I was coming off the train that night after an appointment in the city with a fertility doctor. Multiple physicians confirmed that my chances for conception were marginal at best, but I still had hope. The appointment ran later than I would have liked, so I was anxious to get home.
The parking lot was near empty, which wasn't surprising as there were hardly any passengers on the train. I couldn't remember exactly where I had parked but I knew it was in the area furthest from the platform. The lights didn't quite reach all the way over there, and I didn't want to walk towards the wrong car, so I hit the 'unlock' button on my keychain, eliciting a "bwip bwip" and the flashing of headlights.
As I was nearing the vehicle, I suddenly broke a heel and collapsed like a tower of cards, scraping my hands and banging my hip on the pavement. I lay there like an invalid, moaning and groaning and dying of embarrassment, while the sounds of shutting doors and engines turning over echoed around me. Mortified, I snapped off my other heel and threw both on the ground. Everyone was heading off now, leaving me all alone in the deserted parking lot.
When I got in the car, I almost didn't notice her. I was about to put the key in the ignition when she caught my eye. She was sitting right there in the passenger seat, brandishing a kitchen knife; she looked about five or six months pregnant. Before I could scream, she grabbed my arm and squeezed it tight, causing me to drop my keys.
"You have to take me back there!" she shrieked, scaring the bejesus out of me. I pulled away in shock but her strength was uncanny. "I have to go back! It's... It's the only way! You have to take me!" Even in the dim light she looked insane—hair in knots and a dress full of holes. All I could think about was that knife in her trembling hand. I raised my left arm, preparing to grab her wrist if she tried to stab me.
"Let go! Help! Somebody help me!" I knew there was no one nearby, but hopefully a station employee would hear me shouting.
"No!" she bellowed. "Y-you have to take me back there!" Her voice was so loud and aggressive that I could feel each word striking me in the face. "Please! I... I just need a ride! You have to h-help me!"
"Please, don't hurt me!" I begged. "I'll do anything you say!" I didn't plan on doing anything she said; I just wanted to calm her down long enough to escape. It seemed to work because she loosened her grip slightly and stopped screaming. There was a long pause before she spoke again, during which I could hear both our hearts fiercely beating.
"I just n-need a r-ride," she mumbled meekly. "I have to go... b-back there. Just t-take me there... and you can go." Something in her delivery sounded sincere, despite the danger she presented, but I was terrified of what she might be capable of.
"Please, just let me go." I tried to speak as non-threatening as possible and appeal to her maternal instincts. "What about your baby? This isn't good for your child." I was stunned by her response.
"If you d-don't take me back there... I'll... I'll kill myself!"
"You wouldn't!" How on Earth could she suggest such a thing? Especially when I was trying so hard to conceive! No woman in their right mind would sacrifice their child like that. However, this woman was certainly not in her right mind. Whatever she wanted, it was more important than her own life and the life of her unborn child. I stopped being afraid for myself and was overcome with worry for the baby. "If you die... then your baby will die too!"
"I..." she began as she looked down at her moderately protruding belly, "I don't want to die... b-but I just... you don't understand." I couldn't quite see the tears running down her face, but I could tell as she spoke that she was sobbing. "I... I h-have to go back there... It's the only way. I p-promise... you can just d-drop me there and go." She looked up again and turned to me, her voice now full of restrained ferocity. "But if you try to get away... or call the p-police... I'll kill myself... and my baby will die with me!"
I didn't know what to say. My arm was still in her grip and the knife was still ready in her hand. Maybe she was telling the truth that she just needed to be dropped off somewhere, and I couldn't let her harm her unborn child. Anything I could have tried to get away might have set her off; I had to give in to her demands.
"I'll take you where you want to go, but you have to let go of my arm." The woman stared at me with bold skepticism as she gradually removed her hand and placed it on her stomach. We continued to make eye contact as I reached down to pick up my keys and put them in the ignition. I could sense her relief when I turned the key and started the car.
We drove for almost an hour before I said another word. The woman kept giving me vague directions and I tried my best to figure out where she was trying to get to. Finally, I asked her the address but she said she didn't know it; she could just feel which direction to go. I didn't know if we were ever going to get to her destination, or if there even was one, and I was afraid I'd be driving all night with a violent psychopath as a passenger.
"I have to go back..." she would mutter every now and then. "I have to go back there. It's the only way... the only way..." I didn't want to ask her what she meant. I didn't want to talk to her at all but she insisted. "Talk to me... I need you to talk... I'm scared."
I couldn't imagine what she was afraid of. I was the one who should be scared, not her; she had the knife. When I didn't respond, she asked me, "What's... your name?"
My name? Surely, I wasn't going to give her my real name, but I had to tell her something.
"Mary..." the woman repeated back. "Mary..." She kept saying it as she rubbed her belly and rolled her head around. "Maaary..."
"What's yours?" I was hesitant to ask but I wanted her to stop saying "Mary".
"Hmm... Maaaaryyy..." she said again, her tone growing suspicious. "Mary... that's not your name... Your name isn't Mary! You're a liar!" I was shocked that she knew I lied to her, and fearsome of how she'd retaliate. Yet, her response was completely unexpected. "Fine then... you'll be Mary... and I'll be... Esther." She seemed pleased by the name she gave herself, assuming it wasn't her real name.
"How long have you been pregnant, Esther?" I didn't care, but I knew some conversation would lift a bit of the tension.
