Gavin Hume was stuck. The story wasn’t moving forward. In fact, it was repeating the same two-minute interval over and over, like a broken record.
And, to make matters worse, it was the most disturbing part of the story.
A woman was in the middle of hanging herself when Hume burst into the room. It took him too long to learn just how dark this story was. Surely it couldn’t be this bad. He needed to stop underestimating the twisted minds of writers.
Yes, she was hanging herself. But she was also in labour.
Again, Hume found himself rushing into the room. He knew where the box was, where the noose was, where the baby would drop after the woman’s face turned purple. Grabbing her hips to pull her up half-crushed the emerging infant. When he reset to the door, he tried cutting the rope, but he wasn’t fast enough. He tried again on the next loop–he was fast enough this time, but the woman still fell to the ground hard, again doing unknown damage to the child inside her. The next loop, he avoided looking at the woman, instead focusing on retrieving the baby. The woman–Janine–kicked him in her death dance. He pulled the baby down into his arms, the cord still–
Another loop. This time he just watched. He threw up.
Again. He looked away, watching the night sky through the bedroom window.
Why was he stuck? And why couldn’t he save them both?
The story couldn’t have ended here. And if it did, it wouldn’t loop. And if it did, it wouldn’t loop only two minutes. And–
The door again. He as perpetually tired from his run to the bedroom.
Again again again.
This wasn’t a story. This was one page. Someone was shocked–understandably. They had dog-eared the page, and were reading it again and again in sick fascination. And until they got over it, Hume would–
–run into the room. He had until the reader got bored to be able to save the woman. But could he? He was a meta detective–he should have solved this suicide before it ever happened. He didn’t deserve this second chance–or third, or fourth… But
Here he was again, running into the room. He caught Janine’s legs. She struggled. The baby’s voice went from muffled to free, hot and sticky against his neck as he tried to hold Janine up. He wasn’t strong enough to
Run in, grab the mattress, throw it on the ground, step onto the box, cut at the rope, but he took too long that
She was strangling to death when he ran in. He threw only the pillows this time, before pulling out his knife and sawing at the noose. She tumbled, he half-caught her, but CRASH went the box and her back together
Again, he directed her fall, onto the pillows, yes, breathe, breathe, breathe OUT and… The baby sounded. He pulled it into his arms. Janine cried, the baby cried, and Hume gave the child to his mother.
The reader un-eared the page, and turned it. You needed to know what would happen next.
Day 207 and 208’s six random prompt categories were, “A dog-eared page,” “Meta detective,” “The hanged man,” “The Truman Show delusion,” “A woman who dies in labour and is reborn as her own child,” and, “Under the stars.”
Took some liberties with the prompts. Kinda necessary when you have six. I’m just glad to be caught up again! (Sorry for the disturbing content of this one.)