Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Beginning

Prompt: A secondary character says this somewhere in your story; “He’s the cutest little boy. Makes it that much sadder, doesn’t it?”

Her hair sodden with sweat and arms fatigued from straining on the bedsheets which now lay torn about the room; Marilla rested her head back on the pillow and controlled her ragged breathing. The tiny, bloodied wet form lay between her breasts, its heartshaped face looking up at her with undisguised love.

“We have little time Lady Marilla. We need to get you cleaned up. Destroy the bedding. Cally will be here shortly to help me bind your figure. It will reshape back into your former slim self soon enough and you can be rid of the bandages. You should be able to walk out of here with your usual grace. You hardly tore at all; no need for stitches..” The shapeless figure in flowing robes busied herself about glancing only momentarily to the heaving body upon the bed.

Marillas dark eyes looked at wonder at the little form she had endangered her family, herself, her social position to be here and yet when she held him the agony and fear around labor, the months of hiding her changing shape, the cruel whispers about court were all worth this moment.

Without looking up from her tidying, the midwife commented, “It can’t see you, you know – you’re just a blob”

Marilla ignored her. The gaze was so intense. So full of hidden messages.

“Cally will be here shortly to take.. it away. You’ll have your life back again. Here, hand me … it…., I’ll wrap it up and get it ready to go.”

Marilla held her breath as her heart hammered. She clung to her baby.

“He needs me I can’t give him away. Not now.”

“Lady Marilla, you are talking nonsense; if you beg my pardon. This has been agreed, spoken about. Your parents have gone to great lengths to conceal your…indiscretions. You owe them.”

“My indiscretions? Is that what this about? I am to be punished for….”

“I’m sorry my Lady. I have my orders .You have your duties. God has punished you for your indiscretions with the pain of labour. You must hand ..it over and return to your place.”

“I can’t. I can’t abandon him. Not after what I have just been through. There has to be another way.”

With eyes cast down the figure replied, “Lady, I am one of the only tolerated midwives within the great city now. No-one….. has babies the way you have just done, not now. They have their new ways.”

“Has anyone though that these new ways might not be the best ways? We are supposed to be at the pinnacle of civilization but our lives are controlled at every step.My eyes have been opened. Its as if I can truly see now.”

A thin wail erupted from the small form.

“Why is he doing that?”
“He’s hungry Lady.”
“Well ……feed him.”
“If you are going to keep him, then you will have to feed him”
“What? How?”

The midwifes shoulder slumped. Even the most basic knowledge of birth and life had been lost to this big city and its new ways. She looked into the fiercely determined eyes of Lady Marilla. For one of them, she mused to herself, she had shown more courage during her labour than she’d ever seen before. Perhaps there was hope.

“You want to keep him? Do you understand the dangers you will put your family and yourself in if you do? Do know what they will do to you if they catch you with a less than perfect child?”

With a new determined jut of her chin Marilla pleaded. “He’s so helpless I can’t leave him. I have to keep him. There has to be a way to integrate him. They’ll never notice in a few years. He’s so perfect…. and no manipulation or interference. Certainly flys in the face of…..”

“Lady, I must remind you of the citys laws. What you…..what I …. have done is treasonous. If we were to be caught here…..”

“I understand.” Mechanically she droned the edict thrust upon her from a young age. “A new life has to be genetically manipulated and the final design passed by the council. At each stage, it is manipulated, rejected if not perfect, surgically removed at its due date and raised by The Nursery until they are nine months old. Its only then that the are returned to the mother……. This is the way we have all been told it is with life. But what I have just done. Doesn’t that count for anything?”

“Even though I am tolerated within the city, I know my time here as a midwife is limited. My kind is simply no longer needed. We have the new ways now. Come now – hand him over. The less you hold him the better for both of you.”

Marillas eyes desperately searched her midwifes face.“So we have to hide him for nine months. I have already hidden away for near that time.”

“Your parents Lady. I have my orders.”

The midwife couldn’t look into Marillas pleading eyes any longer.

“I’m sorry, of course. I understand how tenuous your professional standing must be with these laws. You have risked your position enough as it is.”

A soft knock at the door broke the silence.

Opening it a crack, Jodi nodded to the figure outside and allowed her to slip in.”Its Cally. Lady Marilla. She has come to dispose of your indiscretions. Your parents will want to see its been properly taken care of.”

With an awkward bob, Cally breathily murmured, “Lady Marilla. I hope your experience wasn’t too…… “she cleared her throat and looked away. “I’ve come on my orders.”

She held her arms out toward the baby. “He’s the cutest little boy. Makes it that much sadder, doesn’t it?”

Marilla clutched him closer to her chest. “Hes not leaving with you. I’ll deal with this.I’ll leave the city, do anything, but I won’t give him up.”

Callys brow furrowed with concern and confusion, looking towards Jodi for guidance.

“Go to the Nursery, find one of the discarded bodies and take it as proof to the parents. They won’t question it. Then come back here. We have to plan a long nine months of subterfuge”

With her free arm Marilla touched Jhodis shoulder. “Why are you helping me? Why now? What about my parents?”

“Like you said my Lady. They control all aspects of our life. As a midwife I am living on borrowed time as it is. You have reminded me that birth isn’t a medical experience; that it doesn’t have to be perfect. Who has the right to tell a woman what is natural or right with the creation of life?…What will you name him?”

"Turion… the battler."

Authors Note: some background history which has come to me about Turion - in no particular order here are some of the other short stories about Turions world.
Wish you were here
Stranger
Pining for the moon
Chrismis

6 comments:

arialburnz said...

Kewl! The last line of his name gave me chills. I loved this!!!

That's my two pence...

Arial ;)

William said...

Hello. Very interesting read. Have you read any Margaret Atwood? It had that kind of feel for me.

Ofira Sephiroth said...

Awesome. I couldn't stop reading.

Paul said...

Been a while since we've seen Turion around these parts - like you said, seems like a lot of people have gone to fill-in some background on their characters with this prompt!

Ali Bali Bee said...

Hi Annie

That's a great story to begin the life of your hero. Very realistic. I haven't had the chance to read the other installments yet, but I will do.

Cheers

Al

Jodi Cleghorn said...

I finally got here to read this! I too got chills at the end.

So this is how Turion the light of his world came into being. I love it!