Mystery and Crime Fiction posted January 31, 2021 Chapters:  ...20 21 -22- 23... 

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Anna and Alejandro faces their babies fate/

A chapter in the book Where Are All The Children

The Baby's Fate

by Mistydawn

Scooping me into his arms, Alejandro bolts into the cold, starless night. Thousands of thoughts race through my mind as we dart through the unsettling darkness towards our harrowing fate. 

I first remember mommy carrying me like this when I was a child. I then recall some of the sweet things she said to me. Telling me how much she loved me and how I was a blessing sent from above. I then picture myself being dragged away by the vile man, how my parents didn't lift a finger to help me. All the horrors I've faced floods my thoughts soon after.

The mental image changes to the day Alejandro and I met; how happy I've been ever since. With tears streaming down my cold, wet cheeks, I place my hand on my stomach, glance at the starry sky, and silently pray, pleases dear Lord, please save our son. Alejandro must have sensed my anguish because he stops and says:

"Everything is going to be alright, Anna, I promise. I can feel it in my soul."

I tearfully gaze into his eyes, hoping to find the strength, the courage I need to face the unknown, the way I have in the past.  "I wish I could be sure." 

 He kisses me, smiles, and says, "Have faith, mi amor." Hearing a loud commotion, he pivots towards the noise. Look."

I turn to see a crowd of workers around the hospital, each with a candle in hand.

"Oh, Alejandro, they do love me. They do," I cry.

He smiles. "Of course, they do, my love."

One lady steps up beside us, grabs my arm, and says, "We'll pray for you and the baby."

I squeeze her small, boney hand. "Thank you." I tearfully gaze across the growing crowd. "Thank you all."

Alejandro feels something warm seeping through the blanket. He looks down to find blood puddling by his feet. "I need to get you inside." We step through the door to find the doctor busy preparing for the task. His assistant is working steadily beside him.

The nurse rushes to my side. She takes me into an adjacent room, where she preps me for the delivery. Alejandro and the doc come in a few minutes later. They're both wearing a blue surgical gown and gloves.  Alejandro takes my hand in his, smiles, and says, "Everything will be just fine."

A grave feeling continues to hover me despite his comforting words. An apprehension I haven't been able to shake. Sniffling, I reply, "I love you, Alejandro, now and forever with all my heart."

He gazes into my eyes. "And I love you."

I gulp back my tears and continue, "You are the best thing that's ever happened to me, and I've enjoyed every second we've spent together."

He gently brushes the side of my face. "I've treasured every moment I've spent with you, and I look forward to spending the rest of my life with you."

"Alejandro, please, stop, let me finish."

A perplexed look crosses his face. "Let you finish what? What are you trying to say?"

"If something does happen, I want you and Alexander to move on, find happiness again."

"Don't talk like that, Anna. Please, we'll get through this. You'll see."

I take a breath of courage and say, "Just promise me you will."

Alejandro gulps back his tears. "No one can or will ever take your place in my heart."

 "Please, Alejandro, don't let the memory of us, what we've had together, hold you back."

"I don't want..."

I put my fingers against his masked lips. "Please, baby, please promise me you'll find someone who'll love and cherish you as much as me."

Alejandro chokes on his emotions. "Don't say that, Anna. Please, stop talking this way." 

The doc glances up, sniffles, and says, Congratulations, Alejandro and Anna, it's a boy." He carefully hands the baby to the nurse.

Placing the frail infant in an incubator, she gets to work. 

Alejandro jumps for joy. "We have a boy. We have a boy," He looks over and sees the tiny newborn completely still. Terrified, he rushes to the nurses' side. "What's wrong with him? Why isn't he crying or moving around?"

The baby wails.

The nurse smiles. "It just took him a little longer, is all. He weighs nearly two pounds and is nine inches long. What we'd expect for someone his age." She glances at the machines and then continues. His brain function and heart rate are normal, but he's going to need oxygen to help him breathe. Which isn't unusual for a preemie." She starts to wheel him away, turns, and says, "Don't worry, mom and dad, we won't be gone long."

Alejandro darts across the room. "Did you hear that, Anna? Alexander is going to be alright."

Finished with his work, the doctor walks over to the couple. A disheartened look crosses his face. He shakes his head and says. "He's fine for now, but he isn't out of the woods yet."

Alejandro's jaw drops. The color drains from his face. "What do you mean, doc?"

Pulling up a stool, the doctor sits down. "The next few weeks are going to be critical, with a lot of ups and downs. All we can do is take each day, each problem as it comes."

Alejandro gulps and asks, "What kind of problems are you talking about?"

"His lungs aren't fully developed, so he's going to need to be put on a ventilator. He'll need a feeding tube to help him eat."

"How long will he need these things?" 

"It'll depend on how well he does, Anna."

Alejandro squeezes my hand. "We'll do all we can for him."

"I know you will. Since moving him will be taxing on his body, you'll only be able to hold him for an hour, a few times a day. You can talk to him all you want. In fact, I strongly encourage it." He turns towards Anna and continues, "You will need to take it easy for a while, no heavy lifting, and I wouldn't advise going back to the field for a few weeks."

"That shouldn't be a problem since it's winter and all."

"If the boss does question your absence, tell him you had an emergency appendectomy, I'll tell him the same."

"How long will it be before we can see the baby?"

"The nurse will bring him out soon. I have to warn you he'll have a lot of tubes hooked to his body, all of which are vital for his care."

Alejandro glances down to find me crying worse than before. He lays his head beside me and says, "It'll all work out, Anna. Our boy will be just fine, you'll see."

"I hope you're..."

Anna's arms fall flaccid by her side, the monitors' wail. 

The color drains from Alejandro's face. He turns towards the doc and says, "Save her, doc, please save my love."


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