Not My Blessings

A young family soon discovers their twin children are not the blessing they thought they had received, but instead a true horror.

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8. Time Passes....

   Darrell swam in darkness, submerged in the warm blackness like a fetus, carefully cradled in the mother's womb. His mind was blank, and there was no worry, no fear. Time was meaningless, and it drifted and swirled through him and around him, encasing him in a cocoon and sealing him away in comfort, like a mummy buried beneath a giant pyramid, forgotten in the sands that concealed him. He was content, floating in that realm between conciseness and a dream.  It was that sweet, brief moment, when you stretch on a Saturday morning, with no alarms to wake you, nothing to disturb you, as you slowly drift into reality. But time shall pass, and soon Darrell was no longer alone in the blackness. 

   It started slowly, just a faint lightening of the blackness. It wasn't that there was light shining, more like the blackness was morphing, twisting and changing into something more sinister. The black slowly gave way to a thick burgundy color, then to a threatening maroon. The color kept shifting and changing, growing lighter and more grotesque  until it was the color of fresh blood, pouring from an exposed artery.  Darrell tried to scream, but the thick sea of red chocked him, drowning him, suffocating him. He could taste the metallic, salty taste and felt the warmth of fresh blood bathing him in death. He struggled against it, trying to escape...

   He sat up with a start, confused and disorientated. The red was gone, and was instead replaced with bright, sterile white and soft blues. The metallic smell shifted into an aroma of bleach and sickness. Hospital, I'm in a hospital he deduced, gasping to regain his breath. He looked around, waiting to see the familiar face of Laura soothing and comforting him. He wanted to know what had happened. Still delirious with the sedative, he cried out weakly.

   "Nurse? Laura? Is someone there?" A nurse walked in, holding a clipboard and smiling the fake, forced smile required to help ease the tension of patients. 

   "I'm happy to see that you're awake, Darrell. This is good. Do you mind if I bring the doctor in? I think he wants to talk to you. I will just be a moment," she said in a honey-sweet voice that grated against his thin wisp of patience, then walked out before he could answer. What is going on? What happened to me? Where is Laura? His mind raced, and he heard the monitor beside him send an alert. In walked an older gentlemen, very self-assured and quiet. He sat at the foot of Darrell's bed and smiled softly.

   "How are you felling, Darrell? Any immediate pain or discomfort?"

   "No, just confusion. What happened? Where is my wife? My kids?" Darrell asked, impatient and worried. 

   "Shh, don't get worked up. You need to rest. Everyone is, well, they're just fine. I just wanted to talk to you for a minute. Do you know where you are?" The man was very patient, and Darrell saw he would only make progress if he followed this man's advice.

   "I'm in the hospital, but I don't remember why. I don't feel hurt. Was I sick?" He struggled against the thick wall in his mind, trying to remember any piece of the puzzle.

   "Ah, very good. Yes, you're in the hospital and you are very sick. But not with a disease. What you have is very hard to heal, and it will take time. Lots of time. You see, you're in the psychiatric ward. You are in shock. Do you remember why? Do you remember what made you so upset Darrell?" Darrell sat for a moment, struggling to remember. Then it all washed over him, in a series of short glimpses. Laura. The blood. The star on the ceiling and...his children. 

   "Oh God, why? Why?" he sobbed, weeping with all his might. Next to him, the machine started to scream. The doctor quickly stood and unplugged it, satisfied Darrell wasn't dying.

   "Now listen here, son. There was a terrible accident at your home. Your wife, well, she didn't make it. This is the third time you have woken up, and likewise, the third time you've remembered what happened. Now I need you to focus. You need to stay awake, Darrell. I need to talk with you, ask some questions, okay? I have to evaluate how stable you are." But Darrell was beyond listening. It was only when the doctor softly touched his shoulder that he raised his head and focused. "What happened to your wife, Darrell. I need to know, did you hurt her? Did you draw that star?" Darrell, whimpering, shook his head no.

    "I-I-I don't kn-know who did that. I loved her s-so mu-much." 

    "Alright son, I believe you. But I have one more question. The doctor hesitantly stretched his hand and pulled down the collar of the paper gown Darrell had on. There, on his chest, was a strange looking birthmark. Right above his heart, it looked like spattered paint. Darrell stared at it blankly, in shock. Slowly, the shape of a six-pointed star emerged, staring him blatantly in the face. He had never had a birth-mark, and certainly not one so bright red, like blood...

    "That ought to keep him under for a few hours," murmured the doctor, handing a now empty syringe to the nurse beside him. "Double check the restraints around his wrists please. I don't want to take any chances. And take another look at his chest please. Poor boy nearly needed stitches." The nurse nodded, walking towards the bed to secure the restraints while a male nurse applied bandages to the deep gashes across Darrell's chest, where it looked as though he had nearly clawed his heart out, directly beneath the mysterious birthmark.

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