Mystery and Crime Fiction posted January 3, 2021 Chapters:  ...16 17 -18- 19... 

This work has reached the exceptional level
Anna makes a life-altering choice.

A chapter in the book Where Are All The Children

Heartbreaking Decision

by Mistydawn

August 1994

The weeks dragged by. I was in constant turmoil about the choice I was forced to make. I stopped going to our support group; stayed to myself. I only talked to people in passing with a quick hello or goodbye. Alejandro did all he could, but I kept pushing him away.

One balmy August day I'm heading towards the garden when Isabelle pulls me aside and says, "I know what's going on. Why you're acting the way you are."

Tears fill my eyes. Spinning around, I blurt out, "The doctor promised not to tell."

"He didn't say a word." She smiles, pats my stomach and says. I figured something was up when you fainted. Seeing you get sick in the field and your response just now confirmed my suspicions."

I recall what I've been through these past few weeks. How I desperately needed her advice. "Why didn't you say something sooner?"

"I figured you'd tell me when you're ready, but seeing how glum you're getting, I decided to speak up; let you know you're not alone."

"I don't know what to do." I sob, throwing myself into her arms. She's been more of a mom to me than my birth mother ever was.

She wraps her arms around me and pulls me in close. "There, there, child, it'll be alright."

"How can it possibly be alright to bring a baby into this?" I blubber.

"Baby, who's having a baby?" Cassie asks, running up beside us.

Isabella pulls her towards us and whispers, "Anna dear, but keep your voice down, she doesn't want everyone to know." She anxiously looks around. The other workers grumble as they step around.

"I don't know how I can go through with this," I repeat.

"I don't see that you have a choice." With no access to the world outside of the compound, their only source of medical interventions is the resident doctor whose practice comes second to his faith. "Besides, killing an innocent child is a moral sin and I'm sure you don't want fire and brimstone to be your final resting place."

"I'd be willing to burn in hell just so a child won't have to go through what I did."

Isabella gasps. She pushes me arm's length away and says, "Surely you don't mean that."

"I'd give up my life for this child," I cry.

Recomposing herself, Isabella asks, "How does Aljendro feel about this?"

I glance at him and glumly say, "I haven't told him yet."

"He has the right to know."

The boss steps up beside us. He's a colossus of a man. His demeanor and deep, gravelly voice could intimidate the largest of men. He glares at us and grumbles. "Chat on your own time, we have work to do."

Not wanting his wrath, we go our separate ways.

"You should tell him, Anna; the sooner the better," Isabella yells over her shoulder.

"I know, I know."

Cassie runs up beside me. "She's right, you should."

I glance over at Isabella roll my eyes and say, "If I don't I'm sure she will."

"How do you think he'll react?"

"He'll be happy for sure."

The young girl steps in front of me with a confused expression on her face, she asks, "So what's the problem?"

"He'll want me to keep the baby and I don't want to bring a child into this." I swing my arm around.

Cassie recalls some of the horrid things she's been forced to do and shivers. "I understand."

"I'm glad somebody does."

Cassie looks at the ground. With a solemn expression on her face, she reluctantly says, "If you're really not wanting to go through with it, I know someone who might be willing to help."

"That'd be great, Cassie."

She gazes across the field. "I really think you should talk to Alejandro first."

I look over to find him hard at work. "You talk to your guy I'll talk to Alejandro and we'll go from there."

I see Cassie in the field the following day. I go up to her and say, "Alejando agreed it'd be best if I don't go through with the pregnancy." I lied. I'd spoken to him about other things, but not about this. I glance over at him, he smiles and waves.

"The guy is willing to do it said you should meet him in the barn after dark." She suddenly recalls the horror her aunt went through. Tears fill her eyes. She gulps back her emotions and says, "I hope you won't regret this, the way Aunt Thelma did."

"Do you want another child to go through what we have?"

"Of course not, but..."

I look over at Alejando again. He smiles and then nods. "We don't either."

I kept thinking about what Isabelle said all day long. As much as I knew it was wrong, I decided it's what I had to do.

Isabella would glare at me like she knew. Sometimes she'd shake her head, other times she'd have tears in her eyes. This made my inner turmoil a thousand times worse. 

Later that evening, I open the barn door to find a man lining up devices alongside a long silver table. The same one they used to slaughter pigs. The realization hits me. I'm butchering my baby like they do the poor beasts. A sudden weakness comes over me. I grab the frame for support.

He looks up and says, close the door. Gulping, I do what I'm told.

The word, murderer echoes in my head as I walk towards him. I'm doing it for the sake of the baby, I think, trying to push the horrid word out of my mind.

"You need to be naked from the waist down."

Images of a baby flash through my mind. I then picture holding the infant in my arms. I could feel its tiny hands on my breast, its precious lips tugging my nipple. How the baby would gaze into my eyes with such love, compassion as it nursed. I  then pictured some of the fun times, the laughter we'd share. An image of a giggling infant suddenly comes to mind.

"I haven't got all day," the man grumbles. 

Sniffling, I wipe the tears away. Please forgive me. I silently beg. I start to unfasten my pants when the door flies open.

"No Anna, please don't do this." Aljendro cries running towards me. He falls to his knees and says, "I love you Anna, and our baby too." He places his hand on my stomach glances up and me and continues, "We'll figure out a way to keep him safe."

That night and every night after, I'd fall asleep to Aljendro talking to our son.

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