Snail Tale
rating: +20+x

It was time. His children were ready to come into the world. They would have to be born by C-section, however; he had no natural opening from which to birth them. He took his cellphone into the bathroom with him and pre-dialed 911, then set it aside without pressing the call button. Then, he got his straight razor, cleaned it, brought it up to the chain of lumps that trailed across his throat like the most precious necklace in the world, and carefully began to cut.

The white one came out easily; she was small, but healthy, and was still growing even as he gently placed her and her shining spiral shell onto the clean towel. She was a beautiful baby, with ten fingers and ten toes. But the red one was stillborn, just a shrivelled twist of grey tissue; tears that had nothing to do with the pain of labour trailed down the father's cheeks. The orange one, too, was nothing but dust in their shell; he waited until he could get his Adam's apple to stop trembling before he kept cutting. Yellow, green, cyan, blue, violet… all of them had died before they even had the chance to be born. In his desperate haste to get the last, black shell out, his hand slipped, and blood started gushing out of his throat. His vision was blurring as the shell slipped into his hand, but he could still see clearly enough the plump, healthy baby boy within. The razor clattered onto the countertop as he scrambled for his phone with the hand not cradling his precious son. He sank slowly to the floor. He was so tired… but he had to press that button. He couldn't rest until he knew his babies would be taken care of.

"911, what is your emergency?" the voice on the other end asked.

"My children…" he rasped. "You need to save my children."

"Sir, are you alright?"

"No… ." His arm started getting too weak to hold the phone up. "Make sure they go to a loving home, will you… ?" His arm fell to the side, the phone with it. He could vaguely hear the dispatcher's increasingly concerned questions, but they seemed so far away. Maybe it would be okay to close his eyes for a bit. He was sure things would be taken care of.

The last thing he heard was the angelic voice of his daughter as she crawled out of her shell and called out for him.


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