1 - The Seedlings
Copyright @ 2021 by Michael-Paul Harper
All Rights Reserved. No part of this book or story may be used or reproduced, plagiarized, copied, or duplicated in whole or part by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including screenshot(s), photocopying, recording, taping, or by any information storage retrieval without the express prior agreement in writing or unless specifically noted. Some ideas and concepts may be copyrighted property of others; acknowledgment of those copyrights is hereby given.
The Chicago skyline twinkles with overcrowded night lights that drown the stars. The El train whiz along the track. City life living. In the distance, Navy Pier stands against the lake.
An LCD billboard with vivid pixels reflects the tone of the WIndy CIty. Images of a beautiful COUPLE dancing, a WOMAN jogging along the lakeshore, an advertisement for a play.
Off a vacant lot, the marquee lights flicker over the oil-soaked ground. Beneath the sign is a row of vintage red brick stone homes.
On the street side along dilapidated fences that have seen worse for wear existence, a twenty-year-old MAN opens his passenger car door for a stunningly beautiful black twenty-three-year-old LADY. She acts very seductively/provocatively toward him. Her eyes follow him around the car, his eyes stay fixed on her. He gets in and she gently reaches over and caresses his face as he starts the car. He tilts his head as she almost forcefully initiates a kiss. They forget whose air they breathe.
I can’t believe we’re alone now.
I know. That chicken-head thinks cause she giving birth to his kid will keep me? Shit.
She’s so stupid. How did she think sleeping with your father would turn out?
I think she thought his cock would be better than mine.
Baby, ain’t no man’s cock hold a spell on a woman like yours. All that titanium worm belongs to me.
You remember that. That side piece up there was trying to wife me. Stupid hoe. She even tried to say my dad raped her. Who’d want to knock the dust off that dry ass of hers?
Her fingers slid down his chest to the growing bulge in between his thighs. His eyes do not waver from peering down her cleavage. A smile hints at the corner of her lips as her eyes dance with lustful thoughts.
Well, being with you makes me moist enough to take all your baby juice as far as you want to go.
A freak. That’s what I want in a wife. I know a spot. My old man can handle his business with that street whore.
Inside the home that lived through rough weather and tougher residents, a dark ebony-skinned, twenty-six years old WOMAN gives birth. The labor pains are strong. A forty-two-year-old MIDWIFE kneels with arms between the woman’s open thighs.
A BABY boy is born with white strands of hair and SILVER eyes.
Outside the room, the kitchen barely thirty square feet in space, bugs fights for a spot on the counters with cups coated in condensation.
Several young MEN and WOMEN in gang attire hold their conversations to hear the newborn cries. They congratulate the dark chocolate-skinned thirty-nine-year-old FATHER. He lights a cigar, then fires off a magazine clip out the window into the air.
The midwife cares for the baby. She doesn’t know how to inform either parent of his remarkable attributes. Neither birth parent has white hair nor silver eyes. The midwife fears for her life and the mother.
Yo’! When am I gonna see my boy?
I’m cleaning him now.
You better watch that fucking tone in your mouth. I promise this ain’t what the fuck you want. You might have brought my boy into the world, but I will gladly take your ass out.
The community fractured by daily violence does not flinch as gunfire off in the distance is exchanged between rival gangs.
Dust swirls along with yellowed stones as the blow-drier wind sweeps about. The ancient history feels alive today. A week ago, the Afghan city of Ghazni, a strategic crossroads from the capital, Kabul, was on fire.
At the same time in the Afghan province of Ghormach, Taliban forces overran an Afghan military outpost, killing and wounding dozens. After a siege, the Afghan soldiers ran out of bullets, and with no signs of reinforcements, the Taliban were able to seize the base.
The hubris that accompanies every military force is evident on every centimeter of the landscape. Dozens of stone and mud-brick homes sprawl along a hillside. Dispossession and repossession of inhabitants complicate whom the living quarters belong to.
In the shell of one home lie broken bricks and torn stone. Aged blue paint peels from the outside tan wall. Remnants of PVC plumbing cross the wall into a pile of dirt. The baying of a half-starved goat sounds close.
