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Sometimes a small pneumatic combustion cannon is the right tool for the job. At least when the job is spraying blood and gore into a fine mist, anyways.

FUNK brs @FUNKbrs

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The Cutting Garden: Chapter 13

Posted by FUNKbrs - February 22nd, 2008


Chapter 13

Caroline stumbled into work Tuesday morning, nursing a black eye and bruised ribs from the day before. She'd left Mrs. Black in Thug's teary eyed care, emotionally wiped out by watching the prophecy that had broken him down just a few days before come to pass. She sipped her coffee gingerly through a bruised jaw; savoring the blank empty mind the morning had blessed her with.

"What the fuck happened to you?" Jaleesa said as she saw Caroline half asleep at her desk. Caroline was stuck for words. Jaleesa couldn't possibly believe she'd been in a rough exorcism the night before, and even if she did, she certainly couldn't sympathize. There was something distinctly inhuman feeling about having someone as earthy as Jaleesa so close to her, and still having no one to confide in.
"I fell down the stairs." She lied, sounding like a battered woman in denial.
"Well then why didn't you call in? The owner was PISSED when you didn't show, and it didn't look any better when there was no one there to clock in for me. I technically AM your manager, after all." Jaleesa said tersely, clearly having been through hell the day before.
"I...I didn't think about it." Caroline stammered, left defenseless by Jaleesa's lack of compassion.

"Bob wanted to do a 'no-call, no-show, no-job' on you, but I talked him down to a write-up." Jaleesa continued and reached into a file cabinet, removing a pink sheet of paper. "Here. The official reason is absenteeism, which you're not exactly contesting. You might as well sign it. It's not like there's some kind of union to appeal to."
Caroline reluctantly signed the write-up, even her fingers feeling sore after the previous day.

Jaleesa affected an arch expression. "Oh, quit being so pouty. I kept you from getting fired, didn't I? Goddamn girl, you act like nobody ever gets written up. This'll all cool down in a month or two, and Bob'll go on vacation and forget all about it."
"I guess you're right." Caroline mumbled glumly.
"Damn straight." Jaleesa affirmed. "Now, you look like shit. Why don't you just take it easy and do some heartbreak specials? It's not like we have a whole bunch of work this week anyway."

Caroline pulled out of the parking lot feeling somewhat refreshed after having indulged herself in a two-hour nap after lunch. Her bruised had just started to darken and turn purplish during the day and that had helped keep Jaleesa from giving her too much flak over having missed Monday, even with Bob's reaction. Still, her first goal was to check on Mrs. Black, who'd taken a bellyful of broken glass just to spare one of her friend's lives.

Caroline parked her car and walked through the magnificent garden that surrounded Mrs. Black's cottage. As she climbed the short stairs, Thug opened the door with a concerned expression on his face and a sizable bruise on his head.
"How did you know I was coming?" Caroline asked, trying to hide her worry.
"Wooden steps." Thug replied quietly.
Caroline couldn't contain the question anymore. "How is she?"
"She said she wanted to tell you herself." Thug answered, still using a pallbearer's hush in his voice.

Quietly Thug led Caroline past the table that stood where the pulpit in the tiny country church once was, back into a minister's study that had been converted into Mrs. Black's bedroom. The walls of the room were covered in shelves, each shelf packed end to end in leather bound antique books. The bedroom was lit with natural light of a large single open window, illuminating a plain antique wardrobe and Mrs. Black's bed.

Mrs. Black lay on her back, reading, her head propped up by numerous pillows. Caroline heard the faint click of a door latch closing, and Thug disappeared from behind her.

"Well sweetie, I'm not going to toy with you. I have a lacerated intestinal tract." Mrs. Black stated boldly.
"So you're going to be okay?" Caroline replied, glimmers of hope tugging at her down turned cheeks.
"Of course not." Mrs. Black chuffed comically. "I'm going to die. I've taken good care of myself, but my liver's just too old to withstand the antibiotics I'll need to keep me. from getting blood poisoning."

Just then, Caroline noticed an antique but well-oiled flintlock pistol lying on the shelf nearest the bed.

"No. We can take you to a hospital. You just need to see a doctor..." Caroline simpered, still fighting the denial that had plagued her all her life up to this point.
"A doctor better than me?" Mrs. Black snorted. "Oh, I imagine they could prop me up for days, maybe even a few weeks, but only by pumping me so full of drugs I'd be incoherent and worthless."
"But you can't just...give up...I mean, life is about fighting off the inevitable..."
Mrs. Black cut Caroline off abruptly. "I'm over a hundred years old, almost two, and I've watched hundreds of people, members of my own family, my own flesh and blood, die in my arms. Had I died at fifty, I would have quit. At seventy, my death would have been reasonable. I've been an old woman for over a century, but I can't cheat fate. 'It is appointed unto every man once to die' and my appointment is LONG overdue."

