A Mother’s Love. Short Story.

As some of you may or may not know, there was severe flooding in Dublin a few days ago. My house was fine, but it was pretty insane, over a months rain fell in a few hours. After the rain stopped my dad and I went for a drive, just to see what everything was like. The river we went to was insanely high, highest I have ever seen it in fact.

We’ve always been the kind of people where they issue a severe weather warning for snow or rain or something and how you should only drive if absolutely necessary and we hop into the car and go for a drive. Now of course, we don’t take stupid risks, we aren’t the kind of people that think, “Let’s go to the worst afflicted area or the place where everyone get’s stuck in snow!” We generally stay close enough to the house, depending on where we are going or the general conditions. For example, last year when the snow was really bad, my sister and I went to pick up one of her freinds who was trapped in work. I tagged along too because I love snow and it was fun driving around in it/seeing everything. My sisters car was big enough and wouldn’t have gotten stuck. When the snow first began, the night that it started snowing, my dad and I went for a drive to have a look at it all. It’s quite fun, I suggest you try it, within reason of course.

We’re like the laziest storm chasers ever. Yes we will go driving through it, but it has to come to us first.

Other than that everything has been pretty much normal, though I feel kinda stagnant or something, it is the only way to describe it. I have lots to get done and it’s just small things but they’re building up slowly and surely. Well, I’m off to try and get some of them done before the shaky pile collapses on top of me.
On with the show!

———————————————————————————————

A Mother’s Love.

She sat, staring at the blank piece of paper, wondering just where she should begin. There was so much she wanted to say, but only so little space. They had fulfilled her last request, that she could contact her daughter and they agreed, telling her she could write a letter, but that was all. She had hoped she might be able to film a video, so her daughter could see her, hear her, but a letter would have to do. She felt the baby kicking and rested her hand on her stomach, then smiled. It wouldn’t be too long now, everyone knew and everyone waited with bated breath.
She leaned over the page and began to write:

Dear Cassandra,

I do not know what they have called you, nor do I know what name won in the poll, but this, I think, is the most suitable. You’ll be older when you read this, old enough to understand what has happened, or at least, I hope you understand. Before I begin I just want you to know that I love you, completely and utterly.

When I first heard about this I was suicidal. That may not be something a child wants to hear from their mother, nor something that should ever be said, but it was true and you need to understand that. I was considering taking my own life when I saw the ads, I decided then and there I would apply, it would be selfish of me not to. I could save someone else’s life. I never really expected to be picked but as we went through each round and I got closer I knew that it would be me. God had high plans for me and I was right. I never wanted a child, to bring them into this world seemed unbearably cruel and I could never understand how others could do it, but now I know. They do it for love, pure, simple love. When I lay awake some nights, wondering what you’ll be like, will you be kind or pretty, though I know you will be both, I wish I could be there for you, for your entire life, there though the pain, and tears and the happiness that I am sure you will find. I wish things could have been different, that I could actually meet you but I know that is not my fate.

I was alone when I first saw the ads, I needed money too, certain death lay at the end, but I still applied. It was something I needed to do, I don’t know if you’ll ever understand this, but I know you will because you too will have a calling, one you must follow no matter what.

I always liked the name Cassandra and now it seems only appropriate. Cassandra was a priestess, cursed with visions whom no one would believe until it was too late, but I wish to change that, turn it from a name forecasting bad, to one of goodness. I know you will probably have a different name because I have no say in it, but I want you to know that does not mean I didn’t care. Though you will never meet me, I hope that you will carry that name in your heart, to know that you were loved and that you were never alone because I will always be there, watching you, protecting you. This might seem silly, that you of all people might need protection, but there are other kinds of pain, the pain of loneliness, but you will never be alone because I will be there. Remember that.

I am sitting here, feeling you move inside me as I write this, it is painful, knowing we are so close, but so far away. But I know how amazing you will be. You are the saviour, not just of the human race, but of me too. You have and will change so many lives for the better.

I wish things could be different, that I could be there for you but that would be selfish of me. I had considered running away to some secret place and then we could be there together, but it is too important. There are ways that would allow me to live, but they will render it all useless. It is too late now to start another and I hope you understand and are able to forgive me.

Though I know your needs will be provided for I still worry, I suppose every mother is like this though. I fear that you will not have enough to eat, that you won’t have enough fun, that there will be times where you are cold or frightened. I know that your life will be full of hardships, what life isn’t, but I want you to face them with bravery and the knowledge that I love you.