"I... I don't know..." Esther looked down at her belly again. I figured her life was so chaotic that she didn't know who the father was and hadn't been to any doctors; perhaps she was a drug addict. I felt sorry for her baby. Suddenly, she shouted, "Turn here!" I had almost forgotten we were trying to get somewhere specific and not just driving aimlessly.
For the first time since we'd left the train station, I noticed that I had no idea where we were. Everything was just trees and signs. The roads changed from pavement to dirt as they continued to narrow.
"Esther... do you really know where we're going?"
"I'm not sure..." she replied in a slow, listless voice, "but I know we're close. Just keep driving." Esther still had the knife in her hand. I don't think she relaxed her grip on it the entire ride, despite her obvious exhaustion. I hoped that wherever I was taking her wouldn't end up a murder scene.
I don't know how long we drove on those back roads. They all looked the same, but Esther kept insisting that we were going the right way. Eventually, the road just turned into grass, and then into trees; we had come to a dead end.
"This is it!" Esther shouted, practically falling out of the car. Still holding the knife, she darted off into the woods.
"Esther!" I yelled. I was relieved to be rid of her, but still concerned about the baby. This was my chance to call the police. As fate would have it, we were so far off the grid there was no service. At first I thought to just drive away but I had to know where Esther was going. I couldn't leave a pregnant woman out in the woods at night in the middle of nowhere, so I grabbed a flashlight, ditched my poor shoes and attempted to follow her.
The moon was almost full, allowing for some visibility. I could hear Esther up ahead, moving quickly through the brush, as I kept a safe distance so my flashlight wouldn't draw her attention. There was a faint, orange glow in the distance which seemed to be where she was headed.
As I approached the light, I saw that it was coming from a torch that Esther was now using to light several archaic lanterns in a circle around a small clearing. She moved with desperation—nearly setting her hair ablaze—as she frantically worked to light each lamp, then placed the torch back in its sconce.
By the glow of the flames, I could now see the statue that stood at the edge of the clearing. I crept closer to get a better look, trying not to crack too many twigs beneath my bare feet. The sculpture was that of a female with a large, round belly. She was sitting with her legs spread apart and her head faced down towards her swollen bosom. Her hair fell down on both sides, curling under her breasts, with her hands resting on her stomach. Esther stuck the knife in the ground then knelt before the statue, gazing up at it with her hands planted in the dirt. I didn't want to interrupt or she might run off again, so I just watched and waited for something to happen.
"This isn't what I wanted..." she said sadly. "I hate this! I hate the way it feels... the thoughts it puts in my head... I can't take it anymore!" Something in her words gave me terrible chills. "I don't want it anymore! Take it back!" I couldn't believe it. Was she talking about her baby?! I was about to intervene, but I hesitated when she picked up the knife again. "If you don't take it out, I'll kill it! I swear I will! I'll stab it right now!"
Esther held the point of the knife to her belly. Somehow I knew she wouldn't do it. It was some sort of bluff, but for who's benefit? Then "he" appeared from behind the statue. He looked about six years old and wore no clothes. Esther seemed surprised to see him, yet aware of who he was. The boy stood between her and the statue, staring at Esther in stoic silence.
"Take it back!" she screamed at him. "This isn't what I wanted!" She made no attempt to touch the boy; I could tell she was afraid of him. "Please..." she cried, "I can't take it anymore... I swear I'll kill it even if I bleed to death!" The boy still said nothing.
Suddenly, Esther gave a yelp and dropped the knife. I wasn't sure why at first, until I saw them—the hands. Four hands came out of the ground and grabbed her by the wrists and ankles. They seemed to move through the soil as if it were mud, yet Esther's body didn't sink. I wondered for a moment if what I was seeing was real or not. Maybe I was too far away to see correctly, or maybe the dancing flames were obscuring reality. I was too petrified to help, but it seemed like this was what she'd come here for, as dreadful as it was. Then I saw something else—a fifth hand.
The hands holding her ankles started slowly spreading her legs apart, as the fifth hand reached up towards her pelvis. Esther whimpered and moaned as the little boy looked on, expressionless. I couldn't make out exactly what was going on but, when I heard the horrible noises Esther started to make, I knew the fifth hand had forced its way into her vagina.
Esther released the most anguished, unearthly screams; I never thought a human could make those types of sounds. I tried to look away but was hypnotized by the unimaginable scene playing out before me. The hand continued to move up inside her until I could see the elbow on the arm. The boy just stared at poor Esther as the arm began to retract, bringing with it a small, wriggling body. In the light of the moon and fire, I can honestly say that I don't know whether it was human or something horrible.
I couldn't hold it in any longer; I had to scream. Esther didn't even notice—she was drained of strength at this point—but the boy looked right at me. I ran through the woods, screaming and crying. I had to get away. My car could have been anywhere so I kept hitting 'unlock' on my keychain, following the sounds and finally seeing the lights flash.
Wasting no time, I threw it in reverse and slammed on the gas; I couldn't get out of there fast enough. I felt guilty leaving Esther, but was too scared to do anything about it. Finding my way back proved nigh impossible since we'd used Esther's inner GPS to get there. Maybe there was no way out. I was growing more and more hysterical, so I just pulled over to cry. It was then that I noticed the little boy in the passenger seat.
I can't remember what happened after that. Somehow I ended up at home, lying on the floor of my living room. I know it wasn't a dream because my stockings were torn from running through the forest. Since that night, I haven't seen or heard from Esther or the boy. It's been difficult to deal with what happened, but I feel like I'm almost ready to move on. There's just one thing that's troubling me... I'm pregnant.
Written by Umbrello