I threw my alarm clock against the wall when it went off at 6:30a.m.
This wasn’t new- I bought a new alarm clock from the dollar store weekly due to my habit of breaking them. (One day, I was going to point out that it was a dollar store, yet my alarm clocks cost $5.99, a.k.a., $6. But not today.)
I stretched in my queen-sized bed and forced myself to wake up by muttering, “Wake up, wake up,” under my breath. Yes, I talk to myself. A lot. I spread my legs, closed them, rolled from the edge of the bed to the side by the wall, and back. I slept in a queen sized bed alone. Sad, i know. It’s not that I hadn’t gotten over my ex, David. He had stayed with me half the week while keeping his apartment on the upper east side, “just in case”.
Well, “just in case” turned out to be when I sat him down on the futon couch in the living room to tell him I was pregnant.
“Who is the father?” he asked.
I wanted to scream, “You, you dumbass!”
Instead I told him I had to pee and, with my jeans and underwear around my ankles, I heard the front door quietly open and close.
David was gone when I emerged from the bathroom, as I knew he would be. A week went by. Then two. I had a sonogram appointment, so I tried calling him. His number had been changed to an unlisted number. His secretary at work said he wasn’t in, but she’d gladly take a message. I don’t know why I wanted him there, but I left the information anyway: Beth Israel, the one on Union Square, sonogram, October 8, 9:45am.
That was 3 days ago, and the appointment was today. I slowly got up, and placed my hand on my belly. The doctor said it was too soon to feel a bump, and I felt it was too soon to feel through the extra weight I carried around my middle, but I felt nothing. “Well, kid, today we find out if you’re a boy or a girl.”
A siren drowned out the end of my sentence, and it wasn’t the first I’d heard this morning. As I turned on the hot water in my shower, I was shocked to hear what sounded like gun shots. I ran to my bedroom window to witness two police officers on one side of their patrol car shooting at a woman on the other side of the car. She was in what i called a “haus frau” dress. The police had shot her in the knees, two shots, and she was still moving towards them, pulling herself with her arms. The dress was soaked in blood and the officers were telling her to stop and lie on the ground. I shoved open my window and yelled, “Spanish! She speaks Spanish! That’s Mrs. Garcia!”
As one of the officers looked up at my 2nd floor window, Mrs, Garcia gained a burst of energy and, going under the squad car, bit the officer looking up at me in the ankle.
“Awwww! What the–” , he yelled, stepping back, into traffic, and shooting her in the head. Her body twitched, and lay still, but the officer who had been bit fell backwards into the traffic on 14th Street. A car filled with five people and a lot of suitcases screeched to a stop, but ran over the leg Mrs. Garcia had bitten. I was horrified. His partner ran to his side, and checked his pulse.
“You bitch-” he screamed, not noticing as his partner sat up and bit into his neck.
The officer Mrs. Garcia had bit in the leg, who had then had his leg run over, was gnawing and chewing through his partner’s neck as if he hadn’t eaten in days.
I stepped back, away from the window, and repeated, “This isn’t happening, this isn’t happening, that did not happen.” I reached forward, closed and locked the window, and closed the blinds, all without looking out the window. Backing away slowly, still muttering my mantra, I took my shower.
An hour later, I was walking through Stuyvesant Town, trying to forget what I witnessed this morning. But it was like a movie that wouldn’t stop: why had the police shot Mrs. Garcia, anyway? And how much adrenaline must have been in her system to pull herself like that?
One of the great things about Stuy Town is each building had two entrances/exits. My window, and one exit, faced 14th Street, where I had planned to catch the M14 bus up to Union Square, but after the scene this morning (did that officer really bite his partner’s neck?), I decided to leave the other way, which led into Stuyvesant Town. If you knew your way around, you could exit multiple different ways. I was heading for 16th Street and 1st Avenue exit.
As I walked past one of the playgrounds, I saw a mother literally beating her toddler off of her. There was red liquid everywhere, and it seemed to come from both of them. The mother would smack the child to the ground, then try to run away. The toddler, acting like nothing had happened, let out a growl (a growl? Who knew toddlers growled?), and jumped onto his mother’s back.
I glanced at my watch, and saw I was running late.
Most likely that was Jell-O or fruit punch on the bench, and I needed to stay calm. I kept walking west, seeing a few more odd sights on my way.
Of course, the “End If The World” people were out in full force. A block from my appointment, I suggested to one that they should simply write, “Told You So.” He moved his sign from in front of his face, revealing completely white eyes, and black stuff dripping from his mouth.
