You're whistling a pop tune on a walk through your neighborhood. Across the street a young pregnant lady is doing the same, smiling as she passes. Suddenly the sky turns dark, a freak storm arises. Flash! There's walloping thunder. A bolt of lightning has cut through a tree. A gigantic limb has split and fallen. The woman across the street is pinned across her chest between the charred branch and sidewalk.
No one else is around. The only witness is you.
say to yourself, "This doesn't concern me. It's none of my business. I must be getting home."
find your legs rushing in her direction
shake your head, curse the sky. Become angry and sad.
After you get home, you sigh for a while, then go to bed. The next day you hear on the news that a woman was found dead in your neighborhood. You sigh again. Many years later, after the incident is forgotten, you find you often sigh at odd intervals, and for no apparent reason.
A moan escapes from the fallen timber. "Please," cries the frightened whisper. "Please, I can't move. My stomach is hurting. God help me."
try to heave that chunk of bark from her shoulders.
pick up another long, sturdy branch from the ground
The chunk is too heavy and you collapse in exhaustion. Both of you lie unconscious.
You use the long branch as a lever, prying up the heavy chunk that is pinning her down. Somehow you manage to nudge her free. But she is still lying on the sidewalk, too groggy to get up. And the pain in her stomach has reached a climax.
The pregnant lady has undergone forced labor, brought on by her trauma. You see a small head popping out from her womb.
push it firmly back in.
receive the tiny infant into your trembling hands
Trauma is the result. For both the mother and her child.
The umbilical cord has broken, somehow. The infant appears unhurt. You hold it awkwardly in your arms. The mother is moaning in deep relief.
You stare into the child's soft face. So peaceful. So quiet. So... Too quiet, you suddenly realize. Too quiet.
shake it furiously
slowly turn it upside down, smacking its bottom
The violent shaking causes trauma. The infant perishes.
The infant belts out a wail. Strong fresh lungs bellow with life. Staring weakly at you from the ground, the mother cries out in disbelief. A rescue team finally arrives, and the mother is helped up and brought to your side. "It's a miracle," she weeps happily into your ear. "I will call this miracle by a special name. A hero's name. Please tell me yours."
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