Having Heaven 15 – The Phone Call

SHERMAN

When the world knew without a doubt that Heaven no longer existed and everyone feared the worst, Sherman Critchlow should have called his daughter but he felt confident that she had taken the revelation in stride just as he had. Self-identifying with one of his favorite Bible verses, Acts 10:2, he believed himself to be A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always. He accepted the fact that Heaven was no more and knew deep in his heart that there was a purpose. God always had a plan and the reasoning behind some of His plans were simply beyond our limited ability to comprehend.

And when the great fog fell upon the Earth, ushering the return of the spirits of the righteous dead, he should have called his daughter but he knew she like himself wouldn’t have batted an eyelid, accepting it was all part of the grand design. Having said that, Sherman was startled when Adina first appeared in the house. It was one thing to know something was true and quite another to experience it firsthand.

Nothing had changed. He was still attracted to her even in her current ghostly form. It was a heady trance with the right blend of shy and sweet, accented by a slight confidence and just enough ego that had him muddling his words and blushing uncontrollably whenever she was around. He had to admit to himself that he was afraid when he first saw his late wife. Afraid of her disappointment in seeing that he had grown older and softer in the passing years while she looked just as young and beautiful as ever.

When Sherman finally called Myra, it was at his wife’s urging. Perhaps that was what she was trying to communicate from the very first moment she returned home but for some reason he wasn’t able to hear what she was saying. Not that he was ignoring her but no sounds came out of her mouth when her lips moved. And then this morning he was filled with a knowledge as certain to him as his own name, the same way he knew that Heaven no longer existed, he now knew that a brand new heaven was on its way and his daughter was carrying it. The moment the information planted itself in his brain, that was when he heard Adina’s voice.

“Call Mayra,” his specter wife said, her voice airy and barely above that of a whisper.

And so, he did. He expected the conversation to be awkward the way it had always been between them but when his daughter answered the phone he found an uncommon ease in communicating with her. Although it was nothing he detected outright, he sensed that Mayra had changed and perhaps he had as well.

Sherman tilted the phone away from his ear enough so Adina could hear as well as he and Mayra made their way through familial pleasantries and catching up on recent events since the world tilted on its axis. He noticed that Gavin’s name hadn’t been mentioned once and decided not the press the issue at the present time.

“It’s so strange, Dad,” Mayra said. “First, I had a hard time wrapping my head around that fact that I was having a baby, and then discovering my baby is actually a new heaven…I mean, how do you process something like that? There’s not even a baby bump yet so I must look like a complete lunatic when I keep stroking my stomach but every time I do it a sensation of peace sweeps over me and I can’t help but think it’s the baby Heaven trying to help me, like maybe that was simply the way Heaven made everyone feel. I feel like I’m rambling. Does any of this make sense to you?”

“Perfect sense. Your mother was the same way when she was pregnant with you, minus the heaven bit, naturally,” Sherman said. “Now, as much as I hate steering you to more serious topics, honey, we need to address the fact that you’re going to be in a lot of danger.”

“You’re starting to sound like Bethy,” Mayra said.

“She’s smart, you should listen to her.”

“Okay, now I know the world’s going to end. You’re agreeing with Bethany?”

“Just because I think she’s too mouthy doesn’t mean I can’t see how good a friend she’s always been to you. And you’re going to need someone to watch your back because people are going to want to control you in order to control the new Heaven.” As Sherman spoke the words, fear flooded through him.

“I can come down to stay with you,” he continued. “Or, you can come back home. You realize that’s an option, right? I know living with your old man may not seem like the ideal situation for you at the moment, but this is your home and it always will be. You can show up any time, day or night, no hassle, no questions asked. Besides, it’d be nice to have you in the same house as your mother.”

Sherman glanced at Adina who smiled and nodded but didn’t speak, which he found odd. Why wouldn’t she say something to her daughter? Could it be that he the only person his wife could verbally communicate with?

