Her hair sparkles with crystal droplets of rain as she offers her sacrifice, touching the golden toes of the bronze goddess as midnight chimes. At home Darren snores contentedly in their warm bed.
She throws away the temperature charts, deletes the fertility App. Her fingers ache as she tucks bootees and bibs out of sight in the spare room drawer, an ocean in the single salt tear that weaves its way down her cheek.
Darren brushes it off at first, the nausea grinds him like a mortar and pestle against his bones. He can’t sleep, searing pain ruling his life. She holds his hand in the clinic waiting rooms.
When the flutter begins, she floats on air, kisses the bootees and rescues the bibs. Darren is entranced, duty-bound to paint the spare room. What colour? he asks. Gold, she replies. Bewitched he works, gold paint freckling his cheeks, limbs bone-weary, his jaw clenching with each stroke.
Her belly grows big and hard, each ripple of movement a delight, her breasts full and ripe. Darren grows spent, his joints stiff and unresponsive. Doctors test and probe. His skin a red-golden hue, body shrinking with each passing day, like an apple left to shrivel.
She is glowing, her hair deep auburn, skin creamy and smooth, he develops bed sores, oozing with puss.
Their baby is born with golden curls. Darren sees the Insta post from his hospital bed, he closes his eyes, and sucks in his last breath.
Her hair sparkles with crystal droplets of rain, her baby purring contentedly in its warm sling across her breasts, she has a promise to fulfil. At the statue she completes her sacrifice with his wedding ring and touches the golden toes of the bronze goddess as midnight chimes.
Joyce Bingham is a Scottish writer who enjoys writing short fiction with pieces published by FlashBack Fiction, VirtualZine, Funny Pearls and Free Flash Fiction. She lives in the North of England where she makes up stories and tells tall tales.
Photo – Stephen Bellamy
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