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

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…

©2017-2020 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys