[identity profile] mistresswanda.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] estdeus_innobis
"Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned

A heartbeat too late

The plate I was drying slips from my hands when I hear Rose in my head.

I'm sorry, Mama. I spin around, for it's so clear that she must be right there. "What are you sorry for bab---"

I double over, gasping, unable to draw air into my lungs. Rose? Rose! ROSE!!! ROSE!!!! My mind is screaming because I cannot form words. Her heartbeat is so fast it's near bursting then it's slowing and then--- OhgodpleasenoRosedontpleasepleasePLEASENONONONOROSEDONTGODONTLEAVEUSNONONONONO

"Wanda, what's---" Kent has run in, hearing the plates shatter, but the sky rumbles and the earth shakes and the lights go out all at once. I hear him say her name, then go running for her room.

"She's---- not-----there---" I try to wheeze out. She's not there, I know she's not. She's gone. Oh God, my baby, no, not her...

"Wanda---!" I hear his panicked voice from down the hall, and finally I can suck air into my lungs. "Rose!" I scream, unable to hear her. I can't hear her thoughts, I can't hear her heartbeat I can't I can't I can't---

Part of my mind registers that the world has gone quite insane as I run blindly into the night. It's raining, and I think hail is pelting me and scratching across my skin as I tear down Main, then Silk. I see lights flashing, and I think Kent is somewhere behind me, and I hear people screaming. I think I am one of them. I can't hear my daughter!

I don't know how I know where to go; I just do. She's knit into me so tightly, I can find her even if I can't hear her. I can't hear her! Just over the bridge---

It's gone. There's no way across the river, but just on the other side I can see the outline of the carnival when the lightning flashes, and just on the other side---

For a moment, I think it can't be her. That girl is too big, but I also know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is Rose. That pale, lovely, unmoving slip of a young woman is--- my Rose is---

My scream pierces the night. A long, keening wail that can be heard over everything else. Kent finally catches up, and when he see's what I do, he sinks to his knees, weeping. The earth shakes again, and this is what He always planned. This... our daughter's dea--- it was always planned. It is the beginning of the end, and he used His own---

I lean down and kiss my husband; fast and fierce. I murmur a 'I love you' against his ear... then I jump into the river and try to make my way to the other side. I will not be kept from my baby, my own heart I can't hear her!... even if it may very well be the last thing I do.


Date: 2014-01-16 06:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nunaunet.livejournal.com
Think it's startin', ayuh. Would've thought it would be round the full moon, but I've been feelin' things shift for days. Ain't the best timing, all in all, cos I don't want to be heah as a baby when bad things come. But it can't be delayed.

Pains started an hour or so back. Will need to tell Genny, but this usually goes on for a long spell, sometimes days, an' I don't want to disturb her, you ken? Let her get some rest befoah I get her doin' the priestess work I need.

Then the earth goes shaking, an' my skin prickles all ovah. Somethin' tells me to go out to the rivah, that she'll tell me what's wrong, so I go on out into a howling wind, an' see someone trying to swim it! I step down into the watah an' ask it to be calm, an' grab hold of the idiot an' pull them up -


Date: 2014-01-16 10:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nunaunet.livejournal.com
"Girl, what's goin' on?" I say, as Wanda gets a limp little teenage thing bundled up in her arms. "Is that - Rose?" Knew the girl was growing up fast, but this... I reach out an' touch her, an' I know it's Rose - I always know them I birthed. And she's dead.

"Wanda," I say. Lowah myelf onto the ground next to her, huffin' out a breath cos it hurts, ayuh. "What happened?"

Date: 2014-01-19 12:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nunaunet.livejournal.com
"There's nothing... I can't hear her heart anymore, she's lost..."

Grunt a bit as I feel a contraction, and reach ovah an' shake Wanda.

"Girl, you ready to give up this easily? Yoah daughtah is the child of the devil an' she told you she thought theah was a way you could find her, that I could help you, an' you jus' want to see here an' wait for the end of the world?" Give her a look. "Didn't think you were no quittah, Wanda. Now come on. We got to figuah this out." I look at Kent. "Don't think you can help with this, but you can help me. Want you to go to the carnival. See if you can find Genny. But if she ain't around, one of the girls from the Grindhouse. Tell them to get my tent ready for me, cos it's my time. Just hope me an' Wanda got time to do this first."

