The Ballad of Mary & Jane | by Fernando E. E. Correa González

     Mary & Joe had wanted a baby for a long time, but to no avail. The day Mary got pregnant the heat was an all time high. It was a red Sun type of day and Joe had been such a savage that he left Mary with a ton of scars he had turned into an entire different beast from the usually passionate Joseph that he was. But Mary had no problem with this. They were finally pregnant and she just wanted to celebrate.

     People around town were happy for the couple. They knew the struggle they had gone through and they were happy they finally got their dream come true, especially for Mary who had been wanting to be a mother for the past few years but had been denied her wish, not only cause Joe had a problem ejaculating inside of her but also cause of their economic concerns.

     But now they were pregnant and Mary’s belly grew fast, so fast in fact it wasn’t human. Doctors took her in for testing. But everything seemed normal. She was as healthy as could be. No problem whatsoever. But things weren’t as normal as they seemed.

     The townsfolk suddenly became more protective of Mary and they wanted nothing to do with Joe, some had even attempted to kill him but to no avail. Joe was scared for his life and Mary was too. Everything around them was changing and the Sun’s heat wasn’t helping either.

     Every day would be hotter and hotter, and these days Mary’s baby would kick more than usual. June was approaching and Mary’s contractions were getting more painful by the second. It was clear that she was about to give birth and the town couldn’t be happier.

     Parties were made and Mary was even given all sorts of gifts. However, Joe was still given the cold shoulder, the attempts on his life were still frequent.

     On the day Mary gave birth, the townsfolk celebrated dancing to what seemed to be ancient rhythms and sang in unknown tongues while crows cawd out loud and red rain fell from the skies. At first, Joe took the dancing & singing to be normal as he had already experienced such rituals. But the crows and the rain, that’s what threw him off.

     When he first grasped his new born child in his arms he felt a bit unsettled, to say the least, and seeing what was going on outside of the hospital doors provoked his thought even more. “What was this child?” he questioned himself multiple times as he watched his wife admire their new child. She smiled at him, her wish had finally come through, she was a mom. He smiled back, comforting her. But he was troubled in his mind. Something was not right about this baby.

     He looked out a window to try and escape his thoughts and there he saw something weirder. The townsfolk were staring at the hospital straight in the direction of Joe & Mary’s room. Frightened, Joe closed the windows and headed back to the room.

     “We need to go” he told Mary.

     But she wouldn’t have it. They still weren’t authorized to leave. Joe tried to convince her. But there was no way of changing her mind. She had made her decision.

     Joe looked out the window once more. They were still there and now they had cockroaches, ants and worms crawling all over them. Red rain started to pour once more, their eyes turned red, crows started cawing again and, suddenly, one of the townsfolk raised her hand, pointed at Joe and let out a loud screech, a screech so loud all the windows in the hospital were destroyed.

     All the townsfolk started rushing towards the hospital. Joe quickly ran to Mary’s room and there she was with red eyes, covered in all sorts of bugs holding their child near her heart. Joe looked at his newborn closely, it was now covered in blood and it raised its small hand revealing a horrifying trifecta, the number 666.

     Joe couldn’t believe what he was seeing. All he could do was cry and scream at the terrifying truth. He fell on his knees weeping until the townsfolk surrounded him on all directions. He looked to his right, then his left. They were staring at him, red eyes in full force, bugs coming off their bodies and going towards him.

     He tried to resist, smacking and kicking them off. But ultimately, he gave up. He knew he couldn’t survive so he decided to be blind to the pain. He was devoured by all the roaches, ants, worms and unknown insects that crawled the bodies of the townsfolk and the hospital walls, having one lasting image of his beautiful Mary before she had been consumed by bugs, before she had their baby, and that was enough for him to die a peaceful yet horrific death.

     The next day, everything seemed normal. The townsfolk did what they would always do and Mary couldn’t remember anything from the previous day. Joe’s disappearance was credited to a runaway. “He was too scared to handle parenthood” they told her. Mary was saddened by this. But the townsfolk kept her warm, providing her constant love. Mary continued living her life. But she was always scared at some of the things she would see at night like the newly performed rituals by the townsfolk and the way Louis, her baby, would stare at them. It was as if he knew these rituals were dedicated to his existence.

 

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Fernando E. E. Correa González is the author behind over 20 self-published poetry books. He has been published by literary magazines & journals [Id]entidad, El Vicio del Tintero, Sábanas Magazine, Smaeralit and Tonguas. Other than writing, Correa is also a filmmaker, photographer and master’s student. He currently lives in his native Puerto Rico.

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