I watch her writhing, body doubling up as a fresh rush of pain hits her with all its force.
The Magic Wives tend to her and provide relief from the torment, via a torturous process.
A creature they call, ‘The Needle.’
She stays still, my love, despite the agonies. Pensive and ready, The Needle hovers at her back, eyeing flesh, finding its bite before sinking its endless cold stinger into her spine. I want to protect her but understand ‘The Needle’s’ purpose in being here.
I watch her drift from suffering, phasing through consciousness. They said the end may come in the early hours. We are here and no such finality threatens. I pace the room, hopeless and useless. Sleep is impossible, a long abandoned pursuit.
I watch her disturbed slumber, stroking her brow while fighting wild fears. But I mustn’t let it show. Perhaps I should give flight, although where would I go? An act I cannot contemplate with any real diligence. I belong here. To them and what is to come.
So I play sentry while the tips of my fingers and toes twitch with irritable jabs of anxiety. A Magic Wife asks if I am okay. I smile and nod. She returns to my love and continues her observations. I don’t know how they do this, every single day. The suffering and pain they endure in others, all that they do and take. They are divine, selfless blessings, criminally overlooked.
I decide to go outside a while, to walk in the cold gloaming of the witching hour. I can feel myself bursting from within as every moment feels a lifetime. The cold still air offers no comfort.
The bid to distract myself hasn’t tricked time. I ponder a cruel paradox of time. How we wish it to pass as I do now, for a ‘this time tomorrow,’ or yearn to freeze us in a moment precious and complete.
I head back to the room that keeps my love safe in these limping languid hours. My stomach turns, heart sinks, before visions of the ultimate purpose push me forwards, back to the room of suffering and potential heaven.
I return with hope of progress, crushed to learn all is as it was. A restless sleep takes me as I concede and crumple. An undignified heap in the corner.
The morning proper is here, it drifts with us. Time has ceased to matter in our tired muddled minds. New Magic Wives arrive, the faces have changed I see, the shapeshifters of endless nights and days. Yet their care remains as strong as ever.
Their presence reinvigorates me. I find alertness brushing my shoulders, readying for something or nothing.
The Magic Wives tell us it is time, the spell must begin. The stars have aligned. A flurry of colour and violent blossom begins, a nerve shredding moment and I am ready, focused. I look to my love and we know this is it. Her time has come. We cry as one to coax and encourage. I soothe her through waves of devastating urgency. We drive her on. She slams through oceans of pain, onwards, face fixed in fury and fear.
Go on, go on. Push to the light. Go on go on go on!
All oxygen ripped from existence as a deathly silence strikes. The world stops spinning and I am on the edge of it all. Teetering on a universal brink.
The plain cracks with our baby thrust into the world.
She cries from within a bloody grey coating, shivering and cold. My heart ceases, breath gone. I might choke. We look on in shock and awe. Instant heart wrenching love.
But a wrongness is in the air.
Her cries stop and she is turning to ice.
The Magic Wives met by a whirlwind of shapeshifters wearing different colours. They whisk away the dying light and try to evoke their healing on her. A desperate courageous scene where every second stabs at my frail heart.
I walk to the madness, hoping I can make it lest my mind concede to terror.
The little light lies prone as the magicians manoeuvre and feed her strands of purification. My mouth’s dryness from fear of crying overcome by a need to reach out to the new light.
I recall a word I used to utter when this fragile ray was on the other side of existence, waiting to break through. I could feel her kick from within when I uttered it. I touch the tiny soul, gently, and push my will towards her, “What is all the hullaballoo about?”
My head explodes as her eyes open and gaze into my own. An instant line drawn from her to me, and we are locked in.
I push my will towards her.
Today, as I hold her in my arms, safe and well, I study with unfailing intensity every expression and moment on her tiny opal face. I see shades of what will be. Her ages all glimpsed in a heartbeat.
Her soft comforting weight and scent impossible to exist without.
And we are happy us three.
My love and I…and our hullabaloo.
David DeWinter is a passionate writer revealing a collection of work in dark fiction, ranging from horror to comedy and all the messy bits in between. If you would like to hear and see more in person, here are links to two recent interviews, one with the lovely Manchester radio station ALLFM, about recent short story successes and the novel, copy and paste. The second is an interview with Boomers on Books, via YouTube. Companionship, escapism, relief and horror await….. Please note, some stories contain explicit language and content. Tread lightly. Thank you for reading. Follow David on Twitter @david_dewinter or visit his website at www.daviddewinter.com.