Author : Joshua Reynolds

“I’m glad you’re here.” Tom looked up at her, a smile on his face. It didn’t reach his eyes. Jane sat heavily, her belly swollen, brushing a strand of hair out of her face as she returned his smile with one of her own. It was weak though. Six months pregnant took a lot out of a girl.

“Well I couldn’t really say no now could I?”

“You could. I’m glad you didn’t.” Tom looked up at the multi-hued windows of the church they sat in. “What do you think?” He gestured, one hand patting the back of the pew they were sitting on. “Nice hunh?”

“If you like churches then yes, I’d guess this is a nice place.” Jane looked around, frowning. “You know I’m not much for churches.”

“I know, but I figured it was appropriate.”

“Really.” It wasn’t a question. Jane was more an answer kind of girl. “You figured.”

“Yep. The first time we met it was here, right here in this pew.”

“I remember.”

“Hoped you would.” Tom grinned and reached out, pushing that same stray strand of hair back up out of her face. The smile slipped from his face after he saw her expression. “It wasn’t all bad.”

“Speak for yourself.” Jane gently but firmly pushed his hand away from her face. “What do you want Tom?”

“Just to see you. Both of you.” His fingers tapped her belly. “To see you one last time.”

“I wondered how long it would take you to leave town.” She batted his hand away. Harder this time. “Scared of your fatherly responsibilities? Don’t worry, I don’t want anything from you.”

“What you want doesn’t honestly matter Jane. Not at this point.” He looked at his watch. “I just wanted to say I’m sorry.”

“Sorry? Sorry for what? Getting me pregnant? Or abandoning me?”

“Either. Both. And for what comes next. We have to go home. I’m sor-rr-orry-” His voice rose to a squeal, piercing the stillness of the church. It wasn’t a human sound. It was an electronic noise that caused the stained-glass windows to rattle in their frames and her teeth to vibrate in her gums. Jane clutched her ears, trying to block out the noise. She could taste blood in her mouth where she’d bit her tongue. Tom’s body wavered in the sunlight streaming through the windows. It expanded and contracted, growing fainter and fuzzier as if Tom was a television set on the fritz. Jane watched as he reached towards her, his face sad. Why was he sad? What was going on?

Her stomach twisted and she couldn’t hold back a scream. Pain rippled outward from her womb, crawling up her spine and down her legs. Blood dripped from between her legs to plop onto the floor of the church.

We have to go home.

He hadn’t meant her. But then, he’d rarely thought about her at all.

Tom faded to static and Jane fell to her knees, weeping.

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