“That does sound nice,” Mayra said but there was something in her tone that made it seem like his daughter dismissed it as a possibility, like no matter how badly they wanted things to go back to the way they were before, it was no longer a possibility.

Then a niggling doubt tickled the back of his mind: was his caring genuine? It was an odd thought, to be sure, because of course he cared about his daughter’s well being but there were powerful forces at play here and how could he be sure he wasn’t one of those people who wanted to, if not control, then steer the direction of the new heaven, if such a thing was even possible. Was his faith strong enough, was he himself a righteous enough man to avoid the temptation of trying to lay claim to the afterlife?

“You’ve always been a headstrong girl, like your mother,” Sherman said, shaking the crazy thoughts from his head. “So, you’re going to do as you please, but just keep in mind that it’s an option.”

“I will, Dad,” Mayra said. “But right now, I don’t have a plan and absolutely no idea of what I should do.”

“Well, when you do devise a plan, remember to keep it simple. Keep a low profile from the world for as long as possible. Everyone and their mother knows about your situation so in order to protect yourself from what’s coming next, the best thing you can do is plan for the worst and hope for the best. Once people find out where you are they’re going to want more from you than you’re willing to give and the last thing you need is for some nutjob zealot to try to kidnap you, or worse.”

“You think it’ll actually come to that?” Mayra asked and he could hear the fear in her voice, fear that he placed there, which he regretted immediately.

“I don’t know, honey, no one does for sure. I think it’d be a wise thing to get you out of that apartment and into somewhere safe where no one will think to look for you. Once we’ve done that you should try to lay low until it’s too late for anyone to interfere in the birthing process, and hopefully by then everything will be okay.”

Still feeling guilty, Sherman tried to steer the conversation onto lighter, happier topics and even somehow convinced Adina to join in on the conversation and it almost seemed like old times. When he eventually hung up the phone he felt mostly positive that the conversation ended on a good note and he was able to maintain a positive outlook on the situation…until he watched the Six O’clock News.

A group of field correspondents were reporting from outside Mayra’s apartment building.

“It is believed that some sort of explosion occurred,” the female reporter said. “Though there is no preliminary evidence to suggest a gas leak or explosive detonation occurred. According to building management and rescue official, the building has been evacuated successfully with no casualties listed as of this moment. The building has been classified as unfit for human habitation pending an proper inspection, leaving dozens of people without a home tonight.”

Though no casualties were listed, Sherman knew his daughter was in trouble. He called her landline, which was busy, called her cellphone which went straight to voicemail and he left numerous messages for her to let him know she was safe. He dialed and redialed the number until her voicemail box was full. He even attempted to call Bethany before realizing he didn’t have her number.

Pacing the living room, his head swam with the worst thoughts imaginable. She knew he and her mother would be worried, so she would call, why wouldn’t she call? The only logical explanation was she wasn’t able to call. When he couldn’t bear it any longer, he grabbed his coat and started for the door. Adina was suddenly in front of him, blocking his way. Sherman knew better than to walk through her after the he tried to hug her when she first appeared and nearly went into a coma.

“Adina, I don’t have time for this,” Sherman said. “Mayra needs my help!”

“Not yet,” Adina whispered and in the blink of an eye she bridged the distance between them and kissed Sherman’s lips.

It happened so quickly he had no time to react. Frostbite brushed his lips and the color drained from his face as if his heart had suddenly stopped beating. He swayed for a moment, staggering backward with his mind swirling. His breath became shallow when nausea crept from his abdomen to his head and the world went black.

To Be Continued…

©2017-2020 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

Having Heaven 14 – The Visit

Mayra adjusted the temperature to as hot as she could stand it, turned the diverter valve and let the water from the shower head sluice down her skin. There were a mess of thoughts in serious need of sorting, so she began unpacking the events of the day, including the sudden shift in Bethany’s personality. Her friend had always been a bit bossy, a bit in your face, and as her father used to say, free with the lip.