Date: 2014-01-19 06:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nunaunet.livejournal.com
"Don't you worry about me, girl. I done this befoah," I say, rubbing my belly. A lot of times. Too many to remembah, now. Course, it's different each time. But parts of it stay the same. An' in the end I always get born again.

Still rainin' hard, an' I'd suggest we go for sheltah but I think we should leave Rose wheah she died. Sometimes spirits cling close to wheah they died, ayuh.

"Got to look for a sign of her, first," I say. "Wanda, it's music that's your magic, ain't that so? I want you to sing something. Something that means something to you and Rose. An' do it with all your heart, girl, so if her spirit's still near it can hear you."

Date: 2014-01-19 10:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nunaunet.livejournal.com
Wanda sings beautifully, but I ain't got time to appreciate that. I'm listenin' out for Rose.

"Wish we had a god of the dead," I muttah. I can feel the pattern of lives cos of my work, but corpses, they ain't my business. But little Rose, she was a clevah baby an' a cleverah kid, an' I don't think she'd have mentioned me for nothin'. An' then I feel - It's like a little tug in the air. Look at Wanda, an' can tell she felt it too, though maybe for her it was a note of music, or a smell. Somethin' faint but theah.

"Good girl, Rose," I say, an' touch Wanda's shouldah - an' my eyes widen. Feel somethin' I should have noticed soon as I met her, but a dead kid an' goin' into labour are pretty distractin', in my defence.

"Wanda," I say, with a breath. "You'ah pregnant. About... five, six days." Feel the hum in the air around me strengthen, an' I nod. "Oh, little girl, you had a touch of foresight too, didn't you?"

Date: 2014-01-19 11:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nunaunet.livejournal.com
"Think so," I say to Wanda, noddin'. "But. I have a sacred duty. I can't jus' go jammin' Rose into somethin' that already is a person. I know it ain't a person to you, yet. Just cells. But my job means I can do no harm to a life once it's started." A contraction passes through me, an' I breathe through my teeth. "But..." I look at Wanda, both of us drenched like rats in a storm drain, an' - "You can have twins," I say slowly. "Think I can make that happen, ayuh. Split the cells, and guide Rose into one." Examine my conscience. Is that alright? Cos it ain't just a mattah of what I feel in my gut. It's about the balance of powahs in the world, an' I done many things wrong in my many many lives but I ain't evah betrayed the principles of my work. "Ayuh," I say, an' nod. "I think I can do that."

Date: 2014-01-20 12:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nunaunet.livejournal.com
Can see how hopeful Wanda is. Jus' hope I can pull this off, would hate to break her heart again...

"Won't hurt me," I say. "May not look it, but this is the most powahful I can be." Me in labour, that's even strongah than when my menstrual blood's flowin'. "An' I won't hurt youah othah baby. I can't." Strongest taboo of my life, that is. "Come into the watah with me, Wanda," I say, struggling to my feet. "Leave Rose theah. Hopin' she won't need that body no more. Don't worry, you won't drown. The rivah listens to me." An' she does, watah level droppin' so it comes up to my waist. I run a hand through the waves, caressin'. "You done good, Pontarlier. You help me out some tonight, ayuh, an' I'll be grateful."

Date: 2014-01-20 04:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nunaunet.livejournal.com
"Pull your shirt up, hon," I say, an' put my hands on her bare belly when she does. "Ayuh. Can feel the lil girl you already got in theah. Think she's got your eyes, this one." Look at Wanda. "Rose won't be the same this time, you ken? Don't know how she'll be different, but she will be. She'll be Rose, but she'll be someone new too, ayuh." Take a breath, let it go. "Keep singing, Wanda, since we know she can hear that, an' I'll get to work on this..."

Look inward, feel the little spark within her, feel it yearn towards me, all trustin'. Far too small for feelin' of the kind a person would recognise, but I can feel the potential in it, this lil life, an' it vibrates in recognition of me an' the powah I got.

"Don't you worry, hon," I murmur, "Nu won't hurt you... You'll just have a friend in theah with you, keep you from gettin' lonely." I concentrate, look at the cell an' into it, an' as a contraction passes through me I pull, feel the cell become two.

