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Gasher
March 19th, 2013, 01:43 AM
The woman came in on the gurney at 11:17 PM. She had been found on her hands and knees outside the ER, as though she had crawled her way to the hospital in the middle of the night. She had no sores or needle marks, or any identification--a Jane Doe. The nurse assisting her had gleaned that she was Hungarian and did not speak English. The prominent swell of her stomach had told the rest.

The doctor joined the nurse and medical assistant in charge of transporting her. He looked the woman over as the nurse related the situation. She had long dark hair that crept all the way to her navel and exotic green eyes, the latter of which were alive with panic.

"My baby... my baby... my baby." She moaned. They seemed to be the only two English words she knew.

She continued pleading with him using her eyes and mouth, but her hands remained locked around her bulge. There was blood on them.

"Do you speak the language then?" The doctor asked the nurse.

"No, but I had a roommate in college who did."

"How are her vitals?"

"All fine. Nothing wrong that I can see."

"And the blood on her hands?"

"There's considerable vaginal bleeding. Judging by the pain, it could be a placental abruption."

The doctor, nurse and patient took the elevator to Labor and Delivery, leaving the assistant behind in the lobby. When the doors clattered open, the two of them wheeled the patient into a vacant room and lifted her onto the bed. While the nurse prepared an IV, the doctor washed his hands and assumed a pair of gloves and a surgical mask.

He pulled a chair up to the bottom of the bed and proceeded to lift the woman's dress. He paused at the knees, making eye contact to assure he had her consent. She confirmed this by releasing a hand from her belly to pull the dress up the rest of the way. Her underwear had already been removed.

The bleeding was consistent with a placental abruption, however despite obvious signs of labor, there was virtually no dilation of the cervix. Puzzled, he called for the fetal heart monitor. When the monitor had beeped to life, the nurse lifted her shirt and the doctor moved the the wand over her distended stomach. He frowned.

"I'm getting no heartbeat," he said, retracting the wand.

"Miscarriage?" Asked the nurse, now leaning over his shoulder.

He didn't care for the nurse's bluntness, even if the woman was completely oblivious. "Maybe. I'll need to take a peek."

He spread the vaginal wall with his index and pointer finger and that's when he saw it. Something retracted quickly back up the birth canal into the uterus--his mind made it into a hand or foot. He breathed a sigh of relief. "Something's moving in there."

"Miss, I'm going to need you to start pushing," he told the woman, and then mimed the action by making a triangle with his hands and thrusting it forward. To his amusement, the woman nodded her head immediately and even relinquished her hands from her belly long enough to mime her own gesture, one hand plucking at the palm of the other, which clearly read: take it out. With the communiqué complete, she took both her hands and braced them against her thighs and began to push, her loud grunting testament to how hard.

After a few minutes, and still no dilation, the woman stopped grunting and the doctor looked up to see her eyes shut and teeth clamped. She kept her body perfectly still for this interim of time until it exploded into a convulsion that arched her back and rolled her sideways. She screamed so high and so clear, the doctor jumped in his seat. Then she started speaking rapidly as she made a second gesture: she made her hand into a claw and ripped it away from her stomach upward. Take it out now.

The nurse held onto one hand and tried to guide her breathing. Dilation began, and quickly, and within ten minutes something black and shiny that could only be the scalp was creeping its way into view.

The baby was coming. Now he could see the head, which was presently sliding its way down the birth canal and was inches from breaching the vagina. He noted the odd purple pigment and was immediately concerned about strangulation from the umbilical, however it was now coming out so fast perhaps they needn't even worry. And then he saw something he couldn't make sense of: he saw a set of prickly hair like protrusions on either side of the head, and something else, almost as if the baby was wearing some of the afterbirth like a cowl...it was all shiny...like a...carapace.

When what the doctor had believed to be the tip of the head was poking out, he was overcome with utter disbelief.

"My god."

The nurse left her post to come and have a look, after which she promptly doubled over and vomited on the tile. A moment later, her knees gave out and she tumbled sideways into a supply cart, spilling its contents onto the floor. The doctor caught all of this in his periphery somehow, and that was truly a thing, because what was in plain sight in front of him was too bizarre to divert attention from.

All the doctor could think was: there's no head, it's a mutant with only body. A big, impossibly elongated body. But what he'd mistaken for hairs were not hairs at all, but a multitude of legs. When it was all the way out, there were no more disillusions to be had: what had come out of this woman was not human but insect. The centipede fell through the doctor's frozen hands, and its body, at least ten times as large as any he'd seen in nature, slapped against the ground making a wet noise almost as sickening as the creature looked. There it proceeded to twist and squirm for purchase, but its army of legs could only dance in the air, and the doctor found that he could not take his eyes from them...all those fierce tiny legs. His own stomach did a lurch.