Open window frames without any glass release sounds of a WOMAN (19 yrs old) giving birth. MAYA (22 yrs old) stands in a door-less doorway. Her eyes are full of fear. DAVID (12 yrs old) stands to watch in the tiny courtyard.
Inside a WOMAN (52 yrs old) squats between the birthing mother’s legs. Layers of filthy mink blankets cover the ground to block blowing sand.
(in hard Pashto; subtitle English)
Push. Breathe. Push. Breathe. It’s alright, daughter.
The pregnant woman endures what mothers have gone through since forever.
(in hard Pashto; subtitle English)
It hurts! It’s too much!
You are strong. Bear down.
Momma. I can’t! Why did they do this to me?
Men like that are weak. They fall for lust, as men do.
She yells as a contraction strike.
My fault. I took their honor.
No. They gave you a corrupted seed to grow. Your father will find them.
No! He must not. They will kill him.
No. Who do you think stopped them from trafficking you, daughter?
Now, push. Breathe. Let us see what we can do with grace, the devil they forced in you. Push. That’s it. Push, HARD!
A baby cries into the world. The woman swaddles the child.
Let me see.
The woman hesitates as her eyes fixate on the newborn. Slips of sandy hair fill her palm. Tan-colored eyes see into her soul.
In a war-torn, impoverished eastern African settlement. Huts on fire. Unkempt, undisciplined rag-tag SOLDIERS sack the area. MEN, young and old, lie dead or dying of fatal wounds. This is not the first time the ravagers have visited the area.
A bald MAN (32 yrs old), a self-stylized general, carries a machete and AK-47, struts to a hut. The dilapidated structure appears weak enough for a mosquito to knockdown. The man passes the threshold. His eyes adjust to the shadows. Three WOMEN block a GIRL (16) with their bodies.
Heard my favorite is giving me a son today. Let me see.
The ladies whimper. Firm resolve fills them.
Ha. Soulless creatures cannot stop me or my men. You’re only convenient to meet our needs. No worry. None of us desire you. Only what you were born with between your legs.
Now. Unless you want to lose those legs, give me the girl.
A cry burst from the girl. Unstoppable contractions pierce her petite body. Her belly swells with a child. One woman turns to the mother and whispers.
Ah. I’m on time. Don’t worry. I’m gentle and patient. I can wait.
The girl gives birth to onlookers. The newborn has eyes, the color of rosewood, and hair reminiscent of freshly cut pine shavings.
The man sees this and coldly executes one woman. Her body drops to the floor as others silently scream.
Dozens of concrete communist-era apartment blocks are surrounded by a tapestry of hobbled-together shacks and shanties. This Bulgarian ghetto neighborhood is covered in a putrid sea of trash. Broken sewerage pipes leave fetid water pools.
A CROWD dances to a RAPPER and the sound system. Close by a herd of sheep mill about.
The cacophony drowns the yelling of a MAN (36) frothing at an elderly WOMAN (51). He shouts and bullies her. She remains unscathed at the curtained bedroom doorway. A wispy WOMAN (18) gives birth beneath the gaze of four WOMEN (various ages).
The ladies pat the panting mother with a damp towel. A visitor pulls a pair of scissors from a steaming pot of water. She reaches to the mother’s womanhood and extracts a healthy baby girl.
Time and sound hold their breath. Everyone is eyeing the baby with bright red irises and strands of sun-kissed fire.
MONTAGE – VARIOUS
A) EXT. SOUTH AMERICA - CARAVAN - NIGHT - Baby born with eyes ocean blue and hair sea-green on the roadside.
B) INT. CANADA (EASTERN) – SUNSET - Inuit WOMAN (27) gives birth in a homeless denizens’ den. The newborn has snow-white hair and sparkling silver eyes.
C) EXT. PALMYRA ISLAND – DAY – On a blissful white beach and along placid waters, a Pacific Islander native gives birth to an infant with midnight hair and obsidian-colored eyes.
D) EXT. SYRIA, KOBANI - SUNSET - An all-female MILITIA of Kurdish fighters go house to house and eliminate terrorists that subject women to merciless barbarity. Fierce combat at a home led the fighters to witness a Kurdish woman give birth.
The newborn boy has electric-blue eyes and bald.
END OF MONTAGE