Sunday, January 20, 2008

January FFC: Forceps by Caleb Mark

© Caleb Mark

The developments that had occurred to his anatomy were unexplainable. Each cell seemed to have a mind of its own, knitting together a form that would last for decades.

Some recent changes were evident on his exterior. Lanugo, once present all over his body, now only grew on his upper arms and shoulders. In the past few weeks he had added a considerable amount of body fat. The extra fat would help him in the colder climate. His small frame would also need the stored energy for the activity that lay ahead.

A short time ago his world had begun to close in on him. At certain intervals he would be held tightly. As the pressure was released he would then float freely, suspended in the liquid that was his home. The forces were becoming larger and closer together, pushing his head into a tiny tubular hole below. He hung upside down. As he pressed into the opening, it widened, and like the neck of a balloon disappears as it becomes inflated, the hole slowly became a part of the wall of his home.

At one point, a thin membrane that surrounded him broke and the liquid emptied itself out into the passage below. Without the fluid to fill the sac he was in, his space became even tighter, making movement more difficult.

The opening he was being pressed into expanded with little effort and his body inched through with each push. Before he had fully passed through the first opening, he found himself at the second one. It was not visible from his position but it was there nonetheless. Navigating it would be much more complicated. Unlike the first opening, the rim of this second crevice was bony and would not stretch. His head needed to turn in order to fit. In the accent, his body rotated right, making it easier to maneuver, but something was holding him back.

The tube that grew out of his stomach had slipped in between his head and the walls of the tight passage. He became stuck. The pushes from above weren’t taking him anywhere now.

From below, two objects worked there way toward him. The outside world wanted him. The way it would reach him was by two prongs, placed firmly on each side of his head. Up to this point he had been pushed from behind. Now he was being pulled forward.

His body faced downward as he reached the third opening. A few moments later the top of his head was visible to the outside world. Shoulders, torso, arms, legs and feet slipped out. He was leaving behind the protection of his old home; however, he was also leaving behind its restrictions. His arms and legs now squirmed freely in the grasp of two large hands.

A device was placed over his mouth in order to suck out some of the fluid. His bluish color gave away the strain he felt within. He alone held the power to change from blue to pink. It was the first thing he would ever be asked to do for himself.

With his first breath, the ductus arteriosus in his heart began to close. Blood flowed to and from his lungs. He had experienced breathing like movements before. Now it was the real thing.

There had not been much to look at inside the womb . Now there was a reason to gaze at his surroundings. Two dark pupils could be seen through the squint he held.


BIO: I am pretty new to writing. I have had story ideas floating around in my head for years but never the nerve to do something about it until recently. I teach upper elementary students and would probably be more likely to write to that audience. I recently started browsing the Absolute Write Water Cooler and saw a post about this site. Thanks for the opportunity to post on the FFC.


Gwen Mitchell said...

I really like how this twisted my perception. At first, it sounded like some sort of science-fiction thing, and then I realized that it was describing birth and that really caught me off guard. It was very interesting though, and the writing was clean. Good job.

Serena said...

Your writing is good. It read more like an encyclopedia entry than a story to me, but that doesn't mean it wasn't fascinating and well done. Good work!

williamfromkc said...

I like the concept. But more should be done to throw the reader off track before revealing that we're dealing with the birth of a child. The twist comes too early.

But the writing style is very clean and very objective. I would like to see what else you have written

Ray M. Solberg said...

You have a very clear writing voice in this piece and I enjoyed this. I liked the altered perspective and the echo of the new theme; the new developments, new sensations and our narrator as a new life in the world. Well done.

R. Jill Fink said...

Great story! What an interesting and original perspective. I, too, thought it was going to be a sci-fi piece at first. It's nice to be surprised, and you certainly "delivered". Okay, that was my one pun for the entire day. I'll stop now.

AlannahJoy said...

This is very cool! Like others before me, I thought at first that this was a sci-fi piece. I caught on pretty quickly that it was actually about birth, but it still held my attention until the very end. My only criticism is that you should find more ways to keep the reader wondering for as long as possible. Good work overall!

Caleb said...

Thanks everyone for all the encouraging and insightful comments.

I thought I would explain the reason that I allowed the reader to clue in early that this is a birth. I know of many stories that have a surprise revelation at one specific point. I thought I would make this a story where the reader might clue in at any point along the way, depending on their knowledge of birth. Looking back, I might have done differently, especially after the points that were made here. But oh well.

Anonymous said...

Bravo for you posting your work! It is difficult to do as a new writer.

I liked the concept of the story, however it would be a better read, it the fetus/infant showed some personality as opposed to what he did.

Did the changes scare him? What did he think was going to happen when things started over crowding. Would an infant us such large words or would they call it gook or something similar..

Good writing... Looking forward to reading more in the future.

Kate Boddie said...

I'm just reading your work now and now I know what you mean by the similarities! Great minds think alike, huh?

I too thought that it was going to be a sci-fi piece but even when it was divulged that it was a birth, the descriptions had be going until the end. For some odd reason, with the mention of word use in a previous comment and it being "too advanced," I can't help but think of Stewie Griffin!