Mystery and Crime Fiction posted February 14, 2021 Chapters:  ...22 23 -24- 25... 

This work has reached the exceptional level
Anna's secret is revealed.

A chapter in the book Where Are All The Children

Earth-Shattering Discovery

by Mistydawn

Alejandro and I are lying side by side in the freshly made hospital bed, trying to recuperate from the night's horrific events. The doctor and his assistant are attending to our newborn in the adjoining room. 

Alejandro and I are almost asleep when the nurse peeks her head through the door.

"I have someone who wants to meet you." We glance over to find her wheeling the baby across the hardwood floor.

Alexander looks so tiny, so fragile in his bassinet. His delicate skin is almost iridescent, like a thin cover stretched over a bony frame. He has all the normal features; only they're all a fraction of a full-term baby's size. His dark eyebrows and eyelashes are sparse.

"Would you like to hold him?"

I realize that our son is no bigger than her hand when she scoops him up. Anxiety overwhelms me. How could I possibly care for someone this small? I must've had a horror-stricken expression on my face. The nurse smiles reassuringly and says.

"Relax, honey, you'll do fine."

I eye the frail infant again, gulp, and say, "I...I hope you're right."

The nurse lowers my gown to my shoulders and then explains. "Studies show skin to skin regulates his heart rate and his breathing. It also helps him adjust to his new surroundings."

"I... I'll do whatever you think is best," I say, still unsure about the situation.

Alex cries the moment his body touches my chest. Helplessness overwhelms me. Glancing at the nurse, I tearfully blurt out, "I... I don't' know what to do."

"Take a deep breath... Again... Much better. Now I want you to talk to Alex in a calm, relaxed voice."

I look at the fretting infant and then the nurse again.

"You can do this, Anna."

Taking a deep breath, I gaze over at the baby and shakily say, "Hi, little guy, I'm your mommy. The one you've been kicking for the past few months." Chuckling, I wipe my tears away. "Your daddy and I are happy to finally meet you."

Opening his big brown eyes, Alex gazes up at me.

The nurse smiles. "He recognizes your voice."

My hands shake as I strum my finger down his tiny face. "You're the spitting image of your daddy." He puckers his lip. I laugh. "That's a good thing, you'll see."

"Why don't we give you three some alone time." Nudging the nurse, the doctor steps out of the room.

The nurse is about to close the door when a baritone voice echoes through the cold, blizzard night. The worker's prayers have ceased.

Realizing who it is, I gasp. My body trembles. I glance over at Alejandro and say, "He's here, Alejandro, our handler is here."

The doctor rushes to my side. "We'll tell him you had an appendectomy to keep the baby safe."

Taking the baby from me, the nurse hurries him into the adjoining room.

Heavy footsteps stomp across the old wooden porch. The screen door flies open. Frigid night air blasts into the room.

I turn my head to find our handler blocking the entryway.

Our boss scans his surroundings. He stomps across the floor, waves his arm around, and asks, "What's the meaning of all of this?"

The doc suddenly recalls what happened to the last man who crossed him. He then remembers what happened to the others born within the compound walls. Their baby isn't going to face the same fate. Taking a big gulp of courage, the doctor crosses the floor. "I... I had to do an emergency operation. Otherwise, she would've died."

"This won't stop her from working, will it?"

"She'll need at least a week to...

Alex cries in the other room.

"A baby, she had a baby?" He steps to where he and the doc are toes to toe. Glaring at him, he snarls, "Why did you lie?"

"I...I didn't." The physician points to my stomach and says, "I had to do an emergency cesarean. Otherwise, I would've lost her and the boy."

"Why wasn't I told about the baby, about the birth?"

The doctor motions towards the blood. "There wasn't enough time."

"I expect you to notify me from here on out, exigent circumstances or not. Do I make myself clear?"

The doctor nods. "Yes, sir."

"I want health records on all my workers and regular updates on any change in condition."

The doctor nervously gulps and says, "I'll get the records to you right away."

"See to it that you do." The boss turns towards me. "I expect you to report to me bright and early Monday morning."

The doctor steps in between us."She can't go back to work so soon."

"I'm not running a home for wayward mothers."

"Of course not, sir, but..."

She'll either work for her keep or be traded for someone who will." Stepping around the doc, He leans down and asks, "You remember what your life was like before this, don't you, Anna?"

Memories of different Johns and their despicable acts race through my mind. Tears fill my eyes. I look up at him and nod. "Yes... Yes."

"You don't want to go back to them again, do you?"

The helplessness I felt when I was a child overwhelms me. I glance at Alejandro then at him and say, "I'll do whatever you say, just please don't send me back to those men."

A sinister smile crosses his face. "That's what I want to hear." He waves his hand around the room and says, I expect you to work twice as hard-to reimburse me for the supplies." Glaring at Alejandro, he continues, "And I expect double from you for creating this mess." He makes it to the door, pivots, and says, "I'll give you until daybreak to say goodbye to your son."

"No, don't take our baby away, please don't take him away. I'll do whatever you want. Please don't take him away," I sob.

"One more word out of you, and you'll be out of here too." Shoving the screen door open, he stomps across the porch.

The color drains from my face. I turn towards Alejandro and ask, "What are we going to do, Alejandro? What are we going to do?".

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