Mark of Child: Part 1
Joan Eckart is late.
Sitting on the bathroom floor waiting for the test strip to pronounce her sentence, she wonders who it was that got her into this mess. The boys in her life have been a blur lately, moving on faster than she can change her Facebook status.
“Joan, are you ok in there?”
“Just a sec,” she looks closely at the test strip and shakes it vigorously, “Come on, minus baby, minus!”
“We’re going to be late, the show starts in ten.”
Joan ignores that comment. She does not feel like going to the show anymore as the faint symbol of the plus sign lights up. Right now she just wants to sit here and cry.
Gripping the strip tightly, she closes her eyes and begins to pray, willing the little spot on the paper to turn red. “Please God,” she utters under her breath, “I promise to be good from now on, just please!”
Joan opens her eyes again, and stares into the blue abyss of the plus sign shining into her face. Suddenly, everything in her life feels like they have fallen apart. Why me damn it!
In need of a second opinion, she pulls another pregnancy test kit out from under the sink, ripping out its contents and peeing on the strip again.
“I’m coming!” she chucks the box and wraps the urine-stained stick in a wad of paper, stuffing it into her pocket. Taking one hard look at her dilapidated self in the mirror, she opens the door and sees Penny waiting for her outside the bathroom with stern eyes and folded arms.
“Spill it, what you doing in there?”
“Leave me alone Penny,” Joan sighs as she brushes past her elder sister.
Penny grabs her by the arm, “Hey! We’re all worried about you.”
“Yea whatever,” Joan replies, shrugging off the hand and storming into her room. Right now, all she wants is be left alone with her thoughts.
Penny comes after her, “Joan, you know you can tell me anything, right?” she says, sensing that something is very wrong.
“I’m fine, just leave me alone.” Joan says, crashing on her bed and burying her face into the sheets.
“Suit yourself, want me to get you dinner?”
Joan shakes her head, laying there silently until Penny walks out of her room.
Alone for now, Joan turns to her computer immediately and begins searching the web for homemade remedies to get rid of pregnancies. The first page of results she gets all claim to be safe herbal methods, but none of the sites look trustworthy.
She puts a hand on her belly and imagines the life growing inside, contemplating her choice between being a child murderer and a single mother. Either way, when her father finds out, he is going to kill her.
Joan needs to talk to someone desperately. In her mind, she thought about Patricia from school. Joan has seen her outside hanging around older men. She’s probably an expert in this subject already, maybe she should confide in her.
Picking up her phone, she dials her number. She and Patricia have never been close actually, but they did work on a school project once. Maybe she’ll remember Joan.
“Hello?” came a husky voice across the line.
“Hey Pat, it’s me Joan, listen I…” Joan hesitates, realizing she hasn’t thought about what she wanted to say.
“I’m just wondering you know, since you’re so popular with guys and all… You probably know a lot. Do you know anybody who can like.. fix me up?” The last words were uttered very deliberately as Joan starts to think that maybe asking Patricia is not a good idea after all.
“Fix what up? You mean like you’re pregnant?”
“Errmm… Yes,” Joan squeaks into the phone.
Patricia bursts out laughing. “Oh my god, you got yourself knocked up, and you’re calling to me for advice? This is hilarious!”
“Oh, it’s not me, it’s a friend,” Joan lies, trying to cover it up by laughing it off as a joke.
“Save it sister, I don’t know what kind of girl you think I am, but I’m definitely not dumb enough to let a man stick me with a kid. Haven’t you heard of protection?”
“Well I just thought you might know someone…”
“You thought wrong sister, wait till the other girls in school hear about this,” she laughs before hanging up.
Joan drops her head to the desk, feeling her world spiraling out of control now. She sobs uncontrollably as the walls of her room start to close in on her, filling her with a sense of dread and loneliness. What she wouldn’t do to make the thing growing inside her disappear. Right now, she needs a magician, not a doctor.
Penny hears the crying from the outside and rushes into the room. “What is going on Joan,” she asks, distressed by the terrible state of the sister. She goes up to Joan and cradles her head in her bosom, soothing her with gentle words.
“Joan whatever it is, I promise you I’ll help. Just tell me what’s going on.”
Teary-eyed, Joan looks up at Penny, “Swear you won’t tell father?” she says in between sobs.
“I swear, now can you please tell me,” Penny answers, looking at her sister with reassuring eyes.
Joan takes a deep breath. “Penny…”
“Yes?” Joan says, coaxing her sister.
Penny stares at her younger sister. “Are you sure about this?” she asks, as calmly as she can given the circumstances.
Joan nods her head, and pulls the tissues out of her pocket. Taking out the crumpled strip, she shows it to her sister.
“Christ,” Penny exclaims, seeing the faded plus sign on the stick. “How Joan? When? Who?”
Joan shakes her head, not knowing the exact answer herself, “Help me Penny please,” she begs, holding on to her sister with both hands.
“What do you want me to do, find you a doctor?” Penny replies at a total loss.
“Help me get rid of it.”
Penny is shocked, “I… I don’t know how Joan, I’ve never done this before.” Her first thought is to tell father, and let the adults handle this the way they usually do.”
“You’re older, you have friends, ask them!” Joan pleads.
“I’ll think of something,” Penny mumbles, left without a choice. “But first things first, I want you to see a doctor.”
Joan shakes her head violently. “No way, this town’s too small for secrets like this. Besides, my friend knows and she’s going to tell everyone.”
“What sort of friend is that?”
“Believe me, if I had known, I wouldn’t have told her.”
“Well, once your teachers find out, it’s over anyway,” Penny shrugs, trying to get Joan to see the light.
Both girls sit around quietly for a moment, as they try to find a solution to the predicament. Joan’s thoughts are still on radical ideas like the herbs she read about online, while Penny focuses on possible alternative treatments.
“You know, there’s more to medicine than doctors and hospitals,” Penny finally says, thinking out loud.
“What do you mean?”
“I’m thinking maybe African witchdoctor, I don’t know for sure, but they practice medicine too, don’t they?” Penny shrugs. “Just a thought, if you don’t like the idea…”
Joan rolled her eyes, but the more she thinks about it, the more she likes how that idea sounds. At least it’s better than trusting advice from random strangers on the internet.
“I don’t know Penny, how do we start looking? I don’t think these guys have sites or anything on the internet.”
Penny stands up. She picks up Joan’s jacket from the floor and throws it at her sister’s face. “By getting your ass into the car.”
“Where are we going?”
Penny smiles, “Like you said, I have friends.”
END PART 1
Note, this is rewrite using the intro from the Flesh Eater story, but this is now a new work. Objective here is not to go all blood splattering from the get go and try to tell a tale that leads up to it first.
- Flesh Eaters: Part 1 (wilsonkhoo.wordpress.com)
- Flesh Eaters: Part 2 (wilsonkhoo.wordpress.com)
- Random Horror Intro (wilsonkhoo.wordpress.com)