Caroline had no reply.

"I have to apologize in advance for what I'm about to ask, but if you know anything about witches, you'd know nothing with us comes without strings." Mrs. Black paused, honestly recovering as sweat beaded on her forehead. Already the infection from her ruptured guts was taking its toll. "I need you to go see Thug's sister tonight. She'll be giving birth to his niece, my great grand daughter. You'll be acting as midwife."
"MIDWIFE?! I don't know anything about birth!" Caroline stuttered, incredulous.
"I'd go myself, but as you can see I'm in no position to." Mrs. Black said, her voice straining. "It's her fourth child. She knows enough about it to do it without you, but birth by midwife has become a bit of a tradition in this family." She said wryly, her voice becoming faint and hoarse. "Thug will explain the details. There's a bag with everything in it you need. Inside is a book that explains the procedure. Thug will handle the paperwork after you leave."
"But..." Caroline sputtered.

Thug's hand settled on Caroline's shoulder. "She needs to rest now. We've got a few hours to eat dinner before it's time."

Dilation. Contractions. Breach birth. Caesarean birth.

Caroline read and re-read the hand written she'd found in Mrs. Black's midwife bag, but she was already familiar with the subject from human experience. She'd grown in the age of teenage pregnancy, after all. Her main duties were helping physically pull the child from it's mother's womb, making sure she passed the after birth, cutting the umbilical chord, and washing the blood off the new born with warm sterile water before it fed from its mother's breast for the first time.

For once since Caroline had met Thug, he didn't seem one bit nervous. He carried himself with a sense of optimistic resolve, like the vice principal of a high school at graduation day. This time it was Caroline's turn to sweat.

Something was going to happen, something Caroline wasn't prepared for. There was a smell to the air, a taste to it, like the electric tang of the edge, or the top of a nine-volt battery.

Why would Mrs. Black do this? What was she trying to prove? Women were supposed to go to a maternity ward to have children, not have some naïve florist with psychological problems take care of things, all consequences be damned.

Thug was going to be an uncle again; the reason for his serenity and optimism was obvious after a little thought. What kind of family was this, though, to rely on her instead of conventional medicine? Something didn't smell right in Denmark, and Caroline had no idea what it was.

"Mrs. Black said it was going to be a girl." Thug mused over his fajitas at the Mexican restaurant he'd chosen to bring Caroline to for dinner.
"What was that?" Caroline said, looking up from the book that had occupied her mind for the past hour as she shoveled her bean and rice combo into her face.
"I said Lucille's going to have a girl." Repeated Thug.

Finally, Caroline put down her book and came clean with her doubts.
"Why can't Lucille just go to a real doctor? Mrs. Black is dying; it's only a matter of time before she'll have to start seeing a real physician anyway."
Thug chuckled, like an evil Santa Claus.

"She said you'd say that."

Caroline grimaced. She'd looked inside Mrs. Black's bag, and it had a lot more in it than just blankets and a little knit cap for Lucille's baby girl. There was a scalpel, a needle, and surgical silk in little sterile paper packets, as well as a giant metal device for gripping the child inside its mother in case it came out backwards. Who hadn't heard of miscarriage? Women could die in childbirth of shock and blood loss, but Thug seemed happy to place his sister's life in her hands.

A gentle pulsating buzz emitted from Thug's waist, and he looked down from laughing in Caroline's face to see who was calling.
"Two contractions within fifteen minutes of each other?" he mumbled, reading the lazily sent text message. "SHIT! We've got less time that I though..." Thug bounced to his feet, peppering the table in a spray of dollar bills to cover the cost of the meal. Caroline barely had time to put down her fork before Thug threw her purse over her shoulder and pushed her out the door.

The strange house was eerily silent and devoid of other cars as Thug pulled up, with Caroline clutching her bag of unfamiliar tools in a white-knuckle grip.
"Shouldn't there be some cars here?"
"No...Lucille won't be in any position to drive, and Mrs. Black didn't want anyone around to make you feel nervous your first time." Thug let the implication slip out without a second thought. Luckily for Caroline's screaming pulse, the insinuation that she'd be doing this again flew high and wide over her head like a satellite.

