December 27, 2012 by Vee Villarreal
Lana – Memory
Lana lay on her side in the small cot that served as her bed. The swell of her abdomen, now so large that the skin stretched tight over her stomach, extended out in front of her. She avoided touching it and treated it more as a growth or tumor, some unwelcome invader, rather than her child growing inside her womb. There was none of the elation or excitement she felt with her previous pregnancies, with this one she felt wasted and sullied. They were using her as storage, as a vesicle to grow their super mutant progeny, and what’s worse they took her DNA as well. Her only solace was that for the most part the white coats left her alone now.
The last time they took her to the lab that wicked man had been there waiting for her, with his cold eyes and false smile. He was always so chatty, filling the void between them with his sticky, sweet voice. She’d barely noticed when Mezrahii began to speak of her family she’d gotten so good at drowning out his voice. When he mentioned Ihe she perked up immediately, they hadn’t seen each other since the night she was raped. Mezrahii began to apologize profusely to her, stroking her head in an empty gesture to reassure her. Her stomach tied tight in a knot as he explained that Ihe had died along with her son. No explanation of how or why or which child she had lost. How could they be gone? Her husband was young and strong, his father had lived to be an old man and Ihe would have too if not for these monsters. Lana grew furious strapped to the metal exam table as she considered all that she’d lost since they’d taken her. Were her children alive? Were they unharmed? Which son would she never see again, if she saw any of them again? Tears stung her eyes and Mezrahii’s hands continued to probe her as though he hadn’t just delivered devastating news. Was it Mario or Danny? Danny was just a child, but so headstrong, what if he had challenged one of the guards and they attacked him? Or maybe it was her baby? The thought was too much to bear as she imagined Kopi’s sweet face in her mind; her precious six-year-old with his stubborn features and brilliant smile framed by wild and overgrown locks. She turned her head away to remove herself as much as possible from her surroundings. What kind of people would kill a child? A firm hand palpated her distended stomach and she thought about the child growing there for the first time with a note of concern. What would they do to this child? A pang gripped her chest as the realization sunk in. While she did not want this baby she couldn’t just let them have it. Mezrahii was sick, he would do something to the child, things she didn’t even want to consider. Her wrists chaffed against the bindings as she struggled. She had to get free, she had to get away. Find her family and get out. A feral, guttural cry escaped her throat as she began to sob. How could she get away? She was nearing her due date and even if she could free somehow she had no idea where her children were.
The weight of being alone was bearing down on her. In all her life she’d never been alone, as the oldest of seven children she had her siblings for company until she married Ihe and moved to his home. Shortly thereafter they had children of their own. If she ever got free of this place she would still be alone. In the distance she heard the sharp beep of machines like a drill in her skull, but her thoughts were frantic and accelerating as she realized that she would never look upon her husband’s face again, and how would she find her children? Would they recognize her after all this time? Shortly after the world went black and she woke in her cot.
Her head ached, a furious pulse behind her eyes, but she didn’t care. She couldn’t bring herself to care about anything now. Lana’s skin crawled in the frigid room, she should get up, move around a bit, but she couldn’t bring herself to move. She stared blankly at the gray cement wall, her eyes too swollen and dry to cry anymore and her mind eager to drift back asleep, away to a black where she couldn’t dream about or remember a time before this place. It was too painful to think of it, better to stay here where all she could expect was pain and cold and hunger, without the bitter sting of joy and love that she could no longer feel. She prayed for stillness…
….for the warm embrace of nothing.
She prayed for an end.