Short Fic Sundays: August 2018

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Hi! Welcome to the first edition of Short Fic Sundays! I'll be posting on the last Sunday of every month with a short piece of original fiction, based on a prompt I found somewhere on the internet. Feeling inspired? Post a link to your SFS post below, whether you use the same prompt or not!

Prompt: I was out for a supply run when I found you in labor. (Source: All of the Prompts)

Screams were never something she wanted to hear when she was alone. Animal, human, it didn’t matter. She couldn’t stand the way the sound clawed at her ears, the hair on the back of her neck standing at attention in response to the primal sound. Her heavy backpack weighed her down, but the supplies inside were too precious to lose. She couldn’t sacrifice hours of scavenging just because she heard something screaming.

Taking a deep breath, she checked the clip on her most precious belonging—her late husband’s Desert Eagle, which was the only thing standing between her and ending up like he did. It sounded like the noise had originated from a small storefront about three doors down from the shop she’d stopped in. The street out front was empty, for now. She had been pretty sure she’d been the only human in town until just a moment ago.

Pulling back the action to chamber a round, she stole out the front door, sneakers crunching on the shattered glass spread across the sidewalk like so many diamonds. Two steps, four, eight, twenty-three and she was peering around the edge of a dusty window, squinting against the midday glare to see what lay within. Nothing that she could make out, unfortunately.

A low groan echoed from further inside, and a sudden movement attracted her attention. A dirty boot dragged on the floor, just visible past the edge of the shop counter. There was someone in there. Fuck. Her heart was hammering against her ribs like a prisoner trying to break free, but what if? What if someone was in there who needed her help? What if she left them to die?

Steeling her resolve she swung the front door in slowly, moving quietly as possible. It was better to take them by surprise than let them know she was coming. As she rounded the corner, she forced herself not to fixate on that single boot, but to watch the rest of the pharmacy she was entering for anything else that could become a problem. She hadn’t survived in this world for so long by being a fool.

She didn’t know what she was expecting when she rounded the corner, but she could tell you that she wasn’t expecting to find a young woman—a girl, really—with a swollen belly and a growing wet patch discoloring the seat of her jeans. The two froze at the sight of each other, seconds of silence ticking by. Finally, a wave of pain washed over the younger woman, her face contorting. Her voice was soft, broken sounding, as she begged, “Please… help me.”

That was enough to spur the older woman into action. She dropped to her knees on the dusty linoleum, laying her pistol within easy reach as her other hand caught one of the girl’s for a reassuring squeeze.

“Everything is gonna be alright, y’hear?” She murmured, shrugging off her pack, “It’s gonna be alright. I gotcha.”

She worked her fingers into the cuff of the girl’s dirty sweatshirt, which bore the name of the local state school, and pressed down just next to the tendons of her wrist. As she felt the pulse there, she checked her watch, counting the scared beats of her heart. Elevated, but not unexpectedly so. Long-buried instincts took over, and she could almost hear the bustle of a hospital around them as she examined her new patient.

“How old are you, sweetie?” She asked, “And do you think you can walk? Maybe with a little help?”

“N-nineteen,” Her voice wavered in fear and pain. She gripped down tight on the nurse’s hand as she cried out, a contraction seizing her belly, “N-no! I don’t think…I can.”

“That’s alright, honey. You’re gonna be fine.” The older woman brushed her hand across the girl’s forehead, wiping away the sweat-plastered hairs. “We’ll get through this, okay?”

She dragged her bag over, ripping open the zipper single-handedly. She didn’t have nearly enough supplies to handle this type of emergency, but she’d make due. This wasn’t the first baby she’d delivered after it all went down. It just might be the least convenient.

“Y’got a name, sweetheart? Mine’s Melody,” She offered, setting water bottles in a neat row beside her patient. She shrugged off the over-large flannel shirt she wore, one of the last things she’d kept of her husband’s. “I’m gonna slide this under you, alright? Can you lift up?”

The girl strained to lift her hips enough for Melody to spread the soft fabric beneath her. As she settled back down, she panted, “Rose. I’m Rose.”

“Alright, Rose,” Melody flashed her a reassuring grin. “We’re gonna get through this together. Think you can do that?”

Rose’s head jerked affirmatively, body stiffening as another contraction took hold.

“Good, ‘cause we got a baby on the way right now. Let’s get to it, sugar.”

__________

Now it’s your turn! Leave me a link in the comments to your post, or just tell me what you thought. I’d love to hear about it.

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