"Now, Rose," I say, hoarsely, an' catch onto that shimmah in the air. Know she wants to come, feel her move swiftly, an' the spark catches hold of that little cell an' grows brightah, brightah -

"Rose," I say, alarmed, "Rose, no, you got to let go of some of what you are, you'll kill your sistah," cos Wanda's womb ain't big enough for a god-child an' a regular baby, no. Theah's a flare of bright light I can see behind me eyes as I look inside Wanda, an' one word said very clear: Mama. Then I feel some of that light pass out through me, an' I cry out as a great cramp goes all through me, like a tear in the world -

Lightnin' dazzles bright, an' I can see the watah around me's gone red. My own watah broke, an' with it's come out some of Rose's magic, some of her daddy's magic too, along with mine. Moment to feel sad I wasn't on land to catch that watah, cos it's a powerful magic, but I look at it churnin' through the rivah that runs through the town an' I think: yeah, this is bettah. This will help us all, some.

"It's done," I say to Wanda, exhausted. "Help me out, girl, I'm fit to bust out this baby soon, an' I need to be back at the carnival for that."

Date: 2014-01-21 03:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] genny-duvall.livejournal.com
Thought it was the thunder that woke me up.

Always hated it when I was little. I'd go runnin' to Momma, and she'd cuddle me and help me cover my ears so's I wouldn't hear the loud noises. I 'member Zann loved thunder and lightnin' 'cause it was electric, and she'd love anythin' electric, but I'd run away from it.

So when I woke up in the middle of the storm I thought it was the thunder that done it. But then I started to feel like there was somethin' electric runnin' through me, and the sound kept goin' in my head even though there wasn't no thunder. Not the sound that I hear when I dream 'bout Tez. This one's like a river crashin' over a waterfall.

Then there's a knock on my door, and I hear Sadie callin' out. "Genny? Genny, are you awake? There's a fella here that says that Nu needs you real bad."

Tain't the thunder that's makin' me feel all electric. It's Nu.

Nu's gonna have the baby. It's been comin' for weeks - I could see Nu gettin' all big'n round, and Nu told me it was comin' soon. I gotta be there. I gotta. I promised I'd be there to help Nu like I done before, and I gotta keep those promises. You don't break promises to gods'n goddesses. Not to friends, neither.

I know it means that Nu's gonna go away, and I been cryin' about that ever since Nu told me that there was gonna be a baby-Nu comin', but I gotta do this.

"I'll be right there," I yell to Sadie. I throw on clothes and go off runnin'. Sadie's leadin' me, but I don't need to follow. All's I need to do is listen to that waterfall sound in the back of my head, and I know 'zactly where I'm s'posed to go.

I run down the road, followin' the sound that I hear in my head. There's real thunder'n lightnin' too, makin' the world go bright and then dark, all black-and-white silhouettes of trees against the sky. Then I see 'em - Nu's bein' held up by Miss Wanda and her new fella, and I'm real glad that Nu ain't alone right now.

"Nu!" I pant, runnin' up to them. "I'm here, honey."

Date: 2014-01-21 03:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nunaunet.livejournal.com
"We are in your debt, always. What can we do for you? Where do you need to get to?"

"Jus' back to the carnival. Been trainin' Genny up in what needs to be done," I say. Think about that little baby I delivered, back in that strange world that existed for a few days, an' feel a little pang. Nevah gonna have that again. But I'm ready to be done with this life an' start ovah. Least as long as the world don't end. "An' you don't owe me. Would say I was jus' doin' my job but it was a bit moah than I've done befoah... But I'm glad I could do it."

We staggah along down the rainy track and theah's my Genny.

"Hey, girl," I say. "Think it's comin' along a bit fastah than I'd like. But we got time to do some of the rituals." Glance at Wanda. "You come along too," I say to her. "Befoah I do this, want to bless those babies, make suah they get delivered safe." Cos I won't be heah to do it, though Wanda don't know that.

Date: 2014-01-21 11:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nunaunet.livejournal.com
Kent gets the news he's gonna be a daddy, an' I snort.

"If the world don't end, this is gonna turn out to be a pretty good day for you, ayuh," I say.

Get back to my trailah, an' I look at Kent.

"'Fraid you can't come in, boy. Only people who can bear babies come in when this is goin' on." Ain't nothin' to do with bein' male or female, jus' about the kind of energy in the room. Influences how smoothly it goes. An' in the past I've had all sorts of people with me, but given this ain't an ordinary day, I want this part to go as well as it can. "Nice to have you heah, Wanda, cos you bein' pregnant'll amplify things. Kent, why don't you go on ovah to the bar? Tell them I sent you an' they'll give you a free drink. Bet aftah what you been through tonight you need one."

