A Single Snip of the Scissors

by Robert Kibble

[this is the third in the three part series–
read Half Life Connections from the beginning, here]

“What the hell is this?”

I look up at Zac, but I don’t need to.  I know four things already.  One, he’s got the letter I gave to Jane.  Two, if I survive I’m going to kill Jane.  Three, this is not the time to have this argument.  Four, this fucking hurts.

Number four would be higher up if I weren’t already biting down hard on the gas and air.

I drift away from the pain that was threatening to engulf me.  I heard singing a little while ago.  I think it was my voice.  The gas and air is amazing.  Zac wants an answer.

He won’t get one.  Not now.  Not now I’ve got this far.

“You!” I shout, intending to go further, but that’s all I can manage with the breath I get before another scream – a scream oddly separate from me.  I meant to say “you are getting what you always bloody wanted.”

I hope that’s true.  I hope he gets everything, but I’ve made my choice.  If it’s me or the baby, he gets the baby.  You don’t get second chances at forty-six, and besides, there’s a fair chance they’ll be able to treat me after.

“How could you hide this from me?”

Zac’s voice gets in between screams and waves of pain, all coming from somewhere else now.  I’m fading.  I can feel my body getting further away.  I don’t want to remember him shouting at me.  That’s not how this should end.  He should be happy.

I drift again, the pain there, but a foreign entity.  Some more words in my ears.

Oh my God.  Something breaks through the numbness.  What’s happened?  I’ve lost feeling in my legs.  Zac shouts out.  I don’t know if that’s a bad sign.

Something moves.  Someone moves.

A tiny ball of blood is held up in front of me, and I try to focus.  There are features on it.  Her.  I smile and try to move a hand up to reach it.  Her.  She kicks.  Her eyes are shut.  I can see her face.  Cut that cord and she’s safe.  Safe from all the disease running round my body.  “Cut it!”

The midwife looks surprised.  She was about to put a clamp on the umbilical anyway.  She clips it, and then a pair of scissors makes that tiny creature separate, safe, a genuine human being.  Zac’s read the letter, so he knows that whatever happens I want her to be named after my grandmother, after a woman before me who sacrificed everything for her family.

My fingers touch little Yazuko’s face, and I look over at Zac.  He’s crying.  I hope I make it back.  We’d make a wonderful family.

The world goes dark.

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