I am proud of you, I always will be.

All my love,

Jenny.

She added X’s at the bottom of the letter and carefully folded it, enclosing a picture of herself inside, before she slid it into the envelope, she sprayed it lightly with her perfume. She didn’t know if Cassandra would be able to smell it when she was older, but she hoped. Carefully she undid the locket around her neck and placed it into the envelope before sealing it and placing it carefully to one side.

She stared at it as it lay on the desk, knowing she had forgotten stuff, knowing there was still so much to say, but happy with her efforts. There were things that she needed to tell and things that never could be told. Her daughter would know the agony she’d gone through, bringing her into the world, but Jenny could never tell her child that, how scared she was. There were guards surrounding her room, both her protectors and jailers. She couldn’t escape, they would kill her if she tried. They could keep her body alive indefinitely, while they waited for the baby to be born.

She didn’t realise what would happen when she signed up. She had not lied about it in the letter, she was suicidal, but now, now there was so much to live for. It seemed so cruel of life, of everything, that the moment she wants to live she cannot. The only thing she wants to live for condemns her to death.

The birthing would be painful, yes, they would give her painkillers, the strongest available, but she knew it wouldn’t be enough. The baby would be torn from her and with her first breath, she will take her first life, but Jenny was thankful, in some perverse way. Thankful that she got to experience this, that her life had been better, even though she was imprisoned, in the last few months of her life. It was a necessary sacrifice, for the survival of all mankind.

She didn’t know what her child would look like, but it didn’t matter, she knew her child would be beautiful. Others would look at her and feel only fear, but she would look on her child with love. Her child, the weapon to end all weapons, the saviour, the destroyer.

She looked in the mirror, wondering if she wanted to add make up. It seemed so silly, to be wondering if she should go to her death with or without make up. She left the small table and went to pick at her meal, her last meal. They would give her something in the morning, but she knew she wouldn’t be able to eat it.

She picked at the food, it was delicious, it always was, but she didn’t feel like eating, knowing what was coming, she was too nervous. Fresh vegetables were a rare commodity, but she had gotten everything she wanted or needed, trying delicacies from around the world, things even the rich had only dreamed of. At first it had been fun, the full gravity of the situation had not really occurred. It would be months away and there was still the chance of a miscarriage, of something going wrong, but now, on the eve of her death, she knew that nothing bad would have ever happened, they would not have allowed it.

She tried to sleep, in the giant bed that was so soft, so comfortable, but sleep would not come. She could request a sleeping aid if she wanted, but she didn’t. Jenny knew it wouldn’t harm the baby but she didn’t want to miss these last few hours. She sat and looked out the window, high above the city, one of millions spread across the world, but even from this height, where everything was supposed to look serene she could still see the destruction, like a sickness, a blight spreading across the land.

When dawn came she watched the sun rise for a few moments, the light, so red, so fierce, seeming to set the very sky itself a flame, reds and yellows spreading outward, it was breathtaking, as though the world was making an extra effort, just for her. She stood and went to the door, her hands carefully resting on her stomach, protecting the baby inside. They came for her soon after and she went without a fuss. There was no point. She would go to her death with dignity.

The room was cold and metallic, a faint smell hung in the air, thick and heavy, a smell of cleaners and bleach. They guided her to a table and, used to having check ups done in the very same room, she sat onto the bed and positioned herself. every time it surprised her that the metal bed was warm and not cold. She looked around the room and realised everything was sloped slightly, the walls, the floor. All leading to a drain in the centre of the room, it took her a second before she realised it was for easier cleaning. The thought should have filled her with panic, would have done so a few days before, but now she was at peace. She grimaced as the first contraction wracked her body, she would refuse everything they offered. Not because she wanted to feel the pain, but because she wanted a chance to catch a glimpse of her daughter.

Something sharp poked into her arm, she looked at the nurse questioningly, they all knew she wasn’t to receive anything. The nurse glanced away for a second, “This will speed up the process, help it along.” Jenny’s vision dimmed slightly, she tried to turn her head to follow the nurse but everything was moving so slowly, sluggishly. She tried to open her mouth but couldn’t, she realised what was happening and tried to lash out, to raise that alarm. She saw it in their faces as darkness consumed her, they had planned this all along.

Faintly in the darkness she could hear a newborn child’s screams, the sound faded and she smiled as her body shuddered one last time before giving up and letting her go.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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