It was noon on December 29th, 2024, when 25-year-old Prez Cipher's contractions started suddenly and violently.
The first thing her husband, Bill, had done was call a babysitter for her four older daughters. Then he carried her out to the car.
Prez pulled out her phone as the car began speeding for the hospital. She didn't particularly want her mom to freak out, so the one number she dialed was that of her seventeen-year-old sister, Girlie, who was studying at the local college.
"The baby's coming!" She had announced breathlessly, and after assuring her worrywart of a sister that she was on her way to the delivery rooms and being assured that her sister was getting to the car, she hung up and enjoyed this painful yet wonderful experience.
Even though her bones felt like they were being shattered.
Damn, kid, you're killing me. She thought to the baby in her womb, whose gender was not determined.
Bill smiled at her from the driver's seat as he pulled up to the hospital.
"All right, here we are." He announced, lifting his wife and carrying her in.
The hours ticked by, and nothing happened.
Bill found his worry mounting, anxiety forcing its way into his chest as he helplessly clutched Prez's hand, occasionally holding a mental conversation with Girlie, who was on her other side. Neither wanted to wake the young mother, who had just fallen into a fitful sleep.
'Is she going to be okay?'
I don't know. I don't know the future of anything not originally planned out. Hell, I didn't even know I could have kids until six months ago.
A doctor came in and examined Prez. Bill felt like slapping him part of the time, but he knew it was just the guy's job so he let him be.
"Bad news. Mrs. Cipher's labor is nonprogressive. We may have to do an emergency Cesarean."
"Then why don't you?"
"Can't do anything without her consent. Should I wake her?"
"She just fell asleep."
"It's for the best, Mr. Cipher."
Bill sighed. "Okay." He gently shook the young woman's shoulder, and she groaned and whimpered in response. "Prezzie, the doctor needs to ask you something."
Prez forced her hazel eyes open, and the look in them was pure pain. It shattered Bill's demonic heart. "Yes?" She asked weakly.
"Mrs. Cipher, we may need to do a C-section. Is that all right?"
"No. I'm having this baby the natural way -," a contraction interrupted her, and the grip on Bill's hand increased so much that it felt like it would break, "if it kills me."
The doctor sighed. "All right." He turned away and left the room, and said something so quietly that Bill almost thought he imagined it.
"But it just might."
December 30th turned to New Year's Eve, and Prez's strength was decreasing with every hour she remained in labor. It was taking its toll on Bill too, as his uncovered eye had gone from a bright yellow to a deep, deep, deep black. He appeared to be sinking into some deep depression, and the atmosphere in the room was sinking as a result.
One nurse took note of this, and tapped him on the shoulder. "Sir, I'm going to have to ask you to leave for your wife's sake."
"I can't leave her." He replied in a low voice that almost revealed his identity as a dream demon.
"You have to."
He growled, and it looked like he would kill the poor nurse. Quickly, he calmed down, solidifying that he was not himself at all. "Fine."
He stormed into the hallway, unaware that Girlie had followed him.