"Here, wanna hold him?"
There was no strength in her anymore. Her hands were lying broken and spent on her belly, as if the last push broke every bone in her body. Her head was hurting and the black spots were back and everything … everything smelled of rusty nails and piss and the sewers. She knew that smell very well, but she was too spent to feel embarrassed about it. All that she could think about was her baby boy, who looked so small in Sam's hands. Wiggling and crying but still so beautiful.
"'m gonna help you, all right? Here we go."
Her baby was all blood and gunk, wrinkles and gray skin that was slowly turning pink. It had a small patch of hair, ten fingers and ten toes and it was absolutely the most beautiful thing she had ever seen.
She couldn't hold it, couldn't find the strength to lift up her hands, and she was grateful to Sam for keeping one of his hands on the baby's side, helping to hold her boy on her chest and putting her hands on its belly. The squirming body was cold to the touch but she knew her body heat would take care of that.
"Do you have a name?"
He was so beautiful, even covered in blood and crap, he was beautiful. His eyes were big and green, just like Looky's had been and …
Even if names were relics of old times, she wanted – despite everything – her baby to have some of that. Old times.
"It's a beautiful name."
She smiled when Jensen gripped her finger with his tiny, wrinkly fingers: "Hey, baby."
She wished he could talk and curse her out right then and there, for getting him into this fucked up world.
"'m so sorry, baby. I'm so sorry…" she whispered, leaned her head to the wall and gripped her baby's tiny hand into hers, "'m so sorry."
Then she gasped, because there was still something …
"Ow, Sam … Sam … hurts, Saaaaaam!"
"It's okay, it's all right, it's just the afterbirth. It's okay, just push, okay."
"Jamie, come on…"
Closing her eyes, she tried to pull her baby closer to her chest, her breasts hurting, wanting to do their job, and breathed out when a squelching sound penetrated her ears.
"'s all good now, Jamie. You did so good, sweetheart."
No one had ever told her – least of all that quack of a doctor – just how gross all of this would be. Just how painful it would be. If she had known, she'd never ever let Looky get near her.
But it was all over now. She had done it and her baby boy was in her arms, his tiny hand in her bigger one. She had done it, with the help of one of them, one of the Icies and fucking hell … never in her most crazy dreams had she ever imagined that this would be how she'd have her baby. Never. Ever.
And then it hit her. Just like that, out of the blue, as if someone flipped a switch in her head …
"'m gonna die, aren't I?"
The words felt like a dirty little secret on her tongue, so she whispered them and looked at the man kneeling between her still spread legs.
It didn't feel awkward anymore, she didn't feel mortified anymore. Let him see, it didn't matter anymore. There was no room for shame in death.
Sam's voice was a slow whisper, a drawled out apology for something that wasn't his fault. There were tears glistening in the man's eyes, she could see them in the soft glow of the setting sun.
Tears. The man … was crying. One of the Ice People – crying. She wanted to touch his tears. Wanted to feel if they were cold, if they felt like glass, if they were even wet.
"'m so sorry, Jamie. I can't … I can't stop the bleeding. I'm so sorry, sweetheart."
The sun would drag her down with it and maybe, maybe take her to Looky and she would be able to tell him just how perfect their son was.
Their son that was looking up at her, with big wide open eyes as if he understood everything that had been said. As if he understood that his mommy would die soon.
She could feel herself fading so she clutched her boy tighter to her chest and cried down at his scrunched up face.
She looked up from her greatest – and only – good thing she had ever done when she heard Sam move closer to her. He was slowly sliding down the wall on her right side, making her push herself deeper into the corner. He was too close, he … he was going to kill her now. She knew it – they weren't to be trusted. They were killers and he was going to kill her now, before her own body would.
"Hey, Jensen. Hey little fella … how are you?"
That … was not what she expected. She didn't expect Sam to start playing with Jensen's tiny arms or tickling his nose or rubbing the little patch of hair on Jensen's head. What she expected was, well, Sam trying to tug Jensen out of her arms and run.
"He's got strong lungs. He's gonna be really strong when he'll grow up."
"Do you … know that or…"
"I … I don't … he just looks like he'll be really strong. He has a strong mom."
That … was not what she expected either. This man was … nothing what the stories told of the Icies. Nothing. At. All.
"T-t-thank you, I, uh, guess."
The man laughed. Not just smiled, but laughed as if she just said the funniest joke.
Such a strange man, he was.
She inched closer to him; didn't know why, maybe it was that weird magnetism all these Icies had, this serenity and calmness they were surrounded with - like some people smelled of perfume or deodorant back in the day, the Ice People reeked of calm. Of peace.
"'s okay, Jamie."