Bunch of people outside my trailah, all wanting to talk to me, an' I shake my head.

"Love you all, ayuh. An' I ain't gonna say goodbye to each one of you, so you go 'long now. Look to your own. Cos this is gonna be a long night for all of us, ayuh. Lot of magic in the air."

Clump up the couple of stairs to the trailah an' get inside.

"Genny," I say, "you remembah from befoah? (http://estdeus-innobis.livejournal.com/432062.html#comments) Need watah, an' my herbs burnin', an' for us all to wash."
Edited Date: 2014-01-21 11:27 pm (UTC)

Date: 2014-01-22 03:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] genny-duvall.livejournal.com
Babies? Make it two?

It takes me a sec, but then I think I got it. Nu made it so that Miss Wanda's gonna have twins. I watch Miss Wanda hug Nu, and I watch Miss Wanda's poor confused fella figure it out too, and I'm grinnin' and huggin' Miss Wanda too. "Congratulations. I'm real happy for you."

"If the world don't end, this is gonna turn out to be a pretty good day for you, ayuh," It's sort of a joke, but it sort of ain't. I can feel that there's somethin' wrong right now, but I don't know what. And I can't think 'bout that right now, 'cause I gotta help Nu. I gotta.

We walk through the carnival and over to Nu's trailer, and Nu tries to get Kent and everyone else to go away, then goes in.

Everyone's yellin', and I wanna go hide, but I can't. I gotta turn 'round and say to the folks who're left, "You gotta go now. Nu ain't gonna be alone." My voice gets shaky, and I think I'm gonna cry, but I keep talkin'. "I'm gonna stay with Nu, and I'll tell you all when everythin's done."

Leastways it's grumbles 'stead of yellin' now. Still ain't fun to face down half the carnival, but I still do. Then there's only Sadie left, and I know she likes Nu a whole lot - she's stayin' 'cause she's worried, not 'cause she don't wanna listen to me. I can see the lines 'round her eyes, the way her mouth sets tight. I say just to her, "It's okay. I promise I'm gonna take good care of Nu. Promise."

Then I go in.

"Genny," I say, "you remembah from befoah? Need watah, an' my herbs burnin', an' for us all to wash."

"Uh-huh. I 'member." The last time Nu had a baby, and then didn't. Little Abzu. I still 'member how Abzu looked and felt and smelled, and the way Abzu looked all brown and pretty in the bright sun. This time, the baby's gonna be Nu. This time it's gonna work like it was s'posed to, 'cept that means that Nu's gonna go away.

I pour water into a big basin first so's we can wash, and then start sortin' out the herbs. Hope it don't matter that I'm cryin' into the basin. It's just more water for Nu.

Date: 2014-01-22 08:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nunaunet.livejournal.com
Wanda's head must be clearah now, ayuh, if she' askin' questions. I lean ovah an' squeeze Genny's shouldah.

"It'll be alright, girl," I say, smilin'. "You know it. But it's okay to be sad." Straighten up an' put my wet clothes in the sink - I won't need them no more. Told Sadie she can give out my things aftah I've done with them. And Callie, she was gonna quit nursin' a while back but when I said I was pregnant she kept on to keep her milk supply up. I got good friends heah. Know all of them will be parents to me til I'm big enough to remembah myself.

"I'm forty-two yeahs old," I say to Wanda, "an' I'm also a lot oldah than that. But this is the oldest I've evah been. I've lived... A lot of lives. Don't remembah all of them. An' when the time comes for me to be reborn... Who bettah to do it than me?" I smile. "Cos I ain't evah delivered a baby wrong." I rummage on my shelves an' bring down a little bottle. Got a little tiny bit of blood from my last period saved up heah, mixed with oil. Pour it onto my hands an' press them onto Wanda - one on her belly, one on her pelvis.

"My blessin' goes with you, girl," I say, serious. "You won't miscarry those babies, an' they'll be born healthy. Can't promise you anything aftah that. But that part is safe."

Date: 2014-01-22 10:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] genny-duvall.livejournal.com
"It'll be alright, girl," I say, smilin'. "You know it. But it's okay to be sad."

