GIVE HER THE LIVING CHILD

They had everything set up for an abortion. Hank, Moira, even Meggan, told me that it was for the best. The fetus had fifty-six chromosomes. Some of them were from Warren, some from me. Incompatible was a word they used often when they talked about the fetus, which was my baby.

I was very sick when they wheeled me into surgery. I had been on immunosuppressants too long, because my immune system attacked the baby, and Hank had finally said enough. No more immunosuppressants or we lose them both, I heard him say.

They directed the lights away from me, just in case, and Hank begun the countdown. Then Jean stormed into the room in fury, the red hair whipping about her. She bent over me, her body providing enough shadow for me to slip away, and I saw my own pain and determination mirrored in her green eyes. She had had a baby of her own, once. I think I felt her kiss on my burning cheek, I think I told her "thank you", but the shadows claimed me and I teleported blindly. To anyone who would save the baby.

==

Emma says I turned up in the middle of an executive meeting, very pregnant and wearing practically nothing. I donít remember that, but I do remember waking up in her private hospital wing, hours or days later. She was there, right beside me. She told me I had been right to come. She would help me. Taking my hand, she told me about her abortions. She had had three of them.

Fifty-six chromosomes were still a problem. The stem cells had not differentiated the way they should. There would be major birth defects. Eyes and ears had not developed at all and there was severe irregularities in the vascular tissue. I made Emma promise me to take care of my baby if anything happened to me. The day before the c-section we signed the papers that made her the legal guardian of my child.

It was a close call for both of us. They put the baby in a tank with an anti-gravity field right away, since the slightest touch would cause internal bleeding. Even so, she almost bled to death in the first hours. The strain from the surgery made my immune system collapse and I went into a coma. I woke up six weeks later. Emma was sitting on the bed among tubes and silvery machinery and she had brought the tank.

I saw my baby float inside it. She was blonde, like her father and had rudimentary wings and I had never seen anything more beautiful. Emma said that according to the gene charts, the babyís eyes would have been blue. I asked her what the ears would have been like and she said she didnít know. She could find out. I told her not to bother, but she didnít hear me. She was busy adjusting a dial on the tank and when she turned to me again, I saw this look on her face. As if it was her baby and not mine.

Emma must have understood what I felt, because she got up and began to leave. A part of me really wanted her to, but instead I called her back and told her that I would name the baby Sarah. Sarah Braddock Frost, to be specific. So Emma had better straighten up and act like the legal guardian she was.

==

I canít communicate with Sarah. Not without releasing Shadow King. Emma can, though. It took her years to regain her telepathy, but she did it. I donít know how, or why she seems to be the only one, but I know she did it because Jono and Monet needed her to. They were both in bad shape after the Psi-Wars; Jono could no longer speak and Monetís mind short-circuited. I feel terrible about that, but Jono does quite well with signing, and Monet is learning the alphabet again.

Warren has been here once, but he couldnít stand it for long. He said it was too painful for him to see her wing appendages and that itís no use being there until she knows we are. There are a few inconsistencies in that statement and I made the mistake to point them out. Since then we have spoken a few times over the phone, but neither of us mentioned another visit.

Emma leaves Sarahís EEG charts on my desk every day and I read them hungrily. They are very unusual. Some of them translate to music or light on the computer. Sarah also knows how to synch her brain activity with Emmaís. She can do so for hours at a time, mimicking every synapse jump, but in the end she always takes off into the higher range, where Emma canít go anymore.

I confess to jealousy. To some very immature thoughts. I read 1 Kings 3:25-27 every night to remind myself that what it is all about. Without Emma, Sarah would almost certainly have faded away. If no one had been there to listen to her songs, see the light she is, play mind-tag with her and love her, she would have curled up inside her head and died. I just wish I could have been the one.

I hold my breath every time thereís news of a medical break-through.The vascular tissue research is promising. Sarah may be less sensitive to touch in a few years, and then we can let her out of the field and teach her how to sign Helen Keller-style. If fiberoptics keep getting better, we might be able to interface through a computer.

While Iím waiting, I have to accept that Sarah and I live in worlds that do not intersect. In spite of all my love, all this love I donít know what to do with, I am blind to her world and she to mine.

==

1 Kings 3:25-27

And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to to the one, and half to the other.

Then spake the woman whose the living child was unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other said, Let it be neither mine or thine, but divide it.

Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof.

FIN