C is for...
Cyclops. And are they ever big and scary, as Odysseus can attest. I even wrote about the big, hungry one eyed beast in Family Ties. But what happens when they aren't so big?
by Lisa McCourt Hollar
“Push Lilith. You are doing a great job. I can see the top of his head.”
“Her,” Lilith growled between clenched teeth.
“Well we will know for sure in a moment,” Dr. Braag chuckled. “One more good push and the head will be out.”
Lilith grunted, pushing as hard as she could. Suddenly, with a great feeling of relief, she felt the head pass and the pressure she was feeling let up.
“Okay, hold still a moment,” the doctor said, his voice suddenly quiet. Lilith thought she detected something in the tenor and tried to look around the sheets that were draped over her legs. The nurse’s eyes were wide, as she helped the doctor with the baby.”
“What’s wrong?” Lilith’s heart was pounding loudly in her ears, a sign that her blood pressure was rising. One of the monitors she was connected too began to screech.
“Push,” Dr. Braag said, ignoring her question, while a nurse, who was attending to the monitor told her to calm down.
“You calm down,” Lilith snapped back. “What’s wrong with my baby?”
Dr. Braag looked up at Lilith. “We need to get him out Lilith. Push.”
Lilith strained, pushing with all her might. She felt the baby slide the rest of the way out and watched, her eyes trying to see past the nurses that had surrounded the bundle that Dr. Braag was placing in the small incubator. She couldn’t see anything, but her mind was conjuring up all kinds of images.
Early on in the pregnancy, her doctor had said there were abnormalities in the tests. The amnio showed that there could be deformities, and even the ultrasound showed that the limbs were out of proportion. Lilith’s mother though was devoutly religious and had squashed any thought of termination.
“You brought this on yourself,” Violet Bishop had said, “lying with disgusting boys behind the barn. You will have your child and accept whatever fate God has left you with.”
Lilith had tried to tell her mother that she hadn’t been with any boy and didn’t know how she’d become pregnant. Violet slapped her for blasphemy against the holy mother and told her to never again suggest hers was a virginal birth.
“But I am a virgin!”
Her face bruised, Lilith never again suggested to her mother that her pregnancy was anything less than teenage sin. Reading everything she could on miraculous conception, Lilith began to believe that maybe God had something special planned for her, after all, Mary’s Son was the Savior of the world, maybe He had great plans for her child, whom she believed to be a girl. She’d always wanted a daughter.
Now, waiting for the doctor to reveal her baby to her, Lilith imagined a child less than divine. She’d pushed the memories of the rape…if that’s what it was, out of her mind, but now she imagined horns on her baby, bony protrusions that jutted from its temple and curled around like rams horns. She imagined eyes that were pure black, teeth that were sharp, designed for tearing at flesh and bone. She imagined that because she remembered the creature that had slithered on top of her that night. She’d snuck out to go to the All Hallows Eve Feast. On the way home…no, while she was there…did it even really happen? Black cloaks, faces hidden behind heavy hoods…the ground cracking open and the creature rising. His cock had been sharp, covered with scales and thorns. She’d bled for days, telling her mother she’d started her monthly early. Then she’d forgotten. Until now.
Watching the nurses, she waited for an opening, so she could see her baby. She needed to know what was wrong. “Please,” she begged, “let me see him.” She knew it was a he from the hushed whispers, but that was all she could make out.
“Hush,” the nurse by her head said. She was putting some medicine into the I.V. and Lilith felt herself becoming drowsy.
“No, I want to see…”
An opening appeared and Lilith found herself staring at her baby. His head was turned to the side and he was looking at her. At first she thought it was the effect of the drug, but he had three eyes…only two of them were empty, covered over by a thick membrane of skin, as though they hadn’t completely formed. The third one, a bright blue, was in the middle of his forehead. It was when the eye blinked at her that she screamed and then the room went black.
Violet had made her bring the thing home. Lilith had fought against it, telling her mother that she wouldn’t raise a demon. Violet, appalled by the looks of the child, shook off her first instincts to destroy the child and had asked God to forgive her weakness. It wasn’t up to her to question His creation and neither was it Lilith’s.
“You will take your child home and you will care for him.”
And that was the end of the discussion. Lilith sat alone in her room, rocking the beast…she couldn’t think of him as anything else and had even refused to name him. Her mother had taken it upon herself, filling in the birth certificate for her and ordering Lilith to sign it. Officially he was Job, because he would endure hardships.
Job had latched onto her breast and suckled, content. Lilith felt a sharp pain. The Beast had been born with sharp, jagged teeth and had pierced her skin so he could drink her milk, mixed with her blood. Resigned to her fate, Lilith lifted her hand and caressed the back of his head. In her other hand, she held a gun. Placing it against Job’s head, she pulled the trigger. Blood splattered on her face as pain tore through her chest. Lifting the gun to her head, she asked for forgiveness, then pulled the trigger.
The ambulance pulled away an hour later. Inside, the paramedics worked on the small body. None of them could understand how the baby had survived. The graze on his temple indicated his mother had intended to kill him too, but for some reason had lifted the gun from his head right before she pulled the trigger.