He growled as a man in a suit came over and smacked him on the head, although the blow didn’t seem to phase him.
“Don’t get too close, pretty girl, one bite and you’ll be like them.” He used the stick again to move the creature back, and I heard the clinking of metal chains. The man in the suit noticed me looking at the chains and said, “We’ve got to keep them chained, or who knows what could happen?” He added a tight smile that didn’t reach his beady blue eyes.
“Uh, yeah, pretty scary. Good makeup and special effects, but i have an appointment,” I began to cross the street to get away from him, from them.
“This is Gods punishment for the non-believers. If you believe, if your faith is true, you’ve got nothing to fear,” the man in the suit yelled. “Just don’t get bit.”
As if the four chained up creatures understood him, there was a sudden pull at the chains. There was a horrible sound of metal bending. One of the chained man lost his hand, while another pulled so hard that the chain around his waist dug into him, spilling his guts on the sidewalk. All four men surrounded the man in the suit and all I could hear was the slurping and chomping.
My instincts screamed to run, but the baby had other ideas. I grabbed a pole and heaved and wretched the saltines and juice I’d had for breakfast. Morning sickness.
And then I ran.
I ran up the block, around the corner, and into Beth Israel. I used the stairs to get to the second floor. As I walked in i heard, “You’re late.”
I turned and, sure enough, it was David. I signed in and sat next to him. That was when I noticed his left hand.
“What happened to your hand” I asked, already knowing the answer.
“Your directions weren’t very good, so I wound up in the ER. it’s a fucking mad house down there! As I was leaving, this guy tries to tackle me, and he nearly bites my hand off!”
David adjusts the dirty looking paper towels to show me. There are black lines going from the bite across his hand leading up his arm.
“You’ve no idea how much this hurts. I feel like I’m burning up.”
I wanted to comfort him, even if I didn’t love him, and after what he’d done…
Then I heard, “Jill? Jillian Mahoney?”
“That’s me,” I said, as if reminding David who I was. Six months wasted. “Will you be ok here?”
He looked up at me, sweat covering his face, soaking his shirt. A day ago he wouldn’t have let himself be seen like this: slack-jawed, bloody (i think; it was almost black) napkin on the floor, sweat stains. “Yeah, yea, uh-huh, Jullll I be finnneee–” and then he began throwing up on himself, on the floor, black gook that I’d never seen before.
The nurse came up to me. “Jill, let’s have your boyfriend moved to the ER. We’ve been seeing this all day. And let’s get your into the room. A virus isn’t good for a ten-week old baby!” She was so cheery, I followed her and forgot about David. How he’d actually shown up.
A few minutes later, after lowering my pants, lifting my shirt, and dealing with the cold KY jelly used to see the fetus, the machine was moved slowly across my stomach, trying to get a good picture
“You’re having a boy, Ms. Mahoney, a healthy, and big, baby boy. Now, i just want to take a few more measurements, due to his size, nothing to worry about.”
“So, have you noticed anything, um, weird going on?” I asked.
“Pregnancy wreaks havoc with.our hormones, Jill- may I call you Jill?- it’s nothing to worry about.” Her smile could have lit up all of NYC.
“I’ve been, um, i think I’ve been, well, hallucinating,” I stammered. “I think I’ve seen people bite other people, and, well, eat other people.”
Sunny, as I’d named her in my head paused for a split second. Then she turned to me, bright as ever, “Oh, you’re thinking of that virus going around.” Big smile. “Go home, get some rest — and stock up on food! — and it’ll be over soon.” She spun around on her stool to face me and hand me paper towels to wipe off my belly. “Nothing to worry about. Here.” She scribbled something on a piece of paper and handed it to me.
“Just in case,” she whispered, before chirping loudly, “Any names yet?”
The paper said: “Cameras. Smile!” There were cameras watching us. But why?
I made up some boys names, then said I should check on David. Sunny smiled and said she’d be glad to take me, but her grip on my arm indicated differently. “Since you’re feeling so well, we’ll take the stairs, ” she said in her cheery, sunny tone.
We walked down one flight before Sunny pushed me up against the wall. “Can I trust you?” She hissed, so different from her upstairs demeanor.
“Y-Yes,” I sputtered. “Why?”
“You’re not hallucinating. It’s real. All of it. Don’t know why or how, but we’ve got to leave. There are cameras everywhere. Play along, and do what I say.”
“David?” I have to know. My sons dad.
“Dead. Or one of Them,” she
said, pulling me down to the 1st floor.
[To be continued…]