LT 2.0 Flash Fiction Mini Series: Harvest

This week I will be posting flash fiction pieces I have written within the past year for a great writing collaborative that is now laid to rest. My dear friends over at JuiceBox Confession and Navigator, Equator birthed LT 2.0 and in appreciation for it, please enjoy.

I wrote this piece of flash fiction for Literary Traces while I was in the hospital with in the first twenty-four hours of delivering my third son. Please, enjoy my twisted mind.

The thick golden tendrils of her hair were bound back in a low ponytail and braided to the ends then bound again.  She walked the halls a look of unknown excitement in her glazed over eyes as she watched the busy birthing center nurses tend to ladies and babies. Other mothers-to-be clutching swollen fronts in painful anticipation to the initial meeting of their new spawn.

The golden braid bobbed to and fro.  Her eyes stayed focused on the task at hand. It was time for harvesting. She knew she would have to do this, and was often told that all things will come to an end in the pain and suffering of life. In acceptance of this way of life she knew the harvest would draw near and her duty would be her utmost responsibility.

Eyes ever diligent on the halls.  She was keeping track of the faces and trying to guess when each face might produce their own offspring. Feigning contraction she would stop every so often so as to not draw attention to the obviously painless labor she was enduring. The pain was never physical for her, however after several years of living here and learning about the intricacies of life she grew fond of the race she had studied for centuries.  Each time this task was bestowed upon her her heart sank a little more knowing that these women truly loved what was growing, living and soon to be breathing from within them.

She did her best to shake herself of these thoughts and focused on the labor of her work.  Walking, really marching, up and down.  Refusing help when asked.  Politely talking to family members of other laborers, and wondering how they fared.  How far into the process they were.  Eager to share with any person with a lending ear they often readily gave the exact information she needed.  It usually rang to the tune of “oh she’s about 6 cm now”, or “this is our second baby, we hope its a girl”…so on and so forth.

Today she chose an olive toned woman with hair that cascaded in dark ringlets down her face. Perspiration and tears saturated her skin.  Her cheeks were flush with the coming. Her name was Gaia according to the chart hanging from the front of the door.  Her partner, Abigail, ran to and from the kitchenette to fetch ice chips and whatever else Gaia asked for. Yes, the time was close indeed.

Finally the moments that followed produced the sounds of life and the cries of victory. Once the two mothers had their fill of staring into their newborn’s face for the first time, Gaia asked her to go make the long list of phone calls to alert family and friends of the arrival of the new life in her arms. Abigail moved the babe to the bassinet and encouraged her wife to get some rest. Once confirmed that Abigail was in the thick of the task assigned and the nurses were done tending to the mending and cleaning of Gaia she descended upon the room.

Entering silently she only allowed Gaia to know she was there by sound of the door closing. Gaia looked up at her slightly confused and with a questioning look about her. The door was locked and she smiled as she walked closer to Gaia’s hospital bed. As Gaia reached for the call button as she with the golden braid moved it aside out of reach as she had done to dozens of new mothers before.

“Your gift will ensure the safety of humankind. We are grateful to you and take this life as a continuation of the contract of peace.”

Gaia still very unsure as to the goings on of the current moment and quite groggy watched as the unfamiliar woman walk closer to her baby.

The one with the golden braid walked steadily to the sleeping baby.  Gingerly she picked it up and nestled it into the cradle of her arms and rested the sweet sleeper on her belly. Looking up into the suddenly horrified Gaia’s face she thanked her once more as she walked over to the only window in the room. She slid it open and in one fluid motion she pounced upon the window sill, and as if the embodiment of a snake, she unhinged her jaw and swallowed the newborn whole.

Gaia unable to speak, shook at the thought of what she just witnessed. Braid still swaying from the fast action.  Jaw still foot wide and slack she skewed her face into some form of a smile as her tongue fell loosely out of the gaping hole of a mouth and bound out of the window.

The contract of peace was fulfilled another day and Earth would be safe, until the next time.

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