Caroline followed Thug sheepishly into his sister's sacred family home where she sacrificed herself each day, dying a little at a time to feed and care for her three, soon to be four children. At temple to life, a mother's home, capable of the miracle of the creation of human souls. The keys toward the closest thing to immortality were going to be placed in her clumsy fumble-fingered grip, and the pressure was titanic. In her head, a baby slicked with blood slipped through her hands again and again as her familiar self-doubt savaged her mercilessly.

The sharp scream of Lucille's birthing pains brought Caroline back to focus. She jogged a few steps to catch back up with Thug's increasingly manic pace to the bedroom, the scream, and eventually, the fulfillment of a promise to a dying woman.

"What took you so long?" Lucille grunted between huffing breaths, her teeth locked together in pain.
"Sorry sis. I thought I had a good four hours since your first contraction, like last time." Thug uselessly apologized.
"Whatever. Where's Caroline?" Lucille snapped.
"I'm right here."

Caroline tried to sound reassuring as she stepped into the harsh yellow light of an incandescent bulb.
"Good." Lucille barked abruptly, with overtones starkly similar to those of her maternal ancestor.

Caroline placed a mask of certainty over her doubt. Half of her job here was moral support during the trial of pain that was natural childbirth, to be a solid emotional rock for this fellow woman in one of the most vulnerable situations of her life. Even though she had no idea what she was doing, it was her human moral duty to act like she did.

Instinctually she knew she needed belief to give her the power to fill the role thrust upon her, and the only belief she could be certain of was belief in herself.

"Thug, start boiling water" she said authoritatively, giving her an excuse to be alone with Lucille, and also giving her the hot sterile water she would need to wash the soon to be newborn. Thug left in obedient silence, eerily reminiscent of the way he responded to Mrs. Black's commands. Now alone with her patient, she was free to lift her dress and visually check the dilation of Lucille's cervix.

Already the sparsely haired crown of the child's head was visible.

Lucille's eyes bulged and a huge vein popped out on her bright red forehead as another contraction ripped through her abdomen, releasing the world's most human scream from her lips.

The baby's cone shaped head surged a mere fraction of an inch towards its goal, a tiny yet symbolically huge distance. The sound of hoarse, ragged breathing replaced the scream as Caroline rushed to check on her patient.

So much suffering, just for continuing the cycle of life. Lucille tolerated the pain stoically, accustomed to life and its trials as only a mother could be. Caroline pulled a large, soft natural sponge from her bag and gently wiped Lucille's brow. Where was Thug with that hot water?

"I can already see the head." Caroline comforted, knowing that in this frantic state only the child being safely born was what mattered.
"Good." Lucille grunted between panting breaths. "It's not so bad...you know, her... not being here. She said... it would feel right... and it does. I just hope... you know... you can't leave us."

Lucille had another contraction, cutting her short. Caroline reacted more calmly this time, knowing her patient had many contractions to go before the widest part of the head passed.
"What do you..." Caroline said, but was interrupted by Thug thrusting a cell phone in her face as he laid the steaming water in an old tub of ice cream next to her.
"It's Mrs. Black." He whispered incongruously to Lucille's panting. Over the phone Mrs. Black's voice was an insistent croak.
"Caroline?"
"Yes?" Caroline affirmed.
"This is very important. You have to say yes. It's the only way to link the blood."

Before she could reply, Lucille screamed again, pushing with every muscle of her viscera to free the life within her. The child's head surged a slightly shorter distance than before as an even greater circumference of the head crested.
"Mrs. Black? Mrs. Black?" Caroline begged frantically in the dead silence on the other end of the phone.
"You heard me." Was the cryptic reply, followed by the phone hanging up. Thug looked around pensively like a child at Disney who thinks his round-eared hat may be in jeopardy.

Lucille's condition quickly snapped Caroline back to focus. There was a feeling of fulfillment her Caroline had only ever felt with Todd or Berry, a possession, but a human kind of possession, like her own spirit was in full control of her body instead of just watching from the side lines. To see another woman in such distress, helpless, and to be the only comfort for her was the most purely sexual pleasure she'd ever felt. Not sexual in the traditional orgasm-based sense, but in the sense of procreation, of succeeding for the human cause. It was the endorphin rush rich movie stars get when donate to charity, only cleaner and more personal. There were lesbian overtones, bondage overtones, and even enough blood for the most avid fetishist, but all available in a beneficial and socially acceptable context.

The beautiful agony of the contraction came again, and it was clear that Lucille was no longer holding anything back. The time for pacing herself while the baby dropped into position was over. Once the head was out, it was three easy squeezes between her and her newborn. The head crested to the baby girl's wrinkly brow, poised to emerge and take its first breath.

