Wednesday’s Child By Russell Holbrook
I told her about the evil thing inside me, and she loved me anyway. And I told her that because of this evil I could never, ever father children. This she knew, and she married me still.
She said she believed me when I told her of my premonitions, and of the horrors that haunted me in my dreams. She said that –if these visions bore any truth- our love would pull us through whatever may come. I looked into her eyes, and I believed.
I’d had the vasectomy long before we met. I told her I had to be careful. She said she understood, and that as long as we were together she didn’t need anything or anyone else; not even children. She looked me right in my eyes and told me. And I knew she was lying.
I don’t know why I felt surprised when she came to me, radiant with joy, and told me the news- the wonderful, glorious news of the new life growing inside her; a life that our love had created.
Tears filled my eyes and spilled down my cheeks. I couldn’t speak. A cold terror stabbed my soul. It wasn’t possible! It wasn’t! But… it was. The vasectomy procedure guaranteed a 99.9% rate of prevention. It still left a small chance, and a chance was all that was needed. The evil thing inside me wanted out into this world and, despite my precautions, it had found a way.
I begged her to get rid of it. I pleaded. Bruised and appalled, she declared she would do no such thing. She held firm. I raged, telling her it had already begun warping her mind, taking control, bending her to its will. In a fury I stormed out into the dark streets where I wandered for hours until, exhausted and hopeless, I returned to our home.
She was waiting for me in the den. I told her how I loved her and pledged to love our child as well, no matter what manner of evil it might hold. She smiled and gave me a kiss that I wished would never end.
Six Years Later
Our son brought a light into our home and filled our life with an unexpected bliss that swept away all my fears of the supposed family curse –those dreadful terrors that my father had instilled in me since I was a boy, warning me that the curse strikes every sixth generation, which would, therefore, be my offspring, which meant I could never reproduce, or else face the horror of an unimaginable fate. But, with a single look at our baby’s angelic face, all cares and woes were wiped out in an instant. It was an unshakable fact: I loved our dear boy, maybe more than I’d ever loved anything or anyone in my entire life. I felt a zeal to protect him and I knew that I would do anything for him. Anything. Still, my love and devotion notwithstanding, I found the first incident to be quite a shock.
Uriel and I had taken a bus to the waterfront to go to the comic store. When we were exiting the bus, Uriel stopped and spoke softly with the bus driver, the words they exchanged being out of my range of hearing. The driver smiled, laughed, and told me I had a sweet boy. I thanked the kind, older man, and Uriel and I went on our way. The following morning, I read in our local paper that shortly after we had departed the bus, the driver had plowed through the open-air market, killing twenty-two and wounding at least twelve others. He had then driven off the pier and into the sea, drowning himself and all thirty-six passengers. Apparently, Uriel and I had been the last to get off the bus before the driver’s rampage took flight.
My breath caught in my throat. The curse was real. I stared at Uriel, who sat in front of the TV watching his favorite cartoon. As if he sensed my gaze, he turned to me and smiled.
“I love you, father,” he said.
I struggled to form my own smile, my lips faltering under the weight of this new, diabolical reality. I cleared my throat. “I love you too, son,” I replied. Uriel returned to his cartoon and a solitary tear slipped from my eye.