Her father. Oh, God. In all the excitement, with everything going on all at once, she had forgotten to call her father to see how he was coping. That was a lie. She remembered but was afraid to tell him that she saw Mom, afraid of how he would take the news, afraid of how he would react. And now with this, she thought as her hands slowly massaged her soapy belly, no, she’d just have to bite the bullet and tell him everything and hope for the best.

When she stepped out of the shower, she found Bethany in the bedroom stuffing things into a canvas rucksack.

“Are you going somewhere?” Mayra asked.

“No, silly, I’m making a bugout bag and you should, too,” Bethany said.

“Why?”

“In case we need to leave here in a hurry,” Bethany pointed to duffle bag in the bottom of their closet. “That’s a good size bag. Why don’t you start packing it up now?”

“Why would we need to leave in a hurry?”

“Do I really need to explain it you, Mayra? Do you really not know the way the world works?”

“What are you—”

Bethany exploded, “Why can’t you follow simple instructions and stop asking so many damned questions?”

Neither one of them moved. They stood there in the aftermath of an eruption that seemed to catch even Bethany by surprise. After a long moment,

“I don’t know what’s gotten into me,” Bethany said in a quiet voice, without risking eye contact. “I just get these feelings, like intuition but stronger, urging me to do certain things, things I think that are designed to keep you safe. Forgive me?”

“Nothing to forgive,” Mayra smiled, pulled the empty duffle bag from the closet and plopped it on the bed. “What should I pack?”

“Toiletries, a change of clothes, important documents, something to write on and write with, phone charger, stuff like that, you know, the essentials,” Bethany said. “We can pick up water and non-perishable food later.”

After they packed the essentials they had on hand, Mayra brewed tea while Bethany was on her laptop, scouring the internet for any news regarding Mayra’s pregnancy or as she called it, the scan felt ‘round the world. Her search led her to social media and religious forums and while there wasn’t any chatter as recent as today online, it seemed that theorists had been discussing the possibility of a new heaven rising from the ashes of the old, the only difference being no one thought a woman would be birthing it.

“But why me?” Mayra asked, entering the living room with two steaming mugs in her hand and sat slowly on the couch beside her friend, careful not to spill a drop.

“Why not you?” Bethany answered, taking the proffered tea. “If I had been chosen instead, then we’d all have a cause for concern, but you’re basically a good person, so if it had to be anyone on the planet, I’d put my money on you.”

“Thanks, I guess.”

Bethany sipped from her mug. “So, there’s a question I’ve been meaning to ask but you know I don’t do tactful very well.”

“Just ask it.”

“Okay, what was it like? You know, the experience before you got pregnant.”

“With Gavin?”

“Please. Gavin couldn’t father a cause. I mean, what was the whole Mary immaculate conception like? Former non-believing inquiring minds want to know.”

“Mary was a virgin. I’m sure our circumstances are different.”

“Absolutely not slut shaming, I was just curious if it felt, I don’t know, special?”

“What?”

“Come on, you know what I’m talking about here. Did you feel an angel’s presence or something? It’d give a whole new meaning to touched by an angel.”

“Ewww, that’s tacky, even for you,” Mayra said.

“Warned you, no tact, no diplomacy.”

“You’d think an angel would’ve come to tell me that I was to be the mother of the new Heaven, wouldn’t you? But no, nothing.” Mayra said.

“Well, could it be—and I can’t believe I’m actually saying this—because there aren’t any angels left? We still don’t know what happened to Heaven. What if there was a war that led to the death of all the angels? Now that I have to wrap my head around the existence of God and everything, it seems the most likely explanation.”

Before Mayra could respond, the landline phone rang and she launched herself off the couch and was able to scoop the handset off the cradle by the second ring. She blamed it on her never let the phone ring three times admin assistant training.

“Hello?”

“Hey, honey.” Mayra recognized the man’s voice immediately.

“Dad! You’re not going to believe this but I was just thinking about calling you today.”

“Things have been a little crazy, I know.”

“That’s an understatement.”

“Did I catch you at a bad time? I don’t want to bother you if you’re busy.”

“Never too busy for you. Are you okay?”

“Ox healthy and twice as strong.”

