Red Ink, and White Sheets || Self Para
It had started last night, the pain. A dull, throbbing pain.
She ignored it.
Cramps. She was used to cramps, wasn’t everyone?
She could deal with her cramps.
She would ignore the fact that she hadn’t had her period in two months.
They were cramps.
She couldn’t pay attention in class. She didn’t really want to, honestly, she just couldn’t think. This is what she did when she was upset, she supposed, pushed herself away from her feelings - and the worse it was, the harder she pushed, until she was emotionally distant she was hardly even present.
She shouldn’t even be upset about it -
She winced, her hand absentmindedly rubbing at her abdomen.
Even her body wasn’t taking her shit anymore, like it knew just as well as she bloody did that she still cared about him, even if she didn’t want to admit to, to him, to herself.
She’d hurt him. She’d hurt him again, she’d promised herself she’d never do it again, and she’d managed to. She’d broken up with him in the first place because she hadn’t wanted to hurt him. That had turned out real bloody well. Done it to let him go, let him have a better life without her, and then she’d dragged him right back down with her all over again. No bloody feelings. She was an idiot. She was an idiot and no matter how much she tried not to, she still loved him and she didn’t know what to do about it. She loved him, but nothing had changed, because now it was him who was moving on, finally done with her. And however much she loved him, it didn’t matter, because what did it say about her if she dragged him down a thousandth time, hurt him all over again -
There was movement around her as students opened their books, and she flipped it open randomly, still caught in her thoughts -
A folded piece of parchment lay hidden in the pages, and she stared at it for several moments, confused. Picking it up slowly, she turned it over, blinking when she realized it was addressed to her, an unfamiliar writing in a dark red ink.
Hello, Princess Leah Marianne Maud of Norway.
She stared at it for several moments longer, before she finally opened it hesitantly.
I thought I ought to send you a little note, to congratulate you.
You’re suffering a miscarriage. Isn’t that lovely?
Everything went silent, her hands beginning to shake as a voice added itself to the words, such a cold voice…
And please, do spare me the surprised ‘I’m pregnant?’ act. You’ve known you were pregnant for awhile, but I’m afraid ignoring the situation doesn’t quite make it go away. I believe your boy toy told you much the same last night, but that’s alright though now, of course, seeing as he finally came to his senses last night, didn’t he? He’s finally done with you. You’ve lost your dear boy, and now you’re losing his baby as well. I really couldn’t have planned it better myself.
You’re no better than your own mother. It’s strange how you ever thought you were.
Think about it, Leah. At least your mother didn’t kill you. Your mother kept you alive through months of pregnancy, she kept you alive until you could fend for yourself.
But you, Leah. You can’t even keep it inside you for a few measly months. It’s dying inside you and it’s all - your - fault.
Well, you didn’t want to be a mother, Leah? Congratulations, darling. Motherhood’s cancelled.
There were a few moments where she stared at the letter with wide eyes, half-confusion and half-fear, and then she released a shocked wheeze as a burst of pain exploded through her stomach.
Pain, as if someone had punched her in the stomach as hard as they could.
And it wasn’t stopping, it wasn’t -
She vaguely realized the other students in the class were staring at her look at her, but she didn’t care, couldn’t care, because it bloody fucking hurt,and her mind was still reeling with all the information at once -
She stumbled to her feet suddenly, grabbing her bag and shoving everything into it haphazardely, rushing towards the door and ignoring everything, ignoring everyone, she needed to get to her room, she needed -
Her hand hit the wall as another burst of pain crippled her and she steadied herself against the wall, her loud breaths the only sound in the empty corridor as she sucked in deep breaths of air, bracing herself to ignore the pain, keep going, keep going -
Endless hallways, confused stares, and she ran, ran and stumbled, continued running -
She didn’t make it to her bed, collapsing to her knees as her insides writhed again, her hands fisting against the floor, everything in her body screaming - but the room remained silent but for her strained gasps -
Make it stop, make it stop -
She was shaking, struggling to pull off her clothes, but they were already stained red, she was bleeding, she was bleeding -
Everything was happening so fast and everything hurt, everything burned and everything screamed, and she was pregnant, and she was miscarrying, her baby was dying, her baby -
“Don’t - don’t -” she pleaded to the empty room, her voice as hoarse and pained as she’d ever heard it - and all she could hear was her childhood voice, begging for it to stop, begging for him to stop, but he wouldn’t stop, and this was so much worse than that had ever been -
And she could see Nathan’s face, his face, so angry, so hurt, so broken - and this was his baby, this was his child, his baby was dying, she was killing his baby, oh, God, she was killing his baby and she couldn’t make it stop -
“Stop, stop -”
She’d never wanted to be a mother, she’d never wanted this, and now, all she could do was beg for it to stop, beg and plead and hope and wish because she didn’t want to lose the baby, she didn’t want to lose their baby, she didn’t want to lose his baby, she wanted to hold it and love it and watch it grow up with a mother who loved it and a father who loved it just like in the fairytales -
“No, please, please, I want - I want -” she was sobbing, desperately crying with some unknown force, because the pain was only getting worse, and her legs were squeezed tightly shut because she couldn’t lose the baby, she couldn’t, but it hurt, it hurt, God, it hurt, and she could feel it, she could feel it, no, no, please, no, stop -
And in an instant, it was over.
