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"A Song of Life and Death"

Tyler Wormald        2017-2018 Contest Winner

     It was a stormy night. Rain poured down in sheets and lightning flashed in the sky. A clap of thunder shook a sixth floor room where a woman lay unconscious on a bed, surrounded by men and women in long white coats and blue face masks. Another lightning strike flashed and another crash of thunder followed shortly thereafter, causing the monitors hooked up to the lady to flicker and shake before resuming their monotonous beeping. The people in coats frantically scurried around the woman, handing each other various metal tools and, with precision hands, operated on her. More lightning streaked across the sky and more thunder crashed against the building.

     “I need a scalpel; she’s killing herself. Quick!” said the man hovering over the girl’s stomach. He put his hand, donned with a blue glove, behind him as a female in a similar coat put a scalpel in the hand. The man corrected his glasses and wiped his sweat-glistened brow with his forearm before hunching over the girl’s abdomen, expertly maneuvering the scalpel. He pushed his glasses up with the back of his wrist and struggled with something inside the woman’s abdomen until the monotonous beeping became one long tone.

     “Roger--” a female across from him began.

     “Yes, I know, but I can’t shock her until we get the kid out! Otherwise, it’ll kill her as well!” said the man called Roger.

     “Finish cutting the cord. I’ll get her ready,” the woman said, delving into a plastic box labeled HIGH VOLTAGE.

     Less than a minute passed as Roger frantically sawed through the thick cord he had been working on, and the female held metal plates bristling with electrical energy.

     “I got her! Linda!” Roger said as he severed the cord, freeing a baby.

     “Clear!” Linda yelled. She placed the plates to the woman’s torso. The metallic taste of ozone filled the air as the woman looked at a monitor with a flat line. Roger held the bloody baby in his hands, gingerly grasping her wrist between his thumb and forefinger.

     “Clear!” she yelled again, placing the plates again to the woman. Ozone filled the air again, yet the monitor emitting the long tone didn’t change.

     “She’s alive!,” Roger exclaimed, holding up the baby.

     “Well, she’s not,” said Linda, nodding to the woman and preparing the plates. “Clear!” Linda yelled, repeating the process.

     Roger washed the baby in a pool of lukewarm water, and she began to show signs of movement. Behind him, Linda repeated the process of attempting to revive the mother four more times, to no avail. Defeated, Roger and Linda share a solemn look as he picked up the baby, wrapped her up in a towel, and they exited the room.

     The other people remaining unplugged the monitors, placed the mother’s corpse into a metal box, and left the room, leaving only the smell of blood and ozone. Thunder moaned in the distance, much farther away than before, as the storm carried on its way into the night.

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