Then came the silence, that same silence that existed between them all their lives, especially over the phone. Her father wasn’t a skilled communicator at the best of times. He was the sort of person who needed visual cues, to look into the face of the person he was talking to so he could better read the tone of the conversation in order to avoid misunderstandings, and they’ve had their fair share of those. When she couldn’t take the silence any longer, she blurted out,

“There’s something I need to tell you—” but she was surprised when her father said the exact same thing at the same time. Jinx.

“Tell me what, Dad?”

“No, honey, I think you should go first.”

Another awkward silence as Mayra attempted to organize her thoughts. Where to begin? With the dream? The death of Heaven? Mom’s ghost? Gavin almost talking her into having an abortion? She girded her loins and said,

“Dad, I’m pregnant.”

“With the new heaven, I know,” her father said. “Your mother told me.”

Mayra’s jaw collided with the floor. “You saw Mom?”

“She’s standing right here.”

“Wait, hold up, you said Mom told you I was pregnant. You can communicate with her?”

“Not at first. She was talking to me but I couldn’t hear anything until this morning and when she said it my mind was filled with the belief that it was true.”

“That must have been around the same time I went in for the dating scan. That’s when everybody knew, I think.”

“So, it looks like we’ve got a bit of catching up to do.”

“You and those understatements, Dad.”

“Tell me everything and don’t leave out a single detail because your mother would never let me live it down if I didn’t get the whole story.”

Mayra’s eyes filled with tears as she began telling her father about how the madness all began for her with a dream. Bethany, eyebrows raised and wearing a half smile, went into the bedroom to give her friend some privacy.

It was a lengthy conversation, the longest one she ever had with her father and it spanned a range of emotions but by the time it was over, Mayra felt as if a tremendous weight had been lifted from her shoulders. She placed the handset back on the cradle and was about to tell Bethany it was safe to come out of the bedroom when the phone rang again. It was probably her father calling to relay a bit of news he had forgotten to say during the call.

“What did you forget, Dad?”

“Mayra Critchlow?” the voice on the other end was male but it definitely was not her father.

“Who is this?”

“Is it true that you’re carrying the new heaven?”

“You’ve got the wrong number.”

“Why are you being like that?”

“I’m not being like anything. I don’t know you and you’ve dialed the wrong number. Please don’t call here again.”

“What are you planning, to keep it all to yourself? You don’t deserve it, you selfish bitch! That heaven is ours! It belongs to all of us!”

“I—I…” Mayra stuttered.

“Just hang up,” Bethany said, pulling the handset from her friend’s hand and dropping it onto the cradle. Mayra was so preoccupied with the phone call she hadn’t heard Bethany come into the room.

The phone rang again.

“Don’t pick it up,” Bethany said.

“But what if it’s important,” Mayra said. “From someone we know?”

“You’ve been doxed,” Bethany said. “Some anonymous asshole at the hospital leaked your name and address to the press and now it’s all over the internet.”

Bethany unplugged the landline from the wall and that was when Mayra’s cell phone began ringing. And it wasn’t only telephone calls. Emails flooded her inbox, texts to her cellphone, DMs on all her Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn accounts. Some polite and inquiring, others expressing relief and heaping her with praise but the majority that she and Bethany came across were hate-filled and sexually aggressive. She was receiving assault threats, pictures of genitalia, and degrading messages at an alarming rate.

And it wouldn’t stop. As quickly as one message or text was deleted and blocked, ten more took its place and the cell’s caller ID displayed different phone numbers from different cities and countries all over the world.

Eventually, when it all became too much, Mayra turned off her cell phone, deactivated her social media accounts and as she and Bethany were in the middle of devising a plan of action, there was a knock at the apartment door. A light rapping so soft they almost missed it.

“Miss Critchlow? Mayra Critchlow? If I might have a word?” the person on the other side of the door said in a taut tone but his voice sounded strange, intelligent but almost as if he wasn’t accustomed to speaking.

