Imperfect, page 1
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Copyright © 2013 by Tina Chan
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“Maria Shea?” asked a doctor dressed in a crisp, mint colored uniform.
“That’s me,” the woman lying on the hospital bed replied.
“Congratulations with your newborn.” The doctor handed her a bundle of blanket with an infant girl swaddled within.
Maria held her baby tenderly, dreading the next words the doctor was going to say.
“According to my notes, this was an unplanned pregnancy. Am I correct?”
“An officer will arrive in an hour to collect this Accident. Would you like to hold onto your newborn until collection time?”
“No.” Maria’s heart broke as she thrust the infant away from her. “Take the Accident out of my sight.”
The doctor accepted the baby; he didn’t look surprised by Maria’s request. It was better this way—less painful for the mother to part with the child if they minimalized contact between them.
Maria watched the doctor leave the room, knowing she would never see that child again. Once the government confiscated her, she was as good as dead to Maria.
5 Years Later
There was a sharp rap on the door. Maria jumped to her feet and hurriedly ushered the man outside into the house. The man held a bundle in the crook of his arm. An Accident. Not the same one she had given up five years ago. But it was still an Accident—a chance for Maria to pacify her guilty conscience.
She never did fully escape the memory of giving up that child. Without a word, the man handed the infant to Maria. She gazed down at its tiny face, knowing this was her hope to redeem herself. When she looked up again, the man was gone.
Her husband observed the baby from a distance. “I can’t believe you agreed to take in this Accident. It’s not just our necks we’re risking, but also our son’s.”
Maria held the Accident tight against her chest. “The government isn’t going to find her. We have connections that can help us conceal her from the government until she’s old enough.”
People wouldn’t notice if an infant disappeared without a trace—that happened all the time. But if a toddler was to vanish, people would start talking. All I have to do is keep her safe for three years, Maria thought.
“There’s a good reason why Accidents are removed from society,” her husband said. “Imagine out medical bills for this…child. We don’t know what type of health issues she may develop—asthma, high blood pressure.” He muttered some expletives under his breath, but promptly shut up when he noticed his son crouching behind the sofa. His Perfect son. “Jaiden, I see you.”
The little boy ran out and peered at the Accident cradled in Maria’s arms. “Who is she?”
“Your new sister,” Maria said.
Jaiden looked at his sister, round eyed and excited. “Can I play with her? Can we go to the beach together? Will we go to school together?”
Maria nodded. “Of course.”
“Provided she doesn’t get confiscated by the government,” her husband muttered darkly. “The officials will discover us harboring this Accident soon.”
He was wrong.
[ Kristi ]