More tears joined the mixture of sweat, tears, spit and snot that was already running down her cheeks and chin and she let herself fall onto Sam, her head hitting his chest. Jensen's head fell into the man's lap and he cupped it with one of his hands. Protecting her baby from harm.
She wanted Sam to kill her. She … she wanted that. She wanted Sam to put her out of her misery, pain and terror.
Fast. She thought that Sam would do it fast and painless. He seemed like a fast and painless kinda man and not at all like her body, which was killing her slowly. She … she knew she was bleeding out. Could feel her legs being soaked with blood, could feel it run under her butt and down to her feet. She would die in a puddle of her own blood.
"Tell me … w-why. P-please before I … just, just tell me w-why you screwed up this world. P-please…" she sobbed into Sam's shirt, listening to the man's heart beat. They apparently had a heart, even if it was beating really, really slow - but what was having a heart good for, if you didn't use it. Having a heart, didn't stop the Icies from destroying the world.
Sam sighed and his breath tickled the top of her head: "Some of us … they lost their way, Jamie. Fear," his hand stroking her greasy and wet hair made all her pain just melt away, "made them loose their way. I'm so sorry. I'm so, so sorry Jamie."
She understood how it was, when fear took over and messed up people's minds. Fear, greed, lust, envy, fearfearfear … the new world changed all of them. Humans and Ice People alike.
"I don't wanna die." she whispered and shook her head, wiping her tears into Sam's shirt. She didn't want to die. The world, as fucked up as it was, had Sam in it now, who was nothing like what she was made to believe the Ice People were, who was a mystery she needed to crack.
And it had Jensen. It had her sweet, beautiful baby boy now and she didn't want to let him go. Didn't want to lose the feeling of the warm, squirming body in her hands.
She looked down at her baby, who had gotten quiet under the gentle, circular motions Sam's fingers were making on Jensen's forehead.
She wailed and hid her face into Sam's shirt again. She couldn't look into Jensen's big, green eyes and see all the moments that she'd miss: she wanted to see Jensen grow up, make his first steps, see him smile, she wanted to see him become a man, she wanted to hear him say 'mommy'.
"I know, but it's all right. It is …"
"He … he'll be okay. Trust me. He'll be just fine."
"Tak-ke c-care of him … p-please, c-can you," she breathed and tried to form words through her closing throat, through her fuzzy brain, "… can you w-wrap him in my t-shirt? P-please. Once I … please, S-sssam."
"I will, Jamie, I promise. It's okay, shhh, shhh sweetie, it's all right."
She was fading, black spots dancing in the orange light, the sun getting lower and lower behind the dirty windows, her body slipping, shutting down, the smell of rust in the air making her nauseated, but she couldn't do anything but let her arms fall down to her sides, leaving Jensen lying half on her chest and half in Sam's lap. At least he wasn't all alone as she had feared he would be when she crawled into this dump. As she had feared for weeks before this day.
He wasn't alone. She wasn't alone.
The last thing she felt – beside the comforting weight of her baby boy – was Sam's cool palm on her forehead and his voice whispering: "Just go to sleep, Jamie. Everything is all right here. Jensen is all right."
She didn't hear the crack her neck made when Sam broke it, twisted it until it snapped. What she did hear was her baby boy making spit bubbles with his lips.
He kissed the top of Jamie's head, her hair slick with sweat: "I'm so sorry sweetheart, so sorry," and pressed her dead weight closer to him, shielding her face from the eyes of her child. Even if Jensen was only a couple of minutes old, there was no need for him to see his mom's dead eyes.
"So sorry, Jamie…" he stroked her hair and hid her loose head closer to his chest … he was sorry, he was so, so sorry, this was never supposed to have happened. All of this, any of this. This planet, all its people … he was so sorry, but being sorry wouldn't change anything.
From her dead arms, Jensen stared up at him with big, watery green eyes and a small, wrinkly finger stuck between pink, spit covered lips.
"Hey buddy…" he smiled and wondered what now.
Jared held the baby, snuggly wrapped into his mom's shirt: "You're gonna be just fine Jensen."
He looked at Jamie; he covered her with a blanket he had found in one of the offices in this place and already called for one of his brothers to come take care of the body. She would get a proper burial, just like she deserved.
"Your mommy was so brave, Jensen. You're gonna grow up brave too, huh? Strong too, right? You're gonna be just fine. Don't cry, come on, shhh, shhh, don't cry."
He bounced Jensen a little in his arms and cooed, making the boy stop crying. The baby looked up at him with huge, green watery eyes, his tiny arms twisting away from his mom's shirt that was wrapped around his small body and reaching up to Jared's face, hitting his chin.
"Your eyes ... green like ice ..."