Through A Glass, Darkly

Author’s Note: This is a piece created in response to BeKindRewrite’s InMOn word list from last Monday, February 17th. The words that inspired me were : hard core, the other me, dark mirror, and the end of forever. And as always, when I write something disturbing, I want everyone to know I’m fine! I just enjoy writing dark fantasy.

“Liesel, it’s time,” the doctor admonished even as I held my newborn son closer and refused to move.

“No,” I whispered, “it’s too soon!”

“You know the rules!”

Determined not to let the man see me cry, I bit my lip and turned my head away from him. I couldn’t see him, but the burning disapproval of his gaze cut through me to the hard core that was once my soul. I had no choice. Either I would willingly go with them, or they’d take my child and go anyway.  Sitting up, I swallowed my tears and accepted my fate. “Alright, I’m ready.”

The orderly helped me climb into the wheelchair and then abruptly began pushing me down a long, sterile hallway. To help me ignore the screams of other unsuspecting women in the ward, I focused on my child’s face. He was perfect.  His nose was no bigger than a button and his pink lips could form an “o” at my breast right after he took his first breath. His fingers were strong, already grasping at my hand, and his tiny toes curled in response to my touch. He had everything he needed except for one important thing.

A name.

I had been told not to name my child in case things didn’t go the way I wanted them to – the doctors’ rational was similar to that of a farmer refusing to name his animals. It was harder to let go of a creature you had personalized with a name.  I couldn’t think of my son as anything other than a perfect little baby, and I didn’t really give a damn what my doctor thought. My son did have a name. “I love you, Zachariah!” I said out loud, ignoring the orderly’s disgusted sigh as we arrived at the end of the hall.

“Get up,” the young man snarled.

I did as I was told and we entered the room, the one that held the dark mirror that would determine my son’s fate. Inside were fourteen of the hospital’s staff, each wearing a long robe with a hood that obscured their face. Candlelight glimmered in the darkness and the sickening scent of incense hung in the air. The leader was speaking in a language I didn’t understand, which the others chanted in a monotone.  I tried to tell myself it would be alright, that most mothers had children who passed the test, but it was hard not to panic. What would I do if I saw something I didn’t want to see?

The leader approached and took Zachariah from my trembling hands.  I couldn’t watch, but neither could I turn away – whatever  truth was to be revealed, he was my son and a newborn needed his mother.  “I’m here for you darling, I’m right here!” I called out, hoping my voice would soothe him as he started to cry.

“Shut up!” one of the hooded figured hissed, grabbing my arm and pulling me back as I tried to approach my son.  I angrily wrenched myself from the man’s grasp and turned my attention back to the mirror.  There was nothing I could do  as they held him in front of it while the relentless chanting grew louder.  Suddenly, black smoke began rolling around Zachariah’s mirror image, moving beneath the glass as if it had a life of its own.  The fog penetrated his reflection until his crystal blue eyes turned black. Zachariah’s sweet face contorted in the mirror in an evil snarl and blood spattered the glass from the inside out as his body became covered with gaping wounds and serpent-like scales.   I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, and the other me that was with him in the mirror opened her mouth in a silent scream as the end of forever unfolded.  The mirror didn’t lie. There was no turning back as I sank to my knees in anguish. I had given birth to a demon. My child had to die.