Mayra crept to the door, carefully avoiding the loose floorboards that creaked. She slowly slid the peephole cover up and saw a tall, lanky man whose clothes hung off his impossibly thin frame. He was creepy in the that he looked wrongly human, like something assembled by a description from being that never saw a human in the flesh. In a blink, his eye filled peephole view which startled her and she lost hold of the peephole cover which made a metal on metal sound as it slid closed.

“Please open the door,” he said in a manner that seemed surface level kind but dangerous, like antifreeze sweetened iced tea.

Mayra moved away from the door gingerly on the balls of her feet until she backed into Bethany who mouthed the words, “Who is it?” Mayra shook her head and shrugged in response.

“I know you’re in there!” the lanky man said, knocking again, this time harder and the console table near the front door rattled as if a freight train was barreling past. “I can smell you! I can smell it in you!”

The emphasis on the word it caused the heaven embryo in Mayra’s womb to shift. She clutched her belly and Bethany asked, “What is it? What’s wrong?”

“We’re in danger.”

The lanky man pounded on the door relentlessly now, one fist after the other. At first, neither Mayra nor Bethany moved, their brains unable to make sense of the input from their ears and feet. The floor was moving, rippling as if it were a wave on the sea and the pounding was many magnitudes louder than thunder and although the door held by some miracle, the vibrations began to crack the wall surrounding the doorjamb. Then all at once the apartment was moving up and down with such incredible force that the women sprawled over the floor, falling heavily to splintering solid hardwood. Then like a switch had been turned on, Mayra and Bethany scrambled for the legs of the oak dining room table, pulling themselves underneath for safety, curled up in balls and holding on for dear life.

The entire apartment was shaken like a dollhouse and Mayra and Bethany were tossed around like so many dolls. Glasses smashed, books fell off shelves, the walls creaked as they swayed and the lights flickered rapidly before going out altogether. The table they were under was jumping over the floor like it had a mind of its own, and parts of the ceiling were coming down in chunks. They were terrified and their screams were lost as the very ground shook with more deafening noise than a quarry detonation releasing the tension of eons.

They reached out for one another’s hands and as their skin touched they look around.

“We can’t stay here,” Bethany said. “This place is crashing down around us!”

They made their way unsteadily from under the table and scrabbled across the floor into the bedroom.

“Get the bugout bags!” Bethany shouted to Mayra as she fumbled with lock on the bedroom window. Luckily, the fire escape was attached to this window, so the women climbed out onto the exposed wrought iron zigzag staircase that was desperately clinging to the crumbling brick wall.”

“Is this safe?” Mayra asked, clutching the metal handrail as they made their way down the shaky steps.

“I’d rather be out here than in there,” Bethany answered over the squeals of shifting metal.

When they reached the second floor, the staircase came to a halt and the only way to ground level was via a drop-down ladder suspended by a hook. Bethany unfastened the hook and let the ladder drop to the concrete below with a bang. She helped Mayra onto the ladder but she herself almost slipped and fell when the building lurched suddenly and a portion of the fire escape pulled free from the wall.

The fire escape put them down in the alley and they were nervous that the lanky man was right behind them having followed them down, or he had friends waiting out front in case they managed to slip away but as Bethany peered out onto the street all she saw was a crowd of normal looking people cell phones out filming the single building on the block that seemed to be experiencing an earthquake.

“We need to get as far away from here as possible and I think I know a place where we can lay low until we get our bearings,” Bethany said, taking her friend’s arm and hurrying her through the crowd.

This time, Mayra hadn’t tried to argue or ask questions.

To Be Continued…

©2017-2020 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

Having Heaven 13 – The Undeniable Truth

BETHANY

Everything was normal the moment before the ultrasound wand touched Mayra’s stomach. Upon contact, reality lurched suddenly and normal no longer existed. Bethany couldn’t move, couldn’t even breathe. She was frozen to the spot, feeling her heart pounding in her chest, the hairs on her arms and the nape of her neck stood at attention, as a wave of chills washed over her body. A knowledge whispered in her mind, a knowledge older than her years, older than the earth, older than time or the universe itself. And it kept getting louder and louder, this cacophonous thrumming rhythm of knowledge and although it made no noise, the sound was intolerable and just as it reached the point at which her mind would have splintered, it stopped, leaving in its wake an undeniable truth.