"I know," I snuffle. "I'm gonna be with you, and you're still gonna be here. I know it'll be okay." I hug Nu real tight, and I don't wanna let go.

"Okay. I will do whatever you ask, and gladly... but what am I missing here?"

"I'm forty-two yeahs old," I say to Wanda, "an' I'm also a lot oldah than that. But this is the oldest I've evah been. I've lived... A lot of lives. Don't remembah all of them. An' when the time comes for me to be reborn... Who bettah to do it than me?" I smile. "Cos I ain't evah delivered a baby wrong."

"The baby's gonna be Nu," I explain to Miss Wanda, and I wipe some tears away. "That means - that means that the grownup Nu ain't gonna be here no more. But there's gonna be a baby, and that's still Nu."

Nu starts helpin' Wanda in that midwife way, and I start takin' my clothes off. Feels just like the other time I done it, even though that time wasn't really real. It don't feel like bein' nekkid with a gal, or even like bein' nekkid when I'm takin' a bath. It just feels like what I'm s'posed to be doin'.

The herbs're startin' to smell nice, and the water feels like a river, even if it aint' really movin'. Yeah, this is Nu's magic. This is what's s'posed to be happenin'. But oh, heck, I'm gonna miss grownup-Nu!

Date: 2014-01-22 11:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nunaunet.livejournal.com
Smile at Wanda.

"You'll do alright," I say. "'Specially since you got rid of your ex, ayuh." Glance out of the window of my trailah. "Let's hope he don't succeed." Close the curtains. Ain't anythin' I can do about that now. I can sense things happenin' in town, but I ain't lettin' myself worry about that eithah. I'm gonna be born one way or anothah, an' a hard birth can give me a hard start in life, too.

"Help me wash, honey," I say to Genny. We get me clean, an' I say - "we ain't gonna be able to anoint me with my own watah, hon. That broke in the rivah. So when I'm born, you got to take me down theah soon as you can an' pour watah from the rivah on my head. It'll help me remembah." I explain some to Wanda - "I'll slowly start to know who I am," I say. "Bit by bit. Helps me if I'm with people who remembah me from befoah, can tell me about myself, an' if the rituals 'round my birth ah done right, you ken? Thing is, by the time I come to my first bleedin', I remembah everythin'. One lifetime, the woman who was meant to help me give birth died, an' so anothah friend helped me. Didn't have much time to prepare her. An' she thought it'd be kindah to me if I was just brought up as a normal child. I'd get little flashes through my childhood that confused me some, an' she'd say they was just dreams. Then one day I was twelve, an' I was bleedin' in my panties an' I remembered everything." I shudder. "I went half-crazy... Was too much for me. Ended up getting myself pregnant aged fourteen jus' so I could start ovah again." Sigh. "This time will be good," I say, an' pat Genny's hand. So long as the world don't end.

I pace around the trailah some. We chant a song I taught Genny in an ole, ole tongue, a language of watah an' birth. I tell Genny a few things I remembah about her when I joined the carnival an' she was just a little girl. Don't think I evah told her about them befoah. Want her to know them befoah I forget them for a few yeahs.

"Want you to - " breathe out hard - "teach me to paint in this next life, you ken?" Smile at her. Feel sweat bead on my forehead. "Ain't painted in, oh, since half-a-dozen lifetimes ago. Think I'd like to learn again. Cos all this business," I say, meanin' my baby work, my sex work, "I know how to do without teachin', but everythin' else I got to learn, jus' like a regular person."

Date: 2014-01-23 02:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] genny-duvall.livejournal.com
I shiver when Nu talks 'bout Miss Wanda's ex.

Mine too, I guess? Pretty lil Danika, who never was who she said she was.

Now she wants to…break the world. I don't hardly know, and I can't do nothin' 'bout that. All's I can do is help Nu, and that's gonna help keep some of the good in the world no matter what.

I try to remember everythin' that Nu's sayin', so's I can tell baby-Nu about it later. 'Cause that's what Nu's doin' for me. Nu remembers when I was little, and is tellin' me all kinds of stories. That's what grownups do for kids. But soon I'll be the grownup, and Nu'll be the kid, and I'll remember all the stuff that Nu don't.

How'm I ever gonna be older'n Nu? Nu's the one who always takes care of everyone else! How'm I s'posed to take care of Nu?

