When they first came to The Farm, some of the girls cried. Others waited, stoically, having faced horrors that only they knew… what came next couldn’t be any worse than what they had already endured. Others prayed, thinking their God would rescue them. Jeremiah found them all… boring. He followed Rebekah into the room and waited while she lined them all against the wall and felt their abdomens. They were all swollen, distended with the life that grew inside. Some were nearly ready to harvest.
“Please,” one girl pleaded, “let me go. I won’t tell anyone what’s going on here.” She was the newest and the only one he hadn’t broken yet. Jeremiah stepped forward and looked her in the eyes. She stared back, unblinking and unafraid. That would change.
“What’s going on here, is the Lord’s work. You wouldn’t want to disappoint God, would you?” He smirked, seeing the uncertainty on her face. He had found her at a church retreat. She’d been easy.
“God has a calling for each of us. You are to be the mother of His children.”
“Like Mary?” Her eyes had lit up and he knew he had her. It was when he took her down by the lake, where her screams couldn’t be heard, that she’d doubted him.
“Get off me… it’s not supposed to happen this way. Mary was a virgin!”
“Mary was a whore who didn’t know who the father of her child was.”
When he was finished, he forced her into the water to clean herself, not just of the blood, but her sin as well.
She wanted to go back to the camp, but he wouldn’t let her. “You’re God’s whore now.” He forced her into his car and brought her to The Farm.
“I don’t believe you are a prophet.” She spoke so softly, Jeremiah wasn’t sure if he’d heard her correctly. He searched his memory, trying to recall her name. Rachel… no, Raquel. “What did you say?”
She spoke up this time, louder. Some of the other girls jumped at the sound of her voice, strong and certain. “I said, I don’t believe you are a prophet. You’re just a common thug.”
He slapped her. Raquel’s hand went to her cheek, but she never cried out. She just looked at him, like she was examining his soul and found him lacking. He hit her harder this time. She fell backwards into the wall and then slumped. The other girls looked at her, but none went to her aid. No one wanted to risk Jeremiah’s wrath.
He moved to kick her while she was down, but Rebekah pulled him back. “You don’t want to harm the child.”
“So she’s… “
“Pregnant,” Rebekah said.
Jeremiah bent next to her and felt her abdomen. Rebekah was right. Her belly was swelling with the life that grew inside.”
In the corner, another girl moaned. She sank onto her bed as a growing puddle spread across the floor. Rebekah rushed to her. “It is time.”
The baby took its time. The girl, Jessica was the name that came to his mind, but he wasn’t sure, there were so many of them and he didn’t care a whit for any of them, screamed for mercy. Drugs would not be used to ease her pain, it might harm the child. Rebekah reached into her, plunging her hands deep into the birth canal to help guide the child out. The girl fainted. The baby was breech. Rebekah tugged on the legs. Finally feet emerged, then the butt. She stopped pulling then, disappointment evident on her face.
“It’s a girl.”
She stood, moving to leave. Raquel stepped in her way. “You can’t just leave her like that. The baby’s not out yet.”
“There’s no need to finish harvesting.”
Jessica stirred then, opening her eyes. She tried to push the baby out, but the infant didn’t budge. The shoulders were stuck in the birth canal. Raquel knelt next to her and tried to help. She’d never delivered a baby before. Her father had a cow that gave birth during the spring and she’d watched as he’d tied a rope around the calf’s legs and pulled it into the opening. She tugged on the baby’s legs now. The shoulders popped out and Raquel cried out. The umbilical cord was wrapped tightly around the neck. Jessica screamed, pushing one last time. The head came out, followed by a mass of blood. The babies skin was mottled, a purplish blue color.
“I need scissors, something to cut the cord with.” She looked around. The other girls moved back. Raquel reached into a pocket and snipped the cord herself, then picked up the baby and tossed it into a corner. The baby was dead. Rebekah turned once again, heading for the stairs. Disgusted by the lack of compassion, Raquel grabbed her arm, begging her to do something to help the girl. “She’ll die without care,” she pleaded.
Rebekah turned and stared at Jessica and shrugged. “She was dead the moment she gave birth to a girl.”
“So that’s it… you’ll just let her die?” She looked towards Jeremiah. He had tears in his eyes and for a moment she thought maybe he had a heart. Instead he pulled a knife from his pocket and plunged it into Jessica, ripping upwards so her entrails spilled out. The other girls cried and hid their eyes. None looked surprised. They’d seen it all before.
“Worthless whore,” he hissed. “This is the twelfth this year. God promised me a son. The next Messiah.” He glared at all the girls, blaming them for their failure to produce the Christ he was promised. They all looked away, except for Raquel. He met her gaze and his hope surged. She was the only one not afraid of him. The only one worthy of being the mother of the next Savior. Perhaps when the time came to harvest her seed he would get the offering he was promised.