Caroline forgot everything except the woman in her care, in a way a mother and lover to her. She crept into position near the head, a warm towel and mouth/nose syringe at the ready. Lucille's panting was louder than words, louder than thought. Here at the edge, life was singular, simple and vibrant. The rainbow static crept into the outside edges of Caroline's vision, giving her tunnel-like focus.

The next contraction came fast and hard, like a breaching whale. Lucille's face was a brilliant mix of victory and pain, every vein in her face and neck standing at full attention. To Caroline's surprise, the girl's head came completely out and mocked the effort that had come before it. The tiny face was bright red; a good sign that it's heart was beating fiercely.

Lucille panted again, resting up for the final two squeezes. The baby's head was too fragile for Caroline to help pull it to life and freedom from the womb. Lucille gave a knowing smile and winked through the sweat and tears.
"Are you ready?" She said, with atypical poise, like a tigress purring over a fresh kill still lathered and bloody.

Now it was Caroline's turn to catch her breath.
"Ready or not, I'll give it all I've got." She said, eyeing the child's emergent head. Wasn't it supposed to be crying or something?

Lucille's teeth locked together like a white plastic zipper.
"3"
"2"
"1"
"PUSH!"

Caroline carefully supported the head as the shoulders started to clear, then grabbed hold of the tiny body and physically pulled it free with minimum force, acting almost like a spotter to a weight lifter, pulling just enough to get free.

Clear an air passage way.

Now was a critical time. The child had to begin breathing on it's own before the umbilical cord was severed, cutting off the supply of life-sustaining mother's blood.

Caroline cradled the bloody body in her arms, carefully sucking birthing mucous from its nose and mouth with a teardrop shaped rubber ball syringe.

Still nothing.

Instinct kicked in, and her strong right hand took over, striking the child gently but firmly with a palm on its fragile back.

There was a tiny cough, followed by a full-throated wail as a new soul recognized itself in a frigid helpless condition, unable even to life it's own head. Despite her pain Lucille leaned up and reached insistently for her child with one breast already exposed, all thoughts of gore, mucous, and blood forgotten.

The tunnel vision of rainbow static increased, reaching a crescendo into a rapturous holy white light that overcame Caroline for a moment. The child's aura shined, freshly minted and untarnished by the darkness of the world. Lucille's aura was dim and weak, but it's mother's milk was as bright white as child itself, it's beautiful liquid light burning itself into Caroline's consciousness like a magnesium flare.

There was still work to do, however.

"One more push." Caroline said reverentially, unknowingly expectant. Lucille looked up and pushed, releasing the placenta in a short burst of blood and amorphous tissues into a dish Caroline held under her. The placenta had a smell to it, an allure, but Caroline pushed that aside as she began gently wiping down the new child still in its mother's sticky arms with a warm, damp cloth. A tiny cap and blanket completed the job.

Lucille broke herself from her resting reverie with her new daughter.
"You can't let her go. Take my gift, and become one of us. I saw your face. It's ok. This is how things have to be."

Thug tugged gently at Caroline's wrist, the placenta raw and warm in his left hand.
"Please, Caroline. She said time was important."

Things solidified for Caroline. The placenta was the flesh and blood of this family, possessed of that ancient original magic of the soul. She no longer needed subtle hints to the gruesome task at hand. Her animal need was too great, her understanding too concrete. The ultimate delight, raw human flesh, was available to her in the only pure manner, the only acceptable manner possible.

Thug couldn't contain his grin as his sister's birthing blood dripped down Caroline's chin, her mouth, stomach, throat, and hands now one with the still living flesh of his bloodline.


Comments

Thats pretty good :)

ermm..a 5?

I LOL'ed here, "Women were supposed to go to a maternity ward to have children, not have some naïve florist with psychological problems take care of things"

You know a bit about delivering babies eh? ;-)

Good job dear.

You got anymore chapters done?

Actually, I know FUCK ALL about delivering babies. Like, not shit. Actually, I planned on watching some birth videos before writing that chapter, then I just got lazy and made some crap up based on what I'd seen in movies. YAY HOLLYWOOD, right?

Right now I've got all my outlines written for the new chapters, but no actual text yet. I had the whole thing half written by hand on paper before I started posting it.

There's a lot of sex-plot drama coming up in the next few chapters, and it's the man-on-man gay kind. I doubt my descriptions are going to be long and hot for those scenes, or rather, the one scene, like they were for the lesbian stuff, but then again.. I'm a straight dude. I have a hard time eroticizing wangs. I hear it's genetic.

Further more, YE GODS I left a lot of typos in that. I'm almost tempted to proofread and re-post it.