I'm glad Miss Wanda's here, so I don't gotta be alone with baby-Nu when it happens.

But I gotta try. "Okay. I'll bring you down to the river," I promise. "I'll pour the water on your head. And I'll tell you everything." I'm snifflin' again, 'cause soon Nu won't 'member all of that stuff 'bout when I was a kid. I gotta 'member it for both of us. "All the stories 'bout how you are now, and all the stuff we done together." Nu reaches out for my hand, and I lean over to give a tight hug. "I won't let you get lost like that." I know what it's like to forget everythin, even who you are, and I don't want nobody else to have to go there.

I wash Nu off, long strong strokes of the sponge, and I watch the water make little rivers down Nu's brown skin. We sing songs together - I don't know the language they're in, and they ain't even the same songs we sang the last time Nu had a baby, but somehow I just start singin' and I know all the words. 'Course, Miss Wanda makes the songs sound better, but all that matters is that we're singin', and that we're helpin' Nu.

"Want you to - " breathe out hard - "teach me to paint in this next life, you ken?" Smile at her. Feel sweat bead on my forehead. "Ain't painted in, oh, since half-a-dozen lifetimes ago. Think I'd like to learn again. Cos all this business," I say, meanin' my baby work, my sex work, "I know how to do without teachin', but everythin' else I got to learn, jus' like a regular person."

"I will, honey," I sniffle. "Promise. I bet you'll be good at it." I can tell that Nu's gettin' close to havin' the baby - breathing' faster'n harder, gettin' that tight look 'round the eyes that means pain. "I'll teach you how to paint and draw and anythin' you want."

Date: 2014-01-23 06:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nunaunet.livejournal.com
"I won't let you get lost like that."

"Know you won't, girl," I say, smilin'. "You an' me been good friends, ain't we? An' we will be again. Be diff'rent, but that ain't bad."

Genny's sniffling some, but that ain't bad eithah. Nice to feel cared for. An' I know she'll miss me, but she'll look aftah the new me, too. Good to have a community. Had quite a few lifetimes wheah I had to go into my next with much more uncertainty. In this one, I know I got people who've got my back.

Aftah a while I can tell it's gettin' close to my time. So I sit down on the birthin' stool one of the carpenters with the carnival made for me - "you tell David he did a nice job," I say to Genny - an' put my hand between my legs, feel my cervix. Yeah, not long now. "Wanda, will you hold my back while Genny's between my legs (http://z.about.com/d/ancienthistory/1/0/b/M/ancientbirthingstool.jpg)?" I say. Helps to have someone to lean back on when the contractions really start comin'.

"When I'm born," I say, between huffin' breaths, "I'll be attached to the afterbirth. Genny, you should cut the cord with the special knife with a bone handle I got on the windowsill. I cleaned it this mornin'. Told Syl she can have the afterbirth." It's full of magic, an' it ain't like theah's anyone else bettah suited to usin' it than her.

Remembah an' ole prayah to Amun, an' he's long gone, but I say it again an' again in the ole tongue. Make the heart of the deliverer strong, and keep alive the one that is coming. Cos it was a prayah to me, though most people didn't know it. That's alright. The act of birth is worship for me. Don't mattah which god people think it's for.

"You girls," I say, "both done good tonight, thank you for it. Know I ain't your god, but I'm glad you been my priestesses today." Smile at them both. Theah's a lot of pain now, but it's alright. This kind of pain ain't somethin' that scares me. Theah's a smell in the room like the scent of the Nile, green an' strong, an' it makes tears spring up into my eyes cos I'm glad, and cos it's almost done.

"One - more - push - "

Date: 2014-01-24 02:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] genny-duvall.livejournal.com
"Knife with the bone handle. Afterbirth to Syl. Tell David he done a good job." If I say it over and over, maybe I'll 'member it better?

I'm not s'posed to be doin' this! Nu's the one who's s'posed to be cuttin' cords'n givin' out afterbirth! Nu wouldn't even have to think about it. Why'm I the one doin' it?

'Cause Nu won't be here no more. I gotta remember.

I drew a picture of Nu last week, smilin' in the sun. I'll have to show the baby, 'cause the baby won't remember, but I will. I always will.

