by Thad David and JL Koszarek
Sarah Grace looked down at her new born baby, her only baby, sleeping on her chest as she rocked back and forth in the chair her parents had given them. She had always dreamed it would feel this good but never thought she would have this chance. She was so thankful to just gaze into his beautiful blue eyes. She never knew what love was until the day he was born.
“Sarah! Wake the fuck up!” The Doctor was shaking Sarah’s arm, “I need you to fight through the pain here. You’re the one that opted out of pain meds. You have to breathe.”
The mention of delivering the baby sent another shot of adrenaline into her system. This was Sarah’s first baby, her first chance to realize the dream that she always had growing up, to raise a child, to hold it in her arms, and to have it rely on her for everything.
She was bouncing in and out of delirium as the contractions came quicker now in even succession. Her thoughts cleared and focused when her muscles began their uncontrollable natural function bringing pain from the center of her body. No, it was deeper than center, darker than center; a physical place within her that she had no idea existed and still could not fathom. As her muscles contracted and pressed her child forth, she would lose all train of thought. Entering incoherency, it was all she could do to remain in the moment, to fight through the pain, as the doctor said. Drugs would have helped her, but she had refused them because she longed to be present for every moment and besides, pain medication was a rare commodity. Child birth was a normal healthy part of being human. Others needed the medicine more than she did. She let out a guttural scream through clenched teeth and finally felt the urge to push. Her muscles were successful. Her baby had finally moved into the birth canal. The pain ripped at her insides. She felt certain she would fall to pieces. It was so horrid she wouldn’t wish it on her worst enemies. Not that her worst enemies could even feel pain now. Those undead creatures that never stopped, fuck.
Finally, the contraction subsided. She was tired, drenched with sweat, and beginning to become very frightened. She felt now more than ever that her parents were right, having a child during this day in age was suicide for her and the child. But this wasn’t just any child. This was a baby boy, this was Peter. Her thoughts began to drift again to that warm place with Peter swaddled on her chest, but the pain came quicker now. The wave became a hard, hot saber carving into her. The hours melted away and all she knew right now was pain that she must endure for her Peter.
A zombie’s head could be heard as it smashed up against the operating room door. Inside the room the loud snarls and smacking of its teeth could be heard sending chills down the Doctor and the only nurse brave enough to stay behind to attempt to deliver this child.
His outward attempt to keep Sarah calm was more therapeutic for him as the Doctor tried to focus, focus through the bang of yet another Zombie hitting the door, “I need you to push for me Sarah, a few more good pushes.” He glanced over at his nurse, Janet, they had worked together for years and while his signal had new meaning this time Janet understood the instructions crystal clear from a simple nod of his head sending his eyes over to the door.
Tears of pain ran from Sarah’s eyes as she mustered up the courage to push through what was sure to be even more excruciating pain. She pushed as hard as she could, screaming at the top of her lungs.
Janet made it over to the coat closet, opening it up she pulled out two suppressed AR-15’s and a bag of extra mags. She slid the bag with 1 AR across the floor to the doctor’s feet and closed the closet door. Putting a few extra mags in her pockets. Slamming a mag in the chamber she pulled the bolt back and released it sending a round into the chamber. With her back against the wall she put her feet up high on the operating room supply desk and shoved it with all her might. Rocking it back and forth it tipped over slamming down hard right in front of the locked operating room doors.
“Really good, Sarah, just one more big push.”
“OK, OK…” Sarah felt as if her hands were bending the metal polls of the operating bed as she squeezed them, pushing as hard as she could. The pain was her master now in complete control. It would not let her do anything but push.
Three more zombies could be heard behind the doors crushing the front runners harder into the door causing the entire frame to move inward slightly. The creaking of the heavy desk made an earie sound as it creaked backwards a few inches.
“Doctor?” Janet looked back at the miracle that was taking place behind her. She always loved watching a new birth especially now as they are so rare. Another loud creak of the cabinet brought her right back to the reality of the hell that was in front of her. “Doctor, we are out of time!”
He glanced up from the baby to see a full rotting arm reaching through the door a few inches behind her, it was clear and she was right. They were out of time. This baby was so close though. “You make the call Janet; I only need 2 more minutes.”
“I’ve got to start picking them off before their numbers get too strong and you know how neurotic they will get.” She aimed her rifle up at the ever-growing horde outside the door. “You’ll have your two minutes but not much more.” Placing her cheek on the stock her eyes fell into the perfect position behind her favorite ACOG scope. The small red dot painted a perfect picture inside the scope of where the first round would land. She sent the first round directly into the creature’s head systematically moving the scope of the rifle off the first dead head directly to the one next to it. An explosion of blackish blood hitting the second creature in the face as she pulled the trigger confirmed what she already knew, the first zombie was down. The rest of the horde incessantly pushed on, clawing and fighting their way forward, screeching loudly, she hated that noise, akin to nails on a chalkboard, it sent chills down her spine. The sound acted as a beacon somehow, zombies hurled themselves towards it and then the echo chamber began. Nearby zombies began making the noise drawing them all in towards the one location.
