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Scream Fest By Forest Walker

Scream Fest

15

Push

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“Come on, one last push!” The midwife crouched at the foot of the bed, her voice urgent. “I can see the baby’s head, just a few more pushes and you’ll be able to hold your little one in your arms.”


Tears streamed down the face of the laboring woman as she struggled to find the strength for one final push. Sweat glistened on her forehead and her body trembled with exertion. She clutched the hand of her partner, who stood at her side, offering words of encouragement and love.


“You can do this, honey,” he said, his voice steady and reassuring. “Just a little bit longer. Our baby is almost here.”


With a guttural cry, the woman summoned all of her energy and pushed with all her might. She felt a moment of intense pressure, and then a surge of relief as the baby emerged into the world.


As the cries of the newborn filled the room, the woman collapsed back onto the bed, her face etched with pain and exhaustion. But there was also a hint of a smile as she listened to the sound of her child’s first cries. The midwife swiftly tended to the infant, cutting the umbilical cord and wrapping the tiny body in a soft blanket.


***


Leila’s eyes were still closed, but she could hear the hushed whispers of the two people in the room. She felt a dull ache in her lower body and her mind was foggy and disoriented. She slowly opened her eyes, but the bright light of the lamp was too much for her, causing her to squint and close them again. The people in the room noticed that she was awake.


“Leila, are you okay?” It was Henry’s voice, the man whose hand she had been gripping tightly during labor.


Oh right, I had just given birth.


That must be why she still felt so weak and drained, she thought. She tried to open her eyes again, this time more slowly and saw that her mother-in-law was also in the room. She attempted to sit up, but the effort proved to be too much for her depleted energy.


“Leila, darling, are you all right?” Henry asked concern etched on his face.


“I’m okay, Henry,” she croaked, her voice hoarse from the exertion of childbirth. “I just want to see the baby.” She was exhausted, but the anticipation of seeing her newborn was too much to bear. After all, this was their first child, and the excitement of becoming parents had been building for months.


“You need to rest, Leila. You don’t want to risk bleeding again,” Henry cautioned, his voice filled with love and concern.


Her mother-in-law, never one to hold her tongue, interjected with the news that Henry had been trying to keep from Leila. “There are complications with the baby, dear.”


“Ma, please,” Henry begged, trying to shield Leila from the information.


It was too late, though. Leila had heard the words and fear and worry washed over her. She could handle complications, as long as they didn’t involve her newborn.


“It’s nothing we can’t handle,” Henry assured her, his voice calm and steady. “I’ll make sure everything is okay. Just rest and let me take care of everything.”


Leila couldn’t shake the feeling of dread. “What kind of complications?” she asked, her voice trembling.


“The baby’s face is deformed,” her mother-in-law answered matter-of-factly.


Leila searched their faces, hoping to find some sign that they were joking. But she saw only the truth in their eyes. Tears welled up in hers as the reality of the situation hit her.


“Ma, how could you?” Henry scolded his mother, his voice filled with anger and hurt.


“She needs to know, Henry. It’s better to hear it now than later,” his mother insisted.


Henry wrapped his arms around Leila as she broke down in sobs, her shoulders shaking with the force of her emotions. They didn’t know what the future held for their child, especially now that they knew their baby was different.


“I want to see her,” Leila managed to say through her tears.


Henry nodded and approached the nurse, requesting that Leila be allowed to see the baby. The nurse hesitated, but eventually relented and brought the swaddled newborn to Leila.


As Leila gazed upon her child, the tears flowed freely down her face. The baby was beautiful, but the deformity was undeniable. Half of the baby’s face was underdeveloped, leaving it misshapen and imperfect. Leila’s heart was filled with both sadness and love as she gazed upon her child.


“She’s beautiful,” Leila whispered


***


Five years had passed and Leila and Henry had done everything in their power to care for and raise their daughter, Charity, to the best of their abilities. Despite their efforts, her condition remained complex and untreatable.


One day, the family decided to take a vacation to Baguio. As they were driving, their car broke down on a winding road. Leila and Henry got out of the car while Henry tried to fix the engine.


Charity looked around, taking in the breathtaking beauty of the place. It was so different from the city she was used to. Unknowingly, her mother watched her intently, deep in thought. Charity still looked the same, with her face often covered by a facemask and glasses to avoid drawing attention. But how long could they keep shielding her from the judgment of others?


Leila approached her daughter, standing at the edge of the road. She grabbed Charity’s shoulder tightly and gave it a gentle squeeze as tears streamed down her face.


“Mama loves you so much. I’m doing this to save you from the cruel judgment of the world.” With those words, Leila pushed Charity off the edge of the road. The little girl’s body tumbled down the cliff like a toy thrown carelessly aside. It was the only solution Leila could think of to protect her child from the suffering that was yet to come in life.


****


Leila and Henry grieved the loss of their daughter, Charity, for a long time. A few years later, they were blessed with another child, a beautiful and healthy baby girl. They named her Chastity.


The baby girl had dark, round eyes that shone like onyx stones. Her nose was tall and perfectly symmetrical, giving her a regal appearance. Her lips were full and rosy, making her look like a porcelain doll. She had soft, creamy skin that was free of blemishes or imperfections. Her hair was dark and thick, falling in curls around her face. Overall, she was a beautiful, a true blessing to Leila and Henry.


On Chastity’s fifth birthday, the family took another vacation to Baguio. As they were driving, their car broke down on the winding road again. Henry looked at the car, trying to figure out why it had stalled, while Chastity and Leila looked around. Leila couldn’t help but feel guilty about what she had done to Charity. She looked towards the spot where she had pushed her daughter off the cliff and couldn’t stop the flood of memories from coming back to her.


Leila couldn’t stop the ache in her heart as she thought about her daughter, Charity. She had made a terrible mistake in pushing her off the cliff, driven by her desperate desire to protect her from the judgment of the world. Every day, she was haunted by the memory of that moment and the guilt that came with it. She longed for the chance to hold Charity in her arms again and make amends for her actions.


As Leila was lost in thought, she didn’t notice Chastity approaching her. The child took her mother’s hand and Leila sat down, embracing her daughter tightly. As she held Chastity, the child spoke, causing Leila’s hair to stand on end.


“Ma! Please don’t push me again.”

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