"Oh, Nu, honey, I love you," I sob. And then I sing, 'cause it's time to sing another song, and say another prayer, and get ready for the baby to come.

Nu starts pushin' harder, and the world starts changin'. This is different from when Abzu was born - I can feel it already. The room's fillin' up with summer and warmth and water smells. It don't look no different, but it feels different.

Feels like it done way down south that time we went there in June, where you could just feel the life all 'round you, and everythin' was green, and if you looked real close you'd see some of the green start to move 'cause it was tiny frogs'n lizards. Everythin's alive, and it gets more alive the more time you spend with it.

"One - more - push - "

It feels like we're in the river. There's a sound of water and a feelin' like we're bein' washed away in a flood.

And then Nu's gone, and I'm holdin' a lil baby, all yellin' and healthy and chubby. And covered in water - water that don't smell like no water I've ever smelled.

"Oh, Nu," I whisper, huggin' the baby close. "Oh, you sweet thing." I'm cryin', and my tears fall on the baby's head. More water.

Date: 2014-01-25 01:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] genny-duvall.livejournal.com
"Okay... I may have seen weirder, but that's incredible!"

"Ain't it?" I'm laughin' and cryin' all at the same time now, and huggin' the baby to me. "Ain't it just?" The baby's so amazin'! Fuzzy lil bits of hair and tiny tiny toes…

"Here you go.

I look up, and see that Miss Wanda's holdin' out the knife - oh, right, I gotta cut the cord. Oh, heck, I hope I'm doin' this right…

I reach out and cut, and it feels like the world shifted again. The baby squirms and wiggles and I gotta hold on tight, but I know I done it right 'cause the baby smiles.

Let me find something to throw on our asses, and I'll go with you down to the river, if you'd like.

"Yeah. I - I don't think I wanna do that by myself. Or without clothes," I add, gigglin'. "And - you had a baby, right? Is there anythin' else I should be doin'? I know that after we go to the river I gotta get the baby to Callie soon so's she can feed 'em, but do I gotta do anythin' else?"

Date: 2014-01-25 08:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] genny-duvall.livejournal.com
Miss Wanda does everythin' right - she gets the baby all swaddled up so Nu's even happier'n before. I'm listenin' to everythin' Miss Wanda says, sayin' it over to myself a second after she says it. "Keep talkin'. Keep holdin' tight. Keep singin'. Okay."

I fold the baby back into my arms, and hold on real tight. "C'mon, baby Nu. We're gonna take you down to the river. You're gonna like that, right?" Keep talkin', she said. Keep talkin'. "You asked us to bring you back there, 'cause you didn't get to finish what you done before." If I just keep doin' what Nu and Miss Wanda told me, it's gotta work, right?

Miss Wanda opens the door, and I cuddle Nu close so they don't get rained on - the storm's still pretty bad! Hope we all don't get blown away...

Date: 2014-01-27 02:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] genny-duvall.livejournal.com
We go down to the river, all three of us. I gotta hold tight to Nu and Miss Wanda both, 'cause the wind's blowin' so hard it feels like we're all gonna get swept away. My head starts poundin', too - as soon as we get outside I feel all the powerful stuff that's goin' on. Big magic, bigger'n any I ever felt before, all around us, all over Excolo.

Baby Nu starts whimperin', just like a regular baby, and I cuddle 'em close. "I'm sorry, baby," I tell 'em. "I'm sorry it's so loud! Wish I could make it better…"

I hold Miss Wanda's hand for as long as I can, but I gotta let go when I'm standin' in the river. As soon as I do, Miss Wanda starts singin', and somehow I can hear her through all of the wind and thunder, and it sounds right.

Wish I could paint the way it looks right now - Miss Wanda's red hair all blowin' bright against the dark storms, the river still sparklin' blue somehow, the huge rush of mist from the river to the clouds, and little brown baby Nu in the bright-colored blanket. But I can't paint the sound of Miss Wanda singin' or the river rushin', and I can't paint the feelin' of powerful things goin' on all 'round me. All's I can do is try to remember and paint it later.

And hold on to Nu, 'cause I got me a little baby god right here to take care of.

While Miss Wanda sings and the wind blows, I reach down to scoop up some of the water and put it on baby Nu's head, and I know it's what I'm s'posed to be doin'. "Here, lil baby," I say real soft, so only Nu can hear me in the storm. "Here's part of yourself again."

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