Hey short story fans! I was competing in a writing contest, and all the participants were given a surprise genre, specific characters, and a limited time to produce a story. I ended up getting, “Horror.” I almost bailed; I can barely sit through a trailer for a scary movie! Literary magazine Wordhaus is macabre, because they published it. My antagonist is a despicable, horrendous monster. I don’t even want to talk about what he did to the babysitter, his wife, and his own child. You can read it here, if you have the stomach for horror.
It never occurred to Juliana there could be twins in there.
“What is that thing?” she screamed, blinking away the spate of her tears. The pale, dead fetus they pulled from her was small and gray. Shrouded in a light fur, with snaking veins visible beneath thin, wet-paper skin, like a witch’s fist.
“I killed it,” Juliana exhaled with relief. The whole thing would be over soon.
“It’s not your fault.”
Drugged and unable to feel or move, Juliana lay there a prisoner, waiting for the second child to be plucked from the exposed cavity incised across the flawless valley of her seventeen-year-old abdomen.
A red-faced infant male, slick with greasy white vernix, was hustled out and held in front of her face. It was 1987, and statistics showed laboring mothers reported a heightened sense of bonding if they were allowed to see their newborn. Juliana closed her eyes, blocking out the screaming bundle.
“It’s a boy. Congratulations.” The baby kicked, hanging before her, inexplicably alive. Only seconds into parenthood, Juliana could feel the staff judging her, waiting for her to take responsibility for him.
“Thirty-four weeks, preterm,” the attending surgeon intoned, a nurse made note. “Complications due to cervical insufficiency coupled with twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. Recipient twin alive at birth. Donor, stillborn.”
Juliana dared a peek at the newborn “Recipient,” bloated with excess fluid under the skin.
“You better die,” she seethed, breaths heaving. “Or I’m going to kill you.”