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May 2008 Flashers

Flash Fiction written by members and friends of the MuseItUp Club. Submissions are invited for this page.*

 

 

 

** ANNOUNCING THE WINNERS OF OUR FLASH FICTION CONTEST **

 

 

This month we bring you the second of the stories that tied for first place in our recent competition.

 

 

Innocents

by Karina L. Fabian

 

Throughout the night, I heard their screams of pain.

 

Pulling a pillow over my head didn't help, but I did it, anyway, repeating, "They're not real," until I fell asleep.

 

Late to work, I have to pass through the protestors. I see the Lifers got there first, stationed the requisite 100 feet from the clinic entrance while the Choicers have to make do with the other side of the street. After the last round of arrests, everyone is quiet: Lifers praying on their beads or in muttering groups while the Choicers pace with their signs. Think I liked it better when they yelled.

 

I pass a Down's Syndrome child, smiling, wearing a t-shirt: Would you have killed me? Probably doesn't even understand what that means. On top of everything else, she's being used for her mother's cause. What kind of life is that?

A woman presses a paper in my hands as I pass. "God bless you!"

 

Was she for real? "Excuse me?"

 

"I pray every night that you'll listen."


            I laugh. "To whom, lady?"


            She glances at her group, then the group across the street. "Not us. No, there's nothing any of us can tell you now."

 

Her gaze unnerves me, but I roll my eyes and go inside, tossing the pamphlet in the trash can by the door. Pictures, no doubt; like I didn't see that every day.

 

As I scrub to the elbows, Nancy reads me the file. "LaCresha. African American. 22. About 3, 4 months. Blood work's clean. She's been counseled--it's not her first time."

 

LaCresha may have been clean at the moment, but I could tell it wouldn't be for long. I'd seen too many like her: addicts, drunks, shacking up with an abusive boyfriend or selling her body for the next hit. Outside, they didn't know the number of crack babies I prevented, the number of children who would not have to be abused. I kept lives of misery from happening.

 

I wonder about LaCresha's story, but that was the counselor's job. Instead I settle my hand on her tangled dread knots and smile. "It was good you came this early. This'll be a simple procedure."

 

"Don' need no baby."

 

"It's not really a baby yet, just a--"

 

"Just get rid of it." She turns her dead gaze back to the ceiling.

 

A few die-hards are still there when I head home. I try not to look at them.

 

"Do they cry?" the Down's girl asks as I pass.

 

"What?" Despite myself I stop.

 

"When you kill the little babies in the mommas. Do the babies cry?"

 

I wonder if they'd primed her to ask that. I kneel down where she is sitting. "It's not a real baby," I say, daring the others to interrupt. "It's a fetus, a bunch of tissue being formed in the shape of a baby. It doesn't cry or laugh or think, like you and I do. When it's born, it's a baby and it should be loved and cared for and cherished--but before then, it's just not a real baby. And if the mommies can't or won't love them--like your mommie loves you--they shouldn't become real babies. It's cruel."

 

I know when I leave they'll tell her I was lying, and she'll believe them. Who knows if she really understood what I'd said. Well, at least I tried.

 

After dinner, I take a shower. I scrub to the elbows again and again. I debate taking a sleeping pill, decide on a glass of merlot and a sweet romance novel. By nine, I am ready to turn out the lights.

 

Throughout the night, I heard their screams of pain.

 

  Karina L. Fabian

 

 

 

After being a straight-A student, Karina now cultivates Fs: Family, Faith, Fiction and Fun. From Nuns in Space to a down-and out Faerie dragon working off a geas by St. George, her work takes quirky twists that keep her amused--and others, too. Winner of the EPPIE award for best sci-fi and the Mensa Owl for best fiction. In addition to juggling the stories from at least three different universes, Karina is a "military" wife, a mother of four, President of the Catholic Writers' Guild, and teaches writing and book marketing seminars on-line. Learn more at www.fabianspace.com.

 

 

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*Send Flash Fiction submissions to underamuse@yahoo.com.au .

Please include the words “Muse Marquee Flash Submission” in the subject line.

 

The Flashers page is edited by Lea Schizas and Les Stephenson.