The Children are our Future
“Rician, you look healthy, not much longer I see.” She came forward with her large pregnant stomach leading the way. She was the last human that could produce naturally and it hasn’t been an easy feat. In fact, she was monitored 24/7 and hooked up to an IV just to be safe. When she came to us she was pregnant the first time and delivered a healthy baby boy. He lived until he was eleven years old but he was allowed outside the protective dome and he was killed before any of us could get to him.
It took a major toll on Rician and she didn’t get pregnant again until nearly nine months ago. Jillian was put on the task of keeping her and the children safe. Rician was gifted with the task of keeping the three five-year-olds safe, in fact, that’s why they called her mom. She was their mother, despite where their genetics came from. Just like when the growing fetus in the other room is born and survives she will become the mother of her as well.
“Still healthy and kicking up a storm. I hate to say it but I can’t wait to not be pregnant anymore. I know it’s a miracle and everything but they are giving me a lot of pain.” She complained, and rightfully so, I helped her over to the rocking chair she used day in and day out as the three little kids ran around the grass and played tag. They wouldn’t be allowed to see the outside world until they reached at least eighteen. It was for their safety.
“It’s going to have to be my last one. I was so sure I wouldn’t be able to carry or even conceive this one. My body won’t take much more. I know I’m young enough but my body has taken ill too many times this pregnancy.” Rician confessed and I laid a hand on her shoulder. I knew this would be the last one for her. It was very dangerous to even try to conceive and a miracle she did after the last one.
“We’ll make sure this one lives until they’re ready to bury you after a long long life. That’s my promise.” I squeezed her shoulder and watched her think about what I said. I knew her husband missed her but it was for her health and the child’s health that she stayed down here and that no one else knew about the baby. “Soon you’ll be back with your husband and your baby will be safe to grow and age in peace down here.” She nodded along with my words and leaned back in the rocking chair too tired to keep up with the conversation.
I turned back to Jillian who was playing with the three five-year-olds. Their laughter filled the air and when one of them fell down from tripping on the fake grass Jillian gently fell to their side and lifted Arthur into the air making him scream with joy. But then another scream entered the air and it wasn’t one of joy or from the children.
It was from Rician and she was doubled over in pain with blood running down her legs.
“Children, you know where to go when trouble starts...Right?” Jillian spoke in code to the three kids and when their faces fell and bodies went ridged I knew she had trained them to a certain extent. The three of them didn’t say another word, they turned and left for the fake trees behind them not to be seen again until the word ‘clear’ was given.
“Rician, what hurts? What’s going on?” I asked in a failed attempt to help. I was good with battle wounds but this wasn’t a normal battle. Jillian sprung into action and ran to the closet just behind the rocking chair. “Lay her down, the baby is coming and it’s not going to be pretty,” Jillian yelled out while she grabbed what she needed from the cabinet. I had never delivered a child, I’ve protected them and I’ve been one but never delivered one.
“You sit behind her back and I’ll take care of the baby coming out of her. Rician, are you still with us?” She shouted over the grunts of pain. They had been getting shorter and quieter telling us she was going in and out of consciousness.
She didn’t answer and when her body went limp against mine I knew we were running on borrowed time.
“I can’t do it naturally when the mother is passed out, give me your dagger.” She reached out for my silver dagger and I didn’t hesitate. It would cut through anything after all.
“I’ll make the cut and get the child out, you tend to her, there are things to stitch her up in the cabinet and bandages to help as well. We’re walking a thin line, you’ll need to start a new IV bag as well.” She nodded over to the cabinet and I saw the open line in her hand. All it was missing was a new bag on its line. I gently laid her completely on the ground and ran for a new bag. Hooking her up easily I watched the fluid fall through the tub until it met her hand. All I could do was wait and watch now.
Jillian had her open and blood was flowing freely from the open wound on her stomach. When she pulled out a small baby from Rician’s stomach I knew something was wrong. The baby didn’t cry not even when she cleared his mouth of anything that might be blocking it. She held the baby out in her hands. He was so small, but nearly full term. She pressed on his chest and stomach until she didn’t think it was worth it anymore.
I could hear her almost silent prayer from where I sat with Rician propped up against me. She was still breathing but just barely.
Sweat covered her forehead and the IV bag was nearly half gone. She was dehydrated for sure, but she was losing a lot of blood not being sown up. Jillian scooted back and tended to the baby some more hoping to get something out of him, I moved my position to her stomach and began to stitch her up. There seemed to more blood than skin at this point but I’ve seen worse. I’ve stitched someone arm back on them during a fight and came out a winner.
I started inside where her uterus was sliced open, then the outer skin making sure I didn’t miss anything. I cleaned her up and pulled her back into a sitting position. Her breathing was evening out and her skin wasn’t so pale but she wasn’t out of the woods. I lifted her into my arms and brought her from sector 3a to the main sector 3 and placed her on a metal table. The three kids would be fine for now. Jillian would tend to them.
Her stomach made it seem as if she was still pregnant, and even with the afterbirth cleaned out she still looked about six or seven months along.
I made sure she was on the table completely and hooked up to another bag of fluids before seeing if Jillian needed help. I watched as she hooked the new baby up to a ventilator and several other things I didn’t know the names of.
“How’s he doing?” I asked.
“I think I can bring him back. He’s breathing, barely...How’s Rician?” I gave her a grave look, I didn’t really know what to tell her. I wasn’t a doctor, I didn’t pretend to be a doctor. But I knew when someone was close to the grave.
“She’ll pull through, let’s get that baby breathing on his own...” I grabbed a pair of rubber gloves after washing my hands properly and helped in any way I could.
It seemed like hours had gone by but by the of our work the tiny baby boy was screaming his little lungs off. The ventilator wasn’t needed anymore and I breathed in a sigh of relief.
“What are you going to name him?” I asked when we walked into the other room where the mother, Rician, was finally sitting up and breathing normally like she was before.
“I like the name Ricky, will you tell my husband that he’s alive and healthy?” She asked while Jillian gave her the baby wrapped in a blanket.
“Of course, in secret, but I will let him know. I’ll see when you can visit him. Stay healthy.” I squeezed her arm and gave the newborn one more look before starting for the door.
“If you want to visit, you know where we are. I’ll send for you when the next one comes along. Until then, I expect your weekly visits to be back. None of this once a month stuff.” Jillian chastised me like a mother would and I smiled back at her.
“I promise, but I can’t promise I won’t be a bit grumpy from killing those beasts out there. Take care, Rician, same for the children.” I nodded and headed for the door. There was one other place I needed to visit and it just so happened to be on the same floor as I was now.
The children may be our future, but there is a piece of my past rotting in a cell I needed to deal with.