Sarah was in her own world of pain seemingly unaware of what was happening around her, hyper focused on her baby. She pushed one more huge push. The saber was hotter and twisted inside her deeper than before. Finally, it dissipated as an enormous pressure released from her body. In a fog, she saw the doctor grabbing his rifle aiming it up towards the doorway and her son laying there on the bed between her legs just before she fainted.
The blocked doors screeched open another foot allowing the zombies to push through. It wouldn’t be long now before they were in the room. The Doctor looked back at Sarah then up at Janet who was laying down a wall of firepower. The baby boy was laying there in front of the women’s open legs, umbilical cord still attached yet the baby was lifeless, not making a sound, his mother unconscious and unable to help any of them.
“FUCK!” The Doctor pushed forward shooting over Janet’s shoulder at the wall of zombies gathering behind the string that were pushing through the doorway. “We should have left them here Janet, I am sorry I got you into this mess.”
“Don’t give me that shit.” She responded, “What’s the plan?”. She reloaded another mag and continued firing round after round into the horde which now only seemed to act as a band aid to actually hold the horde back. Any stop in firepower now and the doors would collapse open.
“Your call,” The Doctor fired a few more rounds into the horde. “If I don’t get back to them the baby will be dead and she will more than likely die as well. If I leave here this horde will punch through the doors. So it’s us or. . .”
“Them, its them” She responded without hesitation. “We are here to save people and she trusted us with her life.”
Just as the Doctor placed his rifle down and sat next to his patient he heard the eerie clicking of a malfunction rifle. It was a sound you never wanted to hear, especially not now. He looked up at Janet trying to clear the malfunction and the doors burst open. Janet was consumed by the creatures from each side. Acting quickly the doctor threw a blanket over the unconscious mother and her newborn child who was still laying there lifeless. Jumping for his rifle the good doctor was too late, he screamed in pain as the zombies bit and scratched him all over.
Once the doctor was silenced by his own death the echoing sounds of the horde quieted down almost immediately. The creatures began looking around and making their way back out into the hallway. Quietly going their own way, ignoring each other, walking again without a purpose. With just a few moments gone the room was empty, quiet, and dead.
The loud crying sound of her baby caused Sarah to shoot upwards frantically. She threw the blanket off of herself and looked down at her crying baby boy. It was the most beautiful sound she had ever heard. Pushing herself up to an even higher seated position she reached out to grab her baby when Janet jumped up next to her bed side.
“Janet?” Sarah looked into the creature’s eyes and knew it was a dead ghost of who Janet used to be.
The zombie dropped down to bite the crying baby and without thinking Sarah shoved her hand between the baby and its would-be killer. She ignored the pain of the initial zombie bite or her arm and with her other hand she reached for a scalpel and as hard as she could she jabbed the razor-sharp scalpel right into the back of the zombie’s skull killing it instantly. The zombie fell over on the ground making a loud thud noise.
“No, No, No, No…” Sarah cried as she reached out with her arms to hold her baby just one time. Lifting him up she felt the tug of the umbilical chord from inside her and it took her a moment to realize that her and the baby were still bonded together. Frantically she searched for another knife, something sharp, anything but there was nothing to be found. She grabbed hold of the umbilical cord inside her and yanked as hard as she could in a rush of blood and ripped it free from her body to save her baby from her own fate. She didn’t dare scream. She had no idea how many were out there.
She jumped out of her bed and carried her baby through the glass door in the back of the room. Squeezing her baby as gently but as tightly as she could she knew she only had a moment before she would turn into one of them. Would she recognize her own new born child? Would he become one of them to? Would she eat him? She couldn’t bear the thought of killing the only thing she had ever wanted.
The new-born hospital baby basinet Janet had lovingly made up waited. Sarah held her baby close one last time, wrapped him in a blanket as tightly as she could and placed him inside the basinet. She rolled the wheels through another door pushing the baby to the back wall of the room that had no other way out. She kissed Peter on the forehead and began to cry as she walked towards the door. She turned the light on in the room, locked the door from the inside, then closed it behind her. Turning she looked through the large glass window at her baby. What would become of him? She thought. She stuck two fingers in the blood-soaked wound on her arm and began to write on the glass window H… E… L… P… Reaching up to place an exclamation point at the end her arms twitched then fell limp by her side. She fell to the ground twitching in pain then stood.
If you like what you have read, check out Divide Then Conquer by this writing team.