White was a pure color. Pure, happy. White was the good color, the side of the heroes and the heroines and the angels, white was the color of things being right in the world.
White sheets, white sheets in a bundle on the floor.
White and red. White stained red. Her eyes were burning with the color red, and she was empty.
She hadn’t moved in hours. The room had grown dimmer and dimmer, and she hadn’t moved, huddled on her side in the corner of the room. She’d pulled the sheets off her bed, white sheets, pure sheets, wrapping the baby in it, so small she could hardly call it a baby, so small, folding the thin fabric over and over and over because the blood kept soaking through, so much blood she’d lost, so much blood, staining the pure white sheets that her dead baby was cradled in -
She was sobbing, wailing; empty, broken sounds that exploded from somewhere inside her that she had no control of, and the sheets were burning her, and she was scooting away from them, getting away from those white sheets and what they held - and her back hit the wall, but still she pushed against it before she buried her face into the floor, muffling the broken wails, her knees curled into her -
She didn’t know when she’d stopped crying, didn’t care. But she still didn’t move, frozen on the floor, her face pressed against the floor, empty eyes staring. White sheets. Red streaks. Stains on the floor, dots of red, a large red pool, like some sort of target. Marking the spot.
She didn’t move as the room had grown dimmer, darker, all but for the white and red that burned into her vision like permanent tattoos.
When she finally began to move again, she nearly burst back into tears, and she had to pause to calm herself. She crawled slowly across the floor, whimpering at the feeling of the blood that had dried in streaks down her thighs. She willed her hands to still themselves, grasping her wand and casting a quick charm on herself that cleaned away the blood - although she could still feel it, still burned down her legs and her hands and fingers. She pulled on loose pajamas, still shivering as the fabric brushed against her skin, but she ignored it and continued moving, unable to stop moving, because if she stopped she might never move again -
She gathered the sheets into her arms, refusing to let herself hesitate, refusing to let herself cry, already walking out of the room.
It burned every few steps, but she relished the pain, hobbled forward, her bundle of sheets clutched against her, cradled against her. The one chance she could ever hold her baby, cradle her baby, coddled in her bloodstained sheets. She held it so gently, afraid to grip it tightly, as if there was any more harm she could do it, as if it hadn’t already died inside her.
She was outside the castle.
The baby she didn’t want to admit existed, ripped from inside her. Something so small, so fragile; yet it hurt more than anything she’d ever endured. It hurt, it hurt physically, it hurt every muscle in her, it hurt inside her chest and she wanted to hunch over from the pain that felt like her heart was screaming. Always screaming, endless screaming.
The air was cold but she didn’t notice, didn’t care. The cold she felt had nothing to do with the air.
She kept walking, walking, barely paying attention to where she was walking, onto the grounds, to the lake, an unimportant, inconspicuous spot beside the lake -
She dug into the dirt with one hand, refusing to let go of her bundle, sheets still clutched tightly to her. Clearing away more and more dirt, a dent that grew deeper and deeper and just the size of the bundle she clutched in her other arm -
She lay it inside neatly, so gently, as if laying a child down to sleep. She gathered dirt between her palms, grains of dirt slowly moving to cover the white and red sheets until they disappeared. More and more, encasing it away, filling the hole over her baby until there was no dirt left and the hole was gone.
She pressed down on the surface, flattening it, and it was as if she was suffocating it, pressing down and cutting off the air supply, and she choked back a whimper, sliding away from the mound she’d smoothed over, muddy hands smearing her face as she tried to hold everything in, but she was broken, and her face was a mix of salty tears and muddy streaks.
"I’m so sorry," she whispered to the darkness, to the baby lying in the ground because her body had killed it. She rocked back and forth on her knees, tears dripping from her face and into the dirt, and she watched them soak away instantly, into the ground with her child, with their child. Her hand rested back on the mound of dirt as she continued to cry, unable to leave her baby alone in any sense of the word. "I love you," she choked out, and the words released a fresh torrent of tears, words she’d wanted to hear so desperately as a child, but what did they matter when her own baby wasn’t alive to hear them?
She choked on another sob, murmuring to the ground between the noises that escaped her, making up for the words her baby would never be able to hear, the years of things it missed because of her. “I’m so sorry, I love you, I’m sorry…”
The words were empty, though. There was nothing there to hear them.
When she finally stumbled away, the sky was brightening, sun peeking out over the horizon, and she wanted to scream at it for mocking her.
But she didn’t, because the words had gone and nothing was left.
She was empty.