The Isle: Chapter Nineteen
All writing is done by me.
You can find the previous chapters here.
The next three days consisted mostly of sleeping and eating. Sometimes I would sit in the bath for hours, and sometimes not alone. Hugh hardly left my side. Apparently after my ‘ultrasound’, I was taken away. The others protested, and it started to get violent. After a guard threw Hugh to the floor and Tyler took a hit to the face, Sam calmed things down. While I was being carried out the door Sam had told them I would be back before too long. But they didn’t see me for 4 days. I must have been drugged the whole time because I remember nothing. I refrained from telling them anything for a few hours after I got back, as I was sure they would be watching too closely. But by 8 in the evening we set up a game of pool, subtly covered the ‘hidden’ camera and crammed into the games closet. I needed some help getting in and I was still in a bit of pain, but I put up with it. I told them everything that Finnigus had said about my child; about how I was the first woman to successfully carry a baby like this.
“Well, I suppose that’s good.” Stephen had said. “It means they will keep you alive.”
“Yeah I guess so.” I said. I’d imagined a new life of being used as some kind of lab rat. Used for breeding, being forced to give birth to these perfect human beings. And what would happen to my son? Would he be dragged off, tested on, grown to be used as some kind of soldier? Maybe they even plan on selling these children. At that point I started to cry. I didn’t want to come across as vulnerable and weak but I couldn’t hide it any more I’d not felt so helpless, so controlled, so imprisoned, until that moment. The others comforted me but it seemed like the meeting was over.
Tyler and I are in the kitchen now. We’re making chicken Caesar salad for lunch. We got delivered another load of food today, which is always nice, not that we ever starve.
“I love Caesar salad.” I say, tasting the dressing.
“Yeah…?” Tyler says.
“I used to have it all the time. I’d always order it if mum and dad took me out for dinner.”
“Really? I always ordered something in the form of steak.”
I laugh, “Of course… Where are the others?”
“Playing pool I think. They’re probably practicing so they can beat us next time.” He flashes a smile at me.
“Probably,” I smile back. After I finish tossing the salad and go upstairs to find them while Tyler finishes grilling the chicken.
“Oh nuh-uh, she was so mean.” I hear Hugh say. I stop on the stairs and listen.
“Really? I thought she was pretty hot.” Noah says.
“Who’s this?” I hear Stephen ask.
“Cara Thomason. She was in our class.” Hugh replies. “I think she hated me for some reason, she tried to pour paint on me in art once and another time she told the teacher I tripped her when I didn’t. Oh and when I tried to have a nice conversation with her she called me a bastard and walked off with her girlfriends.”
“Yeah she was kind of a bitch. Still hot though.”
“Hugh, how could someone ever hate you?” I say, walking around the corner.
He smiles so sweetly and says “I dunno, I mean I’m pretty lovable.” He pulls me into his arms.
“It’s your turn, bastard.” Tyler says before getting poked with Hugh’s pool cue.
“Maybe she liked you.” I say.
“We were 14, not 4.” He says, taking his shot. He sinks two before asking, “Is lunch ready?”
“Oh, yup.” I say.
We decide to eat lunch outside as the weather is so nice. We sit on a big blanket and talk about life before the invasion. As Stephen and I went to a different school to Tyler, Noah and Hugh, we had a lot to talk about. We didn’t all know each other until we’d met in a forest on that mountain, a while after the invasion. The food was amazing, and so was the company. I was looking quite pregnant now, so sitting on the ground was a bit different. But the pain from whatever Sam did to me was going away.
After lunch, Hugh and I decided to take a bath together. I undressed and got in while Hugh opened up the big glass doors in front of the floor-level bath, so the mossy corner of the garden was right in front of us. I’m settled in between his knees, looking into the garden and resting against his chest. Hugh rubs my belly. I pressed a button beside the bath and coconut scented bubbles rose up around us, turning the water a soft, milky white.
“Hmm, this is different.” He says, cupping the silky water in his hands and then letting it fall through his long fingers.
“I love this bath.” I say softly.
Hugh’s hand reaches for my belly again and after a moment I feel a strange pain inside my abdomen. I kind of squeal and Hugh gasps. I feel it again, but stronger. I yell out in shock.
“Did you feel that?” I ask.
“Did the baby just kick? Yeah, I felt it.” He says.
“He must have…” I say, rubbing the spot where he had kicked.
We hear footsteps outside the door and Hugh turns towards the sound. At that moment Stephen rushes in, obviously forgetting we were naked.
I quickly sink into the milky water before Tyler follows Stephen in but it’s too late, Stephen saw my bare chest already. I lower myself more so only my neck and shoulders are exposed, and Noah walks in too.