Although she had not physically moved, for as long as it took the foreign thought to implant itself within her mind, Bethany was elsewhere and then her consciousness suddenly snapped back to her body in the hospital room and it took a moment to reorient herself. Electric shock sensations danced along her brain, similar to when she abruptly stopped taking sertraline once her depression was manageable. Her ears popped, she felt a slight wooziness, and her breath hitched once she found she was once again able to take in air. What happened to her? Was it some sort of panic attack? She had felt something else in the room with them in that frozen instant, something inside her body, inside her mind, she was sure of it. It couldn’t have been her imagination.

Before she could contemplate it any further, Bethany’s eyes focused on the ultrasound monitor. What she saw looked nothing like a baby. It looked more like a swirling blob, and she was sure that wasn’t meant to happen. She glanced around, trying to read the faces of the others, hoping someone would have said something, anything, to clear matters up but Mayra looked shocked and the sonographer stared at the screen with narrowing eyes. Whatever they were looking at was far from normal.

“Let me get one of the doctors in for a second opinion,” the sonographer said before dropping the wand and rushing out of the room and that was when the undeniable truth flooded her mind.

Bethany began snatching up both her and Mayra’s coats and bags in a hurried fashion.

“Bethy, what are you doing?” Mayra said sluggishly as if she had been awakened from a deep sleep.

“Sweetie, we need to get the fuck out of here, now!” Bethany said, hooking her arm around Mayra’s elbow and yanking her to her feet.

Bethany peeked her head out of the room and looked both ways to check that the coast was clear. No sonographer in sight, she led Mayra into the corridor, scanning the dazed faces of hospital personnel as they hurried past. Eyes tracked them as they made their way to the exit, mouths opened to speak and closed again as though people weren’t sure what they wanted to say.

Pulling out her phone, Bethany started to order an Uber but that nagging little voice in the back of her mind made her put the phone away and hail a taxi instead. When they climbed inside she gave the driver a wrong address, an address that was close to but far enough away from their apartment and shushed Mayra before she could offer a correction.

For a few seconds, Bethany thought the getaway, the putting distance between them and the hospital wasn’t going to work, by the way the taxi driver stared at Mayra in the rearview mirror, as if he knew her. Out the window, down the block she saw the sonographer and a man she assumed to be a doctor rush from the hospital, heads on a swivel checking the streets.

Bethany banged on the plexiglass partition to get the driver’s attention. “Hey! Is there a problem here? If you’re not going to drive we can get out and catch another cab.”

The sonographer and her companion started down the block in their direction and Bethany had one hand around Mayra’s wrist and the other on the car door handle, ready to bolt but the driver pulled the cab away from the curb and into traffic.

The ride felt longer than it actually was with Bethany continually looking out of the rear window, checking if they were being followed, not that she would have had the first idea how to spot a tail. During the drive, she had to stop Mayra from talking twice, eyeing the cabbie who was taking sneaky peeks at her friend every so often. And he wasn’t the only one. Whenever the taxi stopped at a red light, the heads of pedestrians and drivers alike would turn in their direction. Their eyes seemed to be drawn to Mayra if by some magnetic force. It was hands down the creepiest thing Bethany had ever witnessed in real life. People stopped dead in their tracks and just stared, their mouths opening and closing mouthing words she couldn’t make out.

When they eventually stepped out of the cab, Bethany regretted giving the cabbie a fake address because it was raining bullets. She threw her coat over Mayra’s head and refused to get under herself when Mayra offered to share. They stood under a store awning until the cab pulled away before making their way to the apartment.

Once inside, Bethany started to peel off Mayra’s wet layers.

