggles were getting louder. She grabbed at her stomach again, but the bulge had moved down. She felt a little relief at that, because isn't that what happens when a baby is born, it moves down. As painful as this is, it will be over soon.
Her bedspread was turning a dark red underneath her. Sheila laid onto her back and pushed. She felt her skin tear as something, it couldn't be a baby because she wasn't pregnant anymore, reached out and clawed at her thigh, fingers digging deeply. She was numb to the pain by this point and just wanted this thing, this 'it' out.
"Mommy, mommy" was squealed out as she felt another something clawed at her other thigh, digging, pulling. Suddenly what felt like a bowling ball popped out, and now the baby crying was definitely audible. Another painful pull at her legs and something slid completely out, the pain almost completely disappeared. Sheila tried catching her breath. She felt whatever 'it' was pull itself onto her belly, still wet, still bloody, but very cold.
"Mommy, I'm cold", it whimpered.
Sheila lifted her head to look. Whatever 'it' was, it only resemble an underdeveloped fetus. It's head was covered in bloody mucus, shining in the lights of the room. There were barely sockets for eyes, but those were closed so she couldn't tell if those were eyes. What appeared to be a piece of nose was hanging from where the nose should be on the skull. The baby smiled, exposing a full set of teeth and raised its two rubbery arms up giving Sheila a full view of its two underdeveloped hands reaching for her.
"I love you Mommy."
Sheila whimpered, frantically reaching into her nightstand drawer next to her bed. The baby bit into her stomach but she was still numb as the blood flowed onto her bedspread around her. She felt around until she found her old letter opener she had bought as a souvenir a couple spring breaks ago. She tried sitting up as much as possible, saw the blood starting to come from her stomach as the baby bit into her again. She raised the letter opener up and brought it down into the back of the thing making a snack out of her. It screamed, and bit harder, not slowing down.
Sheila raised the letter opener and brought it down into the fetus over and over again, sometimes missing and into herself, but from the loss of blood she didn't notice. Her arms were getting weak.
She looked up and saw the bloody mess that used to be her stomach. Her mouth was dry, but she couldn't move, she felt paralyzed. She laid back and closed her eyes. She was getting weaker.
Sheila's phone rang, but she could barely move. She reached for the phone and her finger touched the answer button, but knocked it off of her nightstand.
"Sheila? Sheila? Hello? It's Tina. You need to get to the hospital, that doctor you saw today is on the news! Hello, Sheila? I'm coming over"
Sheila didn't really hear the rest, she was drifting off to sleep. The pain was going away, she was feeling relaxed. She let out her last breath, and smiled.
March 9, 2013