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The pungent scent of medicine stood like a wall, waiting for me in the doorway. It was time for my annual checkup at the doctor and I was nervous to tell the nurse what was going on.
The voices had returned from my childhood. My coarse mother wouldn’t believe anything was wrong with me medically, she just thought I was involved in the occult. I hadn’t told her that I was going to tell my doctor about the voices. If she knew then she would never have agreed to take me.
“Ethal, you’re fine. You just need to find some better friends to hang out with. You have a good future to look out for. Don’t let those silly voices ruin it for you. Now go in there and have your checkup,” my tyrannical mother spout at me.
She had no idea how bad it really would get. I begged her to let me get the doctor's opinion but she refused. I figured it best to listen to her.
“Ethal Varne?” the nurse asked into the room out waiting patients. I stood, leaving my mother to her reading. As I walked with the nurse to my room, the voices started echoing in my head, throwing themselves against the walls of my skull forcing me to listen.
“Don’t tell the doctor our little secret, Ethal. Don’t you want us to stay and keep you company? If you get rid of us then you’ll have no one to talk to about the child growing inside of you. No one will understand like we do. You need us.” the voices reverberated in my head until we finally made it to my room.
“The doctor will be right with you. Is there anything I can get you while you wait?” the nurse asked.
“No thank you, I’m fine.” I responded. I really wasn’t fine. I just needed her to leave. My head was throbbing from the clanging voices in my mind. Soon after the nurse left, the doctor poked his sweaty head in the door.
“Ms. Varne I presume? I’m Dr. Clarke. Sorry for the wait, I’ve had so many patients today. Now let’s see, you’re here for your annual check up?” The doctor asked.
“Yes, Dr. Clarke. I have something else I would like to talk about but if you wouldn’t mind, I don’t want my mother to know about it just yet. She doesn’t quite understand.”
“What is it that you need to tell me?” asked Dr. Clarke.
“I believe I’m pregnant.” I said.
“You believe? You don’t know for sure?” responded Dr. Clarke.
“That is correct Dr. Clarke.” I answered.
“Well then what makes you think that you are? Have you any symptoms?” the doctor asked me.
“Not just yet. The voices in my head told me that there was a child growing inside me.” I told the doctor.
The doctor’s expression changed from curiosity to concern. I was confused by the sudden development in the doctor. At the time, I thought it normal to hear voices. My mother had told me that everyone does. That it is just your conscious telling you what was going on inside your body. She told me not to worry that mine seemed louder than everyone else's. But she lied. Not everyone heard them.
“Ms. Varne?..... Ms. Varne? Are you alright?” I was about to consult my assistant when your face went blank. You weren’t responding to me. We thought it may have been a stroke of some sort.” the doctor said.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I’m alright, I was just thinking and I must have zoned out. I’ll be fine if you need to step out for a moment.” I told the doctor. Dr. Clarke left the room and I decided to lie down.
“I believe the girl has schizophrenia. She said that the voices in her head were telling her that she is pregnant. She’s acting like it’s completely normal to hear those voices. I’m afraid this may be out of our skill set; we’ll need to send her to Stockton State Insane Asylum.” said the doctor to his assistant. His assistant nodded his head which seemed to pain his extremely gaunt body.
I saw Dr. Clarke go out to the waiting room where my mother sat fixated on the book in her lap. He started speaking to her and my heart started racing.
“He’s telling her about your child. He’s telling her. HE’S TELLING HER ABOUT YOUR CHILD. TELLING HER...” the voices screamed at me using every cell in my brain. They told me to run. So I did. I ran and I ran until I ended up in front of my destination. Stockton State Insane Asylum. Just as I overheard my doctor say. I stood out of breath and hunched over, clutching my knees. The voices grew louder telling me not to go in. I didn’t listen to them. I closed my eyes and wailed from the incessant pain of voices ricocheting against my ear drums. I began to run again. I ran to the doors of the asylum still hollering. At this point I was sobbing; begging someone to help me. I wanted to flee the everlasting cries of my soul.
I heard a car behind me but I was too weak to turn around. I fell to the ground and when I finally awoke, I was in the arms of a woman I didn’t recognize yet I felt that I knew her. It was my mother. I hadn’t recognized her before because the expression on her face was different than her everyday stone cold glare. It was now soft but distressed. The skin at the edges of her mouth began to crinkle into a smile as she saw me wake. I smiled back.
The next several months were a blur filled with starched white nurses uniforms and little cups filled with medication. The voices have quieted and only visit me in times of sorrow. They’re in a way, comforting. I have no one to talk to here except them. Most of my time is spent recalling my life before that one fateful doctors appointment. Now I wait the arrival of you, my wonderful daughter, Flora.