A woman makes a decision about her baby.
|Written for "Invalid Item"
Jenna stood outside the clinic, working up the nerve to go in. She rubbed her belly. She could feel the baby inside moving. She knew that the baby wasn’t big enough that she should be feeling him, but she could. She wondered if maybe she was further along than she thought. She didn’t know who the father was… she had her suspicions.
The clinic was on the top floor. Jenna prayed the entire way up. Every now and then the elevator lurched, so she held onto the hand rails, sure that at any minute the elevator was going to break and plummet to the bottom of the shaft… or further. Finally the elevator reached its destination, groaning loudly as it came to a stop.
The first thing she noticed when the doors opened, was the smell. The scent of death permeated the air. The room was nearly empty. There was one woman sitting with her back pressed firmly against the back of her chair. Her eyes were focused on the door across from her.
The receptionist looked up from a clipboard she’d been writing in and smiled. “Can I help you, sweetie?” Her voice was kind and Jenna had a hard time reconciling that with the shabby appearance of the clinic.
“I have an appointment. Jenna Corwin.”
“Oh, yes. You called in today for a consultation. You’re lucky, our schedule was full, but Dr. Boswell said to squeeze you in.”
“I appreciate it,” Jenna said, taking the clipboard from the woman. She started to fill out the paperwork. The door behind her opened and a female voice called out, “Kendra?”
A woman stood and went through the door, followed by a man. She was almost finished with the paperwork when the door opened again and another woman came out. Jenna turned to look and gasped. She was pale, like she had been sick for a while, and could barely stand on her own. A man had his arm around her back and was helping her move towards the elevator. Jenna looked down, not wanting to be caught gawking and then wished she hadn’t. There were globs of blood clinging to her legs. Feeling sick, she looked away. She began counting, a habit she had whenever she tried to compose herself. She had begun that when her father had decided she was to be her mother’s replacement. The rhythmic counting helped her focus her attention elsewhere and not at what was happening at the moment. Only this time it didn’t work. Inside she felt her baby, kicking more violently than usual. She wondered if he knew where they were at. Maybe he sensed her fear. Then a roach ran across her hand and she dropped her pencil.
“I’m sorry,” she said, taking the clipboard back up to the desk, “this was a mistake. I’m just going to go.”
“Hold on a moment, you don’t have to decide anything today.”
“No… I, I don’t think I can stay. I’m sorry for wasting your time.”
“You’re scared. That’s normal.”
She tried to say no. Instead she found herself being guided towards the door. “This way, please.”
“Turn around, turn around, turn around.” Like a mantra, she kept repeating that over and over in her head. She willed herself to obey, but it was as if she had no choice but to continue moving forward.
“I should have brought someone with me,” Jenna thought. “He’d have to let me leave then. No one knows I’m here.”
“In here.” The nurse gestured into a room. There was a dirty table with darkish stains on them. Jenna swallowed, realizing they were blood stains. On the floor next to the bed was a bucket. Blood dripped from the side. Jenna looked inside and saw a tiny body inside.
“Oh my God!” She covered her mouth and turned away, horrified. Her stomach heaved and the nurse moved the bucket so that she was looking down into it again.
“If you’re going to throw up, please do it in here. Less for me to clean up.”
That was it. Jenna moved for the door, but her stomach heaved. She vomited all over the floor and a pair of black loafers that had just stepped into the room.
“You forgot to remove the bucket from the room,” a deep voice accused.
The nurse sighed, “I didn’t see the point. It’s not as though she’s going to complain to anyone.
“I’m not… I changed my mind. I don’t want to go through with this.”
“I know that, dear,” the nurse said, while Dr. Boswell chuckled.
Jenna looked up at the doctor. She was a history student, so she recognized him right away. At first she thought it had to be a coincidence… he couldn’t really be Aribert Heim. He’d be close to a hundred years old, if he were still alive… which he wasn’t. Aribert Heim, AKA Dr. Death had died in 1992.
He put her feet in the stirrups and she found her voice. “Stop it!” The spell that seemed to have come over her was broken when she felt his fingers pushing into her. She struggled against the nurse and the receptionist, who were holding her down and restraining her arms with some cloth. The doctor continued to violate her, pushing his hand into her now. A sharp pain coursed through her body. Inside her, she felt her baby struggling as the doctor pulled. The pain was unbearable and she screamed. The doctor pulled his arm out and held up an object. Jenna stared, uncomprehending at first, refusing to believe the thing in his hand was what it looked like. Then the realization that it was her babies arm. Her screams filled the room.
Word Count: 995