“Okay, that’s enough!” Mayra pushed Bethany’s hands away. “I can get out of my wet things by myself. What’s gotten into you, anyway, dragging me around like a little kid, stopping me from talking—”

Mayra’s outburst caught Bethany by surprise. “I—I’m just trying to protect you.”

“From what?”

“I don’t know. Everybody. Everything.”

From Mayra’s expression she could tell her friend wasn’t on the same page, so she tried again, “Sweetie, I know how crazy this is going to sound but it’s no less crazy than what’s been going on lately. Something happened at the hospital. I felt it and I know you felt it, too, hell, everybody did. Don’t ask me how I know it, I just do. And that something made me—I don’t know—super protective of you.”

“It did?”

“Yeah, you know, like when people say they’ve found their calling and it sounds like bullshit? Well, I think—no, I’m sure—that I’ve found my calling and it’s not bullshit. There’s something deep inside of me that’s urging me to keep you safe at all costs. You and your fake pregnancy.”

“Fake? You think I’m pretending to be pregnant?”

“No, that’s not what I mean. Of course, you’re pregnant, but not really, you know?”

“Bethy, you’re not making sense.”

“I’m the one not making sense here? That’s not a baby, Mayra! That thing inside you. I don’t know what it is.”

“You know exactly what it is,” Mayra said in a low, confident voice that was so unlike her that it spooked Bethany.

“Of course, I do! I don’t think there’s a living or dead soul on the planet who doesn’t know what it is.”

“Then say it.”

“I—I can’t.”

“Why not?”

“Because that would take something that I heart and soul don’t believe in and make it real.”

“But what if I need to hear it? A confirmation outside my own head from someone I trust? Can you make it real for me?”

Bethany hung her head low, inhaled deeply and let the breath out slowly. “It’s heaven, Mayra,” she said. “You’re carrying the new heaven.”

To Be Continued…

©2017-2020 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

Your Higher Self

Never be afraid to let others know that you are a writer, whether you have been published or not, because that is not what defines you.

Embrace it.

Space Case

Everyone I knew wrote me off as a space case, as if I was insane or some sad eccentric with little grip on reality but none of them, not a single solitary person, bothered to get to know me, to peer beyond this veil of all too fragile flesh in order to witness the infinitude that lay within.

©2020 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

Having Heaven 12 – The Scan

Researching on her tablet, Mayra discovered the first functional fetal organ to develop was the heart, typically eighteen to nineteen days after fertilization which began to beat and pump blood around day twenty-two. But when it came to ensoulment, the closest thing she found to a specific answer dated back to the time of Aristotle, where it was believed the human soul entered the forming body at forty days for boys and ninety days for girls, which was of exactly zero use in explaining why there had been no sightings of child or baby spirits and if her as yet unborn child currently had a soul.

“How long do you think you’ve been pregnant?” Bethany asked.

“Um, I don’t know,” Mayra said, counting the days back to when she first took the test.

“At least six weeks?”

“Sure, I think. Maybe? Why?”

“Because six weeks is the earliest you can get a dating scan.”

“A what now?”

“An ultrasound to find out how far along you are and detect the presence of a heartbeat. Don’t you want to hear your baby’s heartbeat? I know I do.”

Mayra felt slightly ashamed that Bethany had taken the reins with regard to the clinical aspects for the pregnancy while she was preoccupied with the metaphysics of soul creation and death.

“It’s been over six weeks since I missed my period,” Mayra said.

“So, should I book us an appointment?” Bethany asked, and received no response. “What’s up with you?”

“You’re not going to like this,” Mayra sighed. “But I think Gavin might be right.”

“About what?”

“Maybe it’s not right to bring a child into this new world.”

Bethany sat across from Mayra in complete silence, lost in her thoughts for a long while before saying, “I don’t know how to respond to that. I mean, if that’s Gavin’s voice in your head, I’d tell you to tell it to fuck off. If you’re thinking it because you’re nervous, I can totally understand that but like I’ve told you a hundred times, you are not alone, and I’ll keep telling you until it finally sinks in. But if this is truly how you feel, then I support you and your choice and I’ll be here for you however you need me to be so don’t feel guilty because you have to do what’s right for you.”

