Birth. Short Story.

I’ve been pretty tired this week, don’t know what it is.

I’m going across to my sister tonight, she’s moving, so we’re going to go give a hand/see the new house. Realistically, I’m only going to see the puppy. Let’s be honest here. Helping someone move some things is a small price to pay to go see and play with an adorable puppy. Who doesn’t love puppies? It’s an Irish Wolfhound pup and I haven’t seen him in about two and a half weeks. I’m really curious as to how much he’s grown, apparently he’s gained 6.3kg since I last saw him. Apparently he’s still doing he’s weird commando crawl. Basically his back legs go out flat behind him, front legs stick out and he kinda shimmies along the ground for a short while until he decides that walking is faster or he reaches his goal. It’s really freaky looking and looks pretty painful, but he seems to enjoy doing it. I expect he’ll stop once his joints are less like jelly. He’s also the gangliest creature I’ve ever seen, just terrible at moving his body, in a hilarious way.

Sorry. I got a bit carried away there. In my defense, puppy.

Ok. I’m done. I’ll stop now.

Also he’s named Finn.

On with the show!

___________________________________________________________

Her skin undulated gently, occasionally she would feel a brief shiver of pain, but it never lasted long. She placed her hand on her stomach, feeling them move. It wouldn’t be much longer. She smiled, then began to hum gently. She looked at the food on the table and paused in her humming, she began to eat. Her appetite was voracious lately, though there was no surprise there. They told her that would happen. She picked up a strawberry and smelled it, she couldn’t eat strawberries the last few days, but still, they gave her fruit. She bit into it gently, the juice flooding her mouth. Instantly she began to spit. It tasted bitter, acrid. She put down the last of the strawberry and looked at the meat. There was a lot of it. She picked up a chunk of beef and bit into it, juice dripping down her chin. It was cooked rare and tasted divine. She finished off the lump of meat and took a gulp of cold water, next, she ate some pork. She looked at the bowl of peas, then began to eat. Peas and carrots were the only vegetables she could stomach. When she finished her food, she stood laboriously, her stomach heavy and distended. She was completely naked, the pressure of fabrics on her stomach was painful, even if only lightly brushing against it. Her children didn’t want to be contained. She waddled over to the bath and sat into the warm water, sighing in relief. A few moments later a group of servants came and took away the empty trays, replacing them with fresh ones. Once that was done they scurried from the room, closing the door behind them. She laughed, seeing how they fled. They were so eager for them to arrive, but so terrified of being caught in the crossfire. She wasn’t due for another few days at least. the water soothed the pain, it made things easier. She closed her eyes and relaxed completely, wondering if this was how her children felt inside her. She placed her hands on her stomach, feeling it ripple. No, they weren’t nearly as quiet and passive as she was being. They swum and most likely fought for survival. She breathed slowly, deeply, ignoring the pain. They had offered her drugs, but she refused for fear they might damage her children. Though the doctors assured her it would be fine, she couldn’t risk it.

They had contacted her online, through the message boards she used. She didn’t know how they knew she was the right choice, or why they decided to ask her. For all she knew they were asking everyone, and it was just spam. But they had used her real name and that had caught her attention. They didn’t need to offer her payment or compensation, their end goal was payment enough. She had become bitter. Cynical. She was alone, anyone who got close to her would always fuck her over in one way or another. So she kept herself to herself. she didn’t work, not anymore. She did when she was younger, but after her parents died, she was a wealthy woman. She was frugal with it, using enough to keep her comfortable and no more. she was able to live a quiet life this way, never having to leave the house for much at all. Food was delivered, as were books or any other entertainment she wanted. Her face to face interaction with people was limited to once or twice a year, phone calls were seldom made or received. She mostly stuck to message boards when she was feeling lonely. There was no real connection. She could be anyone she wanted, there was no danger, no one would screw with her, no one would fuck her over. She was completely safe. She thought that perhaps they were tracking her online for a while, how else could they have known she’d be amenable to what they suggested? She had been intrigued though. They were upfront about everything, there was no deceit, no attempts to lie to her. She was, of course, wary at first, but they more she talked to them the more convinced she became until finally she agreed.

They had done all sorts of tests on her to ensure she’d be compatible, then procedures to make it all possible. It had taken over a year to get to this point. A year of injections and surgeries and hopes dashed again and again. This would be her sixth attempt, but she knew it would be her last. The water in the bath rippled slightly, it was tinged with blood. She felt a sudden pain rip through her stomach.

It was time.

 She took a deep breath, then called out, she hoped they were all right, it was earlier than expected, while she was told that could happen, it would be dangerous for her children. servants ran in, followed by doctors wheeling large machines. She wasn’t going to survive. She knew that going in, but neither would anyone else. The entire stinking planet would be wiped clean and nature could start over again. The servants thought they were all safe, but she knew they wouldn’t be able to stand the onslaught. They thought they were being clever, adding in the kill switch. They would only survive for six months once born, but they would get into the shelter, nature would find a way. She screamed as her stomach ripped open, no longer able to hold it back, she shrieked again and again, giving in to the agony. The water boiled and frothed, her children were finally free. Her head fell back, too weak to hold it up any longer, the last sensation she could feel was her children eating her flesh. Her body began to go numb, the pain fading. She smiled, their spores would already begin to spread. No one was wearing masks. No one would be safe. Nature always found a way. Incubation in a human was three months. They wouldn’t realise until it was too late. She closed her eyes and let the darkness consume her.

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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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