A Cry in the Night ((OPEN))



  • Here was a secret: She was terrified.

    It was late, past midnight, and she had been walking for an hour and a half when she finally reached the gate. It was too hot, even in this point in the night, and the moon sat low and sullen on the western horizon.  It was slow going, what with the contractions roiling through her, and she was soaked with sweat. As another one shoved it's angry way through her bones, she paused, clenched her teeth and let it pass. The looseness as it left was a short lived relief and she hobbled a few steps before she had another one. This one was worse, made her lean on the spear she was using as a crutch. It didn't end when she expected, but grew, like a bubble inside her. Aggie pinched her lips together and moaned quietly, the only noise she had made since she started walking. Then it all let go at once. Something hot and wet ran down her leg and she sucked in a breath. "Oh…oh non…petit…don' 'urry..."

    Picking up her pace, forcing herself not to push, not yet, she made it to the gate of the Abbey and used the end of her spear to thump on the door. It made a good racket, and she called out in a voice hoarse from carefully not screaming, "Midwife! Sil vous plait Ah need a midwife!"

    The next contraction shoved through her hard enough to make her go to her knees, and she felt herself push. Agnes made a noise, something wet and breathy, something between a cry and a sob as she reached down and felt the baby's head between her legs.

    Here was a secret: Agnes was terrified. She was giving birth in the wee hours of the morning, alone, far from home, outside the gates of a great Abbey. Her baby was rushing along far quicker than she expected. But she was also elated. For three seasons she had been alone, except for her petit chere. And now she would finally see their face and hear their laugh.

    Another contraction was building up, and she braced herself on the gate with one hand and ripped the skirt of her dress off with the other. she shoved it between her knees as the contraction broke with a force unlike the rest. With a low groan and the last of her energy, she bit her lip, bore down, and pushed.

    Agnes's lip split and she tasted blood. Behind her teeth, she screamed, and at the last moment, when she thought she was going to split into a thousand pieces, she felt something give. The weight of her child fell into her hands and she guided the already squirming, slimy body to the cloth between her knees.

    "Midwife," she croaked, once more, halfheartedly slapping at the gate before scooting back. Her baby, her daughter, was squalling, roaring into the sultry night. She scooped her up in her shaking arms with a gasp of laughter, and cleared her mouth so she could cry out better.

    "Hey podna," Aggie smiled, looking down into her face. "Welcome petit Marie…"


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