There was a dead fetus beneath our large lilac bush. It was very well formed, probably close to full term, umbilical cord attached, curled into a fetal position and laying on its side, its skin very gray in color.
We were standing around the lilac bush, beneath the trees, me and a group of police officers and detectives. The officers were meandering around, doing their business, talking amongst themselves. The detectives were talking to me and taking notes, scribbling on small notepads cupped in the palms of their hands.
One detective asked me, “Do you know of anyone living in your area who’s pregnant?”
I cringed inwardly and thought to myself– gawds, I really hate to implicate the __________. I said to the detective, “Yes, there is a girl in our neighborhood who’s pregnant, __________. But this family seems to have things under control. Even though we don’t know them all that well, I’d be very surprised if they were involved in something like this.”
Then I stood silent while the detectives talked amongst themselves.
I got to thinking, while I was standing there, that there was no blood around the baby, the scene was in fact amazingly bloodless. Having a baby is messy, and the lack of blood would indicate that the baby had been born somewhere else and then deposited here.
I kept thinking there must be blood here somewhere. So, while I remained standing still in my spot, I began to look around the area in ever widening circles, slowly and deliberately, searching for some sign of blood on the ground, or in the grass.
Eventually I found it, a single drop of blood in the grass between the maple tree and the barn, near the garden. My first thought was: It’s a trail that leads straight to the __________. And I had this terrible sinking feeling. Then I thought– no, I can’t think that, because this also leads to the gate, a way out of the yard.
As the police were finishing up and preparing to move the body, I said to the detectives: “I have a request.” The detective paused, looking curiously at me. “I’d like to hold the baby once before you take it away.”
I knew before I made the request that they would think it was strange and it would make them suspicious. First, they began to question me about my own daughters. I told them what they wanted to know, reassured them that none were pregnant, and if one had been as far along as this baby was, we would certainly have known it.
Then one of the detectives said to me, “Why do you want to hold the baby?”
I told him, “We have all been standing around here repulsed and shuddering at this baby, and this is not suppose to be the reaction at a baby’s birth.”
I felt sorry for it, that it was so unwanted. I hoped that the spirit of the child would feel the comfort of being held.
*(Note: There really is a family in our area with a pregnant teen, and I’ve deleted the name of this family to protect their privacy.)