A tired eye greets the knuckles of a thin fist by closing its drooping eyelid. A mouth stretches and a jaw drops, a head falling back on the bones of a neck, hanging in sudden stillness as a yawn ripples through a body. The fist drops from the eye, brushing briefly against a smidge of drool clinging to cracking pale lips.
What time is it, the mind wonders. When do I have to leave?
The legs ache as the muscles spasm in the thighs to pull them into motion. A groan rumbles out of the mouth. A man digs his fingers into an itch on his scalp, scratching dandruff and grit out of his hair and wedging it under his nails. The eyes flick, quickly, yet unfocused, across the room to a small analog clock near a dirty window. The quiet moments of life passed with the soft ticking of the second hand as the man sat still and breathed in the morning's sweet grass scent.
The man goes to work like he always does. Diligently doing his job, getting paid a few dollars more than minimum, never once complaining. Though he does his job well, he never does well enough to be recongized or recommended for a promotion.
His back snarls at him, pinching his nerves with anger at his stubborness to remain at the desk and the computer. The lips part and the tongue cradles a sugar-coated pill to help relieve the pain in order to keep the man at work without major interruption.
Long fingers twitch and vanish partially in the sponginess of white bread as the man takes hold of his sandwich and raises it to his lips. His co-workers cast disapprovingly judgemental glances his way, curious enough to see what he's doing but not enough to ever actually speak to him.
The man raises his eyes but, upon seeing they are merely being rude and not wanting anything in particular, his gaze falls down to the bread crumbs on his desk, which he dabs away with his thumb.
He files his paperwork and goes to clock out for the day, punching out right when his work is finished instead of hanging around on the clock like a few other men. They lean against the wall near the time-clock, biding their time before they type in their numbers, laughing and discussing their vague and uninteresting plans for the weekend.
A car creaks and sags as the man steps into it, the door hesitating before allowing itself to be pulled shut. The rough seatbelt bites at his hand as he slides it down to the buckle, clicking it gently in place. The car starts with a gurgling purr, and, with a bit of help from the gas pedal, it takes the man home.
Long, white fingernails claw at the plastic cover, stubbornness not allowing the man to use a pair of scissors. He brings the case up and chews at the corner with his dog teeth, slime rolling out of the corner of his mouth. At last, he pulls away the plastic and crumples it to the floor. He taps it away with his toes so he won't be constantly stepping on it. He opens the case and a softness flutters along his face, swelling in his eyes and twitching into a symbol of happiness at the edge of his lips.
He takes out the CD and places it in the DVD slot, sitting down on a waiting loveseat. He presses a button on a grey remote and music begins to play: Saltillo, A Necessary End. His eyes close out the mourning sun, which has marred the skies in blood and bruises. He leans his head back and a sigh leaps from deep within, his heart beat slowing as calmness passes over him.
Sleep lulls him away before the second song can start.
A scream shakes him awake, his ears crying in their own despair as the noise continues on. Fear spits into his stomach and kicks his heart until it starts running. He jumps up from the couch, his wide eyes searching the darkness for the source of the sound.
Outside, his thoughts whisper desperately.
He snaps away the thin curtains and presses his nose into the cold glass, peering through his reflection and into the dark neighborhood.
Across the street, a woman lays right outside the yellow light of a lamp-post, writhing on her back, her mouth torn apart with the anguish of her suffering, lungs forcing out her pain.
His eyes flash up and down the street, but he sees no one else. His feet beat against the floor as he sprints to the door, bursting out into the front yard. The night is chilly and the breath snags in his throat, goosebumps flairing across his skin. He runs across the wet grass and leaps off the curb into the cracking street, panting heavily with adrenaline as the woman's screams turn to moans.
He falls to his knees beside her, placing a hand on her shoulder as she rocks side to side.
He says, "Ma'am?" and leans close to her.
"My," the woman whimpers weakly. "My baby..."
His hand withdrawls sharply and he looks at her body. Indeed, she is swollen undoubtably with child.
"I'll call 911." The man rises to leave, but her hand snatches onto his pants' leg.
"No... No hospitals," she pleaded. "Just... Help me inside."
He looks down at her for a moment, stunned, before holding out his hands. She reaches up and takes them and he helps her to her feet. He supports her with his arm, her leaning against his shoulder.
"Where do you live?" He asks softly, his mind trying to deceive him as his eyes saw the wide puddle of amniotic fluid she left behind on the sidewalk.
Her pale arm raises and her finger extends. His eyes follow the invisable line, and he leads her down the sidewalk.
Inside her house, he lays her down on the couch. As he looks for a towel, her voice floats over to him.
"Please don't kill me."
He turns his head slowly. She lays helpless, her body trembling and heaving with labour pains, her hair slick with sweat and her own fluids. The couch seems so small with her on it, yet, so does she.
He walks over and kneels in front of her, fixing his eyes on hers. "Are you thirsty?" He asks.
Her eyes rolls around and a small smile picks at her lips. "Lemonade, please," she mumbles shyly.
He stands and finds the kitchen, opening the silver fridge and shivering under the wave of cold air that slithers out. He takes a jug of lemonade and shakes it brieftly before pouring some into one of the glasses sitting on their mouths over a kitchen towel.
He brings it to her, helping her sit up and hold it to her lips.