An odd look crosses Stephen’s face, a combination of greed and disgust and excitement. He’s looking at my neck and the top of my chest. His eyes dart down to where my body is hidden in the white water, and then he looks into my eyes. He quickly looks away. I sink a little lower into the water and cover my chest with my arm anyway.
“S-sorry, forgot you guys would be naked. We heard you yell out, and thought something was wrong.” He stammers.
“It’s ok, not like you can see us in this water anyway,” Hugh says, running the water through his fingers again.
“I think the baby just kicked, really hard. It took us by surprise…” I say, trying to sound normal. I’m blushing.
“Already?” Tyler asks
“Apparently…” I say. “Ah!” I cry as he kicks out again.
“Maybe it’s the hot water.” Hugh says.
After a moment the others leave us alone again. I sit in between Hugh’s knees once more, and together we hold my stomach. I don’t think Hugh noticed that Stephen saw my breasts, and I don’t think he saw the look on Stephens face either. I don’t want to say anything just yet. We sit quietly as we watch the water turn clear again as it’s filtered out.
About an hour later I’m sitting in the garden, the afternoon sun reflects off the pond and throws light around the trees. I start thinking about our future. We can’t stay here, that’s for sure. The best time to leave would be before I give birth, that way we can be sure he won’t be taken away. I never want him out of my sight, I can’t trust this place. But the birth will be risky, especially seeing as we don’t know where we’ll go yet. We know civilisation is close, but we need to be somewhere safe before I go into labour. And we can’t guarantee that safety. We can wait until after he’s born, make sure he’s ok, and then leave. But we would have to make sure, somehow, that he’s not taken from us before we can escape. What we would need is a bargain with the facility, with Sam and Finnigus Moss. But what do we have to bargain with?
Soft footsteps interrupt my thoughts and I turn to see Stephen walking across the grass towards me. I feel guarded suddenly, remembering the way he looked at me earlier. But I remind myself it was probably a misunderstanding and I force a smile onto my face.
“Hey,” He mumbled. “Can I talk to you?”
“Hey, yeah… What’s up?” I say, standing up with some difficulty.
“Sorry about the look I gave you earlier, in the bathroom. It was nothing, I was just a bit surprised, that’s all. We weren’t thinking when we rushed in and I forgot you guys were naked. I don’t want you to get the wrong idea, you know, you just don’t expect to see your childhood friend naked.” He laughs nervously.
“You didn’t see me naked, not quite. It’s fine, Stephen, let’s just forget about it.”
“And I still pictured you more, I dunno’ more childlike. I forget sometimes that you’re growing up.”
I don’t know how he could’ve forgotten, I’m heavily pregnant and I’ve not looked childish, in the chest area or otherwise, for years. He’s avoiding looking me in the eye, and he seems to be having trouble not looking at my breasts.
“As I said, let’s just forget about it, ok?” I try to smile again, and he meets my eyes before nodding.
“Sorry.” He says again and then walks off awkwardly.
I walk over to the pond and kick some stones into the water. I hear the door open and close behind me and I look back to see Hugh. He joins me by the pond and wraps an arm around my waist.
“Hey baby,” He kisses the top of my head. “What did Stephen say? He came back in and stormed upstairs. Is he upset?”
“No, I don’t know. Maybe. He saw me, when they came into the bathroom earlier. He saw me topless I mean. I covered myself but not fast enough. He came to apologise. I said it was fine and we should just forget about it.”
“Oh. I don’t understand why he’d be so upset though. I mean it’s not that bad, is it?”
I breathe deeply, looking out over the water. “Don’t be mad, but after he saw me, he was looking at me with this really creepy expression. It just made me really uncomfortable.”
His body tenses. “What?”
“It was just, I don’t know, I’m probably reading into it wrong. It was probably nothing. He said it was because it was weird to see me grown up, not the childlike girl he remembers. That’s probably all it was.”
He doesn’t relax but he sighs quietly. “Ok. Well if you ever feel uncomfortable with him like that again, let me know right away. Do you want me to say something to him?”
“No, no it’s alright.” I put my arm around his waist too, looking up at him. He kisses me again, on the lips this time.
“I’m here, ok?”
I’ve always quietly thought about how the others are dealing with being locked away like this. Being the only girl around, aside from when Cassie was with us, I feel outnumbered. Hugh is fine, he’s got me. But Tyler, Noah and Stephen don’t have a girl to be affectionate with, and I wonder if they ever feel deprived. Perhaps the look Stephen gave me earlier really wasn’t that innocent, perhaps he’s realising he needs something he can’t get from anyone in here but me.
An uneasy shiver rolls through me, and I feel ill.