"My baby," urged the woman, whose vantage point mercifully spared her the abomination writhing on the floor.

Her voice broke the spell, and he looked up at her, his surgical mask hiding the look of appall that must have been set there like stone, and then back down at the...

It was too much. But then his legs and his arms acted of their own accord and he found himself doing something absurd. His hands found the towels which had been set aside for the newborn, and he stooped to wrap the creature up in them, taking care not to let the caustic legs touch his skin. Then he stood and handed the towel wrap, and the terrible thing inside, over to its mother. He expected her to scream but she did not. Instead, she held the creature to her chest and rocked it, unable to see it true. Or perhaps, the doctor realized with dawning horror, she did.

"My baby," she repeated.

Hunter56
March 19th, 2013, 02:51 AM
Very well written and suspenseful piece. Greatly detailed and had no problem with the flow. I see no problems. Good job!

Saiknohx
March 19th, 2013, 03:19 AM
This was... intense. Your medical prowess really made the whole thing so immersive. This could do well as is or even longer, since there's still questions to answer.

LamentableBard
March 19th, 2013, 04:47 AM
An excellent piece. The horror and graphic detail of your descriptions really gripped me and had me wanting to keep on reading to the end. It appears you either know your stuff or have done considerable research on the medical side of things and it really shows in the polished and tense flow of your narritive. I salute you!

Bandage
March 19th, 2013, 06:53 PM
Reminds me of the birth scene in "The Fly" but this is well written. I enjoy the mother's embrace as if nothing was wrong with the baby. I look forward to reading more.

Gasher
March 20th, 2013, 03:55 AM
Ah, I can already feel my ego getting bigger. Heh. I'm glad you guys enjoyed it. I was worried it might be a tad too gross/morbid, especially for those readers who came here for the fantasy and sci-fi :D.

Fressno
March 20th, 2013, 04:28 PM
oh my god! what a good beginning for a horror novel! i want to know more. i want to know the "why" =)
keep more coming.=)

archer88iv
March 20th, 2013, 08:04 PM
Wanted to come have a look at a piece you'd written since you were kind enough to leave a comment on mine. I thought it was very well done, actually--I was cringing by the end and had to force myself to finish. Didn't really want to know what was going to happen. Thought for sure someone was going to get eaten or something.

Nitpicky nonsense:

In "the latter of which", the "the latter of" part is kind of extraneous; "which" is one of those pointer things that is kind of assumed to refer to whatever noun came last.

I thought "assumed" was an odd way to describe putting on gloves and a mask, but it may be a dialect thing.

Dreamworx95
March 21st, 2013, 08:32 PM
He spread the vaginal wall with his index and pointer finger and that's when he saw it. Something
Index and pointer finger = same thing.

This was disgusting, sickening and cringe inducing.

Excellent job. The writing was spot on and the bloody, gory descriptions made me cringe. This grabs my attention and has me wondering how this centipede thing was conceived - sick as I am, haha. I look forward to seeing where you go with this.

Dream.

Pluralized
March 25th, 2013, 12:13 AM
Wow, Gasher. This was a superb and gnarly piece, and most enjoyable.

The only real nit I can add to what the others have said, is to lose the "he saw" in both instances here:


And then he saw something he couldn't make sense of: he saw a set of prickly hair like protrusions on either side of the head...

There was another point where the action stalled for me as I brushed across this line:


perfectly still for this interim of time

Overall - a nice, fast, horrific read. Thanks for sharing it.

Red Heron
March 25th, 2013, 01:57 AM
I love the way you ended it! Seriously, holy shit!

For a nasty second I thought it was going to be "the centipede ate her baby" which would have been, well...disgusting in a bad way. But it was disgusting in the best way!

NathanBrazil
March 25th, 2013, 02:41 AM
Quite enjoyable.

From the title I envisioned the two possibilities Red Heron suggested from the beginning. I wondered if a different title might work, one that's not quite so leading. Honestly either works because you did such a great job presenting the material.


Just a NIT but the double the's tripped me up here.


The bleeding was consistent with a placental abruption, however despite obvious signs of labor, there was virtually no dilation of the cervix. Puzzled, he called for the fetal heart monitor. When the monitor had beeped to life, the nurse lifted her shirt and the doctor moved the the wand over her distended stomach. He frowned.



Looking forward to seeing more of your work. Thanks for the share.