She holds the infant in her hands. 9 months of total agony, 9 hours of utter decimation, and here’s what there is to show it. A baby, covered in blood. She’s angry at the child. It doesn’t deserve to exist any more than anyone else does. So many people die out here that the creation of new life feels like a spit in the face to those who tried so hard to just survive.
Her sister grabs her arm, desperately. “Please, I want to hold them,” the sister says. She scowls at her sister. Truly, you wish to carry this burden? This curse, this evil? She blinks, and the scowl is gone. She hands the infant over.
Her sister sobs into the hair of the screaming thing. She can tell the sobs are of joy, and it sickens her. You’re happy about this? The heart rate monitor is beeping faster. The only real medical tool they had available to them.
The sister hands the infant back, short of breath. She takes it back. Hesitant. She still hates this child.
“Please. Keep them alive. For me,” the sister says. The heart rate monitor flat lines. Her sister is dead. The baby shrieks.
She screams back at the infant. This minuscule collection of flesh just killed her sister, and yet she’s supposed to keep it alive? This petite scab destroyed the only thing in the world that she loved, and what? She has to feed it now? Keep it warm? Change its pants? For what? She could smash the infant against the rocks and be done with this whole ordeal. She could go back to traveling like she used to.
She looks back at the corpse of her sister. It wouldn’t be like how it used to be. She’d be alone. She’s never been entirely alone before.
She looks back and the child. Apparently, her shakes of anger were something similar to rocking. The child is soothed. She clicks her tongue. “The world is hard. You are not. You are lucky to have a mother to protect you.”