"My boyfriend just left me," she says in a low voice after taking a drink. "He didn't want to have children. He didn't want to commit..." She coughs once, then pushes the hair from her slick forehead. "I begged him to stay until the baby was born. After all, he'd stayed this long... But he got in his car and left, just ten minutes ago. I tried to chase after him, but... Then my water broke."
The man looks around, uncertainty pushing its way into his thoughts. He stands up but she hastily grabs his shirt, flinging her glass to the carpet where the fibers greedily soak up the liquid. He looks down at her, feeling the carpet soften under his feet.
"Stay with me." Her grip tightens. "Please."
From deep within her eyes, an animalistic desperation rises to the surface, mirroring that of a wolf caught in a bear-trap, ready to gnaw away a part of herself just to be free.
He nods shortly, and her hand falls to the couch, relief washing out of her with a great exhaling of breath. "Thank you," she whispered.
He moves by and finds some towels and blankets. As he cleans up the floor, she begins to contract again, twisting her body and tucking her knees up and extending them back out. Her hand slaps down on his back, her fingers knotting into his shirt and pinching his skin. He winces but doesn't move, turning his head to gaze at her face, which is covered in sweat and twitching with wrinkles.
Soon her hand relaxes and she pants heavily for breath. "Take my clothes off," she insists suddenly. "The baby won't fit down my pants leg," she trys to joke.
He hesitates, but when she tries to unbutton her pants herself, he decides to help her. He carefully unzips her pants, feeling heat rise into his face. She arches her back so he can pull her pants off her legs, and he does, his hands shaking.
The pants are wet and blotched with blood. He sees this as he folds and places the pants in the floor. His fingers feel gritty and sticky and he wipes his hands off on his knees. He looks up to see the woman, her legs bare and thighs thick. Her once-white panties soaked with yellowish moisture, tainted wth blood.
She lets out a scream, kicking out with her legs. Her foot hits the man in the face, and he loses his balance and falls to his side. He straightens up and stares at her panties, eyes widening as her screams intensify, and blood begins to marr through her panties and spread onto the couch.
He swallows drlyly, standing up and pulling off her panties. Soaked with blood and slime, he drops them onto a towel in the floor. He places a towel under her bottom as she arches her back once more.
His eyes travel on their own accord to her privates. Permanently purple, black hair matted with blood clots and grease, stretched beyond recognition, oozing blood, her vagnina is a thing of horror. His stomach feels the way one's ears feel when one hears nails running down a chalk-board. Totally fucked.
She howls, curses flying from her demented mind, spitting out and clouding the air with negativity. Her hands twist and tear at her shirt, which begins to grow sticky and smell sweet as her breasts leak with her own milk. The man sees the baby's head. Her body heaves and the head slides out a little further. He reaches forward, biting his tongue, tasting the metal of his blood, and takes hold of the baby. The woman kicks out, then wraps her legs around the man's waist. He winces as she squeezes him, but he hold still and moves slowly, his hands dripping with filth as he guides the baby out of the womb.
It's a boy, he thinks numbly, wrapping the child in a blanket. The mother's cries turn to sobs, and another cry bursts forth; the cry of new life.
He sleeps in peaceful quiet until his alarm goes off. He wakes up in the floor in a pile of towels to find that it is not an alarm, but a baby crying. He sits up and looks around. Stains of the previous night blot the carpet in ugly brown patches. He pushes himself to his feet and sees his hands are crusted in blood. His eyes follow the sound and a new mother quiets an infant by raises him to her breast. She sits in a recliner near the loveseat, rocking gently with her toes buried in the carpet.
She wears a blue silken robe, the belt hanging down by her legs, opened at the chest to welcome her hungry child. Her hair is pulled back in a thin, black headband. She gazes down at the child attached to her with the utmost adoration. Her eyes catch movement, and she smiles up at the man as he stands silently, watching her.
"Thank you so much," she tells him, her voice hoarce, yet grateful.
"Are you thirsty?" He asks, averting his eyes from hers.
"Yes, please. Lemonade would be wonderful."
He goes to the kitchen and washes himself, soaping up his hands and arms and ducking his head into the sink to wash his face. He dries himself with a towel before pouring the woman a glass of lemonade. He brings it to her, placing it on the end-table beside the recliner, then begins gathering the soiled laundry around the room.
"I'm trying to think of a name for him," she said wistfully, rocking back and forth, smiling a droopy smile as if drunk. "What is your name?"
The man stands, all the towels and blankets bundled together in his arms. He glances at the woman before looking down. "Tiago Bianchi," he answers at last.
"Tiago..." the woman cooes. "That's a lovely name..."
The man finds the laundry room and puts the clothes in the washer, then comes back to the living room.
"I've named my baby Tiago," she tells him eagarly. "It's perfect for him. My sweet little boy..." She holds him over her shoulder, patting his back until he burps.
His mind feel fuzzy. His feet act for him, taking him to a closet and where his hands pull out a small wash rag. He brings it back to her, and gently dabs the milky drool from the baby's pink lips.
"I should go," he says quietly, leaving the rag on her shoulder and stepping back.
"Thank you for everything," she says sadly.
He finds the house phone and puts it on the end-table beside her. She grabs him by the wrist. They look into each other's eyes.
"You're welcome," he says submissively. She releases him, and he leaves the house.
He showers and gets ready for work, then drives there in silence, his mind in a fog, hearing only the whiring of the engine and the dull thumping of his heart.