by Frederick Foote ((Header art is by the phenomenally talented artist Eldzier Cortor.))
Part Three of three-part tragedy. A caustic creationary story that concludes with a birth that reveals all of our futures…
Catch up with Trade, Part One & Trade, Part Two.
In the fall of red and orange leaves, an acorn littered oak arove, she brings forth from herself our strange fruit. As brown as a nut, as loud as a banshee and as hungry as a starving nation. He looks human in all his aspects. She bites through the umbilical cord, raises the baby high above her head, examining our child with a suspect eye. She appears to be deciding the future of the squalling thing she holds so far from her. I stand ready to intervene, to throw myself on her as vain as that effort might be. She glares at me, bares her teeth. Slowly she lowers the child to her breast, feeds him. I let out a long sigh of relief.
“Kenyon, I will not destroy this creature. I will feed him and you for a while. I will give him to you as your charge to raise. I will save him, but I will not be able to save you from him.”
I don’t believe her at all. However, she has put my nerves on edge. I look at my son, and I feel the glow of pride and hope for a good life for him. She shifts the baby to her other breast and smiles at me. “You stand there stillborn, blind as a moonless, starless night, as dull as dirt, as dumb as a stone.”
I reach out to touch our son. She slaps my hand away. “You look at me with a hint of pity in your eyes. As if you were standing in a better circumstance than I. You are ignorant and foolish even to your end.”
“It is not pity but concern…“
“Fool! I did not find you. We found each other for a mutual benefit. Do you not see that?”
I’m at a loss to her meaning. Of late, she has rattled on and on and is less coherent with each passing day. I despair for her grasp on reality.
She sighs with satisfaction as our son releases her nipple. She turns to me and with those bright eyes focused on me and speaks. “How can you not know?” Suddenly she holds my son out to me. As I touch him, he bestows a birthday gift of on me, revelations rapid as machinegun fire expand from his tiny moth. I am as old, if not older than she is. I am the last of my kind. I have been searching for her longer than she has been searching for me.
Now I see clearly in my son’s eyes as he reveals our futures; he will destroy me with glee. He will, by cunning or force, sire children with his half-sister and my Mary, the mother who raises him and the mother who gives birth to him. He’s the monster that will found a new race. In him, she and I shall live on for centuries to come. That is if I do not mix his red blood with the red of the leaves this dark night. This possibility is alive in my mind and soul as I rock my son, my hope and my despair in my arms in the midnight Grove.