“I have to admit, Bethy, I have no idea what’s right anymore.”

***

It was an odd thing but being in the hospital to get the ultrasound made the situation real. Mayra was going to have a baby, she was going to be a single mom which meant she had some growing up to do. She was afraid the sonographer was going to make assumptions about her since Bethany was at her side instead of Gavin but it was one of those childishly foolish notions that she needed to push out of her head.

“At this point we should be able to see the baby take shape,” the sonographer, whose name was Gloria, smiled. “Your little one is slowly becoming a person and I have to admit this is the point I find the most exciting. Nine months might seem like a long time but it will fly by. Make the most of this experience because once you hold your baby in your arms everything will be different.”

“Do you think this is something I can do alone?” Mayra had no idea why she asked the question. The words just slipped out before she was aware of what she was saying.

“Yes, even though it’s obvious to me you aren’t alone,” Gloria said without missing a beat and nodding a smile at Bethany. “Somehow I can tell there are always going to be people around to help you. Pregnancy can sometimes make you feel like you’re in it by yourself but you’d be surprised at how people will step up to help.”

“That’s a curious bedside manner you’ve got there,” Bethany said.

“So I’ve been told,” Gloria replied and to Mayra she said, “The scan usually takes about twenty minutes.”

“Twenty minutes?” Mayra said.

“I know your bladder’s full but we’ll get through this as quickly as possible,” Gloria held up a squeeze bottle and a small hand-held device. “First I’m going to apply some ultrasound gel to your tummy and move this transducer over your skin to get views of your baby.”

Mayra looked down at the gel being spread over her stomach. Her body was still in the same shape it had always been, something the baby would soon change and she wasn’t quite sure she was ready for it. When she glanced at Bethany, she saw her friend was staring across the room at a ghost midwife standing nearby, watching the monitor, waiting patiently. It was impossible to pretend she wasn’t there but a strange phenomenon was taking place where people began ignoring the spirits, they had become so commonplace. Exhaling deeply, she turned her attention to the screen. Being able to see her growing child was the whole reason she was there, and she wasn’t about to let the dead spoil this moment.

“Okay, Mayra, this is going to feel weird, but I promise you it’s truly worth it,” Gloria said.

Mayra said a silent prayer that the scan turned out normal and the baby was healthy but the moment the transducer made contact with her belly—everything changed. Her vision filled with starbursts. A million points of light filled her mind and she was overcome with a sensation that was simply too good, too pure to exist in this imperfect world. Her sense of existence expanded beyond the limitations of infinity and for one brief moment the edges of her mind brushed against the minds of every person, living and dead, linking together like a jigsaw puzzle of peace and all was right in the universe for a nanosecond before infinite knowledge avalanched onto her mind sending shards of information into her brain and out through the back of her skull over and over eternally and existence filled her mouth, filled her throat, filled her lungs, suffocating her with its presence and it would not let up, would not let her fight, would not let her scream as she was engulfed by the unending blinding whiteness of everything until she became nothing at all.

The bits and pieces that made her unique no longer existed in this pearlescent void and how could it? The totality of everything had pushed everything she had ever been out of her. She was now a hollow lifeless shell—until she wasn’t. Reality, her reality, the only one she personally experienced, had begun reknitting itself, stitch one, purl two until she was back in the examination room with the sonographer and Bethany. Both women stood stock-still as if they had been turned into stone by a basilisk, mouth agape, staring at the monitor. What they saw on the screen looked nothing like a baby at all. It looked more like a blob, a swirling mass that resembled a distant galaxy viewed through a space telescope.

When Gloria recovered enough to form words, she said, “Let me get one of the doctors in for a second opinion,” and bolted out of the room before Mayra could ask a question.

Mayra turned to Bethany who was gathering their coats and bags in a hurried fashion.

“Bethy, what are you doing?”

“Sweetie, we need to get the fuck out of here, now!”

To Be Continued…

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