To be fair, I didn’t know what to think either. Ellen was a quiet girl, senior in highschool, straight B’s, didn’t really go on dates, didn’t even really talk to boys. She has friends, sure, but not many of the male variety.
She told me while I was reading in my room, in her hands was clutched the positive pregnancy test. She was crying. I felt stunned. I didn’t ask about the father, it didn’t really cross my mind at the time. I just hugged her after the stun faded and told her we’d be okay. I went with her to tell our parents.
Mom immediately burst into tears, sobbing and shaking her head. My father went quiet, face going a few shades paler. Then he spoke up.
“Why are you lying to us like this?”
Ellen started to cry again as she shook her head. “I’m not… I’m not lying! I’m-”
“Shut up!” My dad slapped the pregnancy test from her hand and stuck his finger in her face, his voice raising to a shout. “I taught you better to lie to us! What is this, you trying to hide your grades from us?”
I didn’t know know how to react to that. Ellen just sobbed and ran back to her bedroom, slamming the door shut. My dad turned his rage on me next. “Did you put her up to this? Do you think this is funny!?”
I bolted next, I’d never seen my dad this angry and I didn’t want to bear the brunt of his anger. I figured, when they’d calmed down, they’d see reason and help Ellen cope with what was happening.
Ellen tried to bring it up next morning with just mom around but her lips pressed together firmly and she refused to answer. Ellen pleaded with her to see reason but she just told us to pick up some things from the store on the way home from school and left the table. Ellen just buried her face in her hands, past tears and just confused.
I patted her on the back and told her I’d come up with a way out of this.
That afternoon I googled abortion clinics near us. Made a plan. I technically only had my driver’s permit, but Ellen couldn’t drive herself back after the procedure so I figured what the heck, might as well try to get away with it. I shared with Ellen my plan and although she was hesitant, I convinced her this was the only way she could get out of this.
When we attempted to go out for ‘ice cream’ the next afternoon, Dad stopped us.
I forgot to erase the browser history.
He screamed at us, telling us we were both going too far with our little joke and that we were grounded until Ellen confessed to lying. His face was bright red, a vein was popping out so far in his forehead I thought it was going to pop. Dad was always hot tempered but I’d never seen him like this.
The moment Ellen opened her mouth to say something, Dad punched her in the jaw. Actually punched her. And he’s no small guy, so he hits hard. Ellen hit the floor, I saw her spit a bloody tooth on the ground before she started sobbing. I dragged her by the arm as dad screamed after us how we weren’t leaving this house for anything but school until we came clean.
I helped clean up Ellen’s mouth, wiping away the blood and managing to sneak down for some frozen peas to press against her jaw. She shook her head and looked at me.
“I… I am pregnant. You believe me, right?”
It didn’t really matter if I believed her or not, because she was.
Over the next few weeks, Ellen would be nearly knocked over with morning sickness. ‘Morning’ sickness is giving it too much credit, she had days where she was slumped over the toilet, unable to keep much anything down. If mom caught her, she’d just say Ellen had the flu, if dad caught her, he’d call out her ‘prank’ and make her get dressed for school.
It was hell. Actual hell. And I could only stand by and watch.
Ellen wasn’t sent to the doctor for prenatal care, I did my best with school computers to research how to help, but the help of a fifteen year old isn’t exactly much help. I wasn’t a medical professional, after all, and that’s what she needed.
As her belly swelled, Ellen became a joke of the school. Rumors spread about how she slept with one of the teachers to pass her class, or that she had no idea who the father was because she’d been fucked by anyone who would take her. To her credit, Ellen didn’t ever respond to these rumors. She’d just simply carry on with how she had.
I think sometimes even Ellen would doubt her own pregnancy, I’d catch her staring at the mirror, running her hands over the bump with the most quizzical expression, like she had no idea what was really in there.
And no, the baby bump didn’t convince my parents either. My mother began to restrict Ellen’s food intake, saying that she really needed to ‘watch her weight’ even though Ellen had probably never been above a hundred pounds her entire life. It was incredibly fucked up to have to sneak her food every night so she wouldn’t be starving. Sometimes it’d be leftover lasagna from dinner, a lot of the time it was only like a pack of raisins or a snack bag of chips. It didn’t matter, Ellen was always thankful.
Despite our screwed up situation, it did help me and my sister grow closer. We were just that difference in age that it wasn’t easy for us to really bond, but I was the only one that really stuck with her. As she became more and more obviously pregnant, her few friends ‘drifting away’ or simply stopped talking to her.
Months passed. Ellen graduated with passing grades and looked positively enormous, even with the graduation gown. She smiled during pictures and I think that’s one of the last times she sincerely smiled.
Now that school was out though, there was no leaving the house. We were prisoners in our own home. I could only get on the computer with mom or dad lurking nearby, so no more pregnancy research, I had to rely off the notes I’d managed to take during the school year. I’d keep moving them around my room so that my parents couldn’t find them.
When Ellen went into labor, I thought my dad might kill her.
Ellen was on the couch moaning in pain, begging dad to call 911, she needed to go to the hospital. He just stood there, his arms crossed, and he glared down at her. “Enough’s enough! You! Are! Not! Pregnant!” He snapped. He wasn’t going to get help. He wasn’t going to let anyone get help.
What happened next is something I should’ve done a long time ago.
I attacked my dad. Seeing my sister in pain while my dad did nothing was what sent me over the edge. I grabbed a pair of scissors off the computer desk and charged with a banshee yell. I didn’t kill him, I was tempted, but I didn’t kill him. I stabbed him in the arm and as he toppled back, I helped Ellen off the couch and got her into her room.
We didn’t have locks on our door, but I blocked it off with a chair and prayed that would be enough. Ellen laid on her bed, clenching her sheets and screaming as another contraction shook her tiny frame.
The whole thing was a blur, really. I held my sister’s hand until she nearly crushed it, I got her old baby blanket out of the closet, and I told her that she could do this. Her screams shook the windows, at least I thought it was her screams shaking the windows… but I realized that the house was shaking.
I remember thinking that this would be the time for an earthquake when I realized it was time to catch the baby.
My niece was so tiny, so still, her skin was tinted blue and I thought she was dead… until she opened her mouth and cried.
My sister looked up at me, her face white as a sheet and covered in sweat. I did my best to clean off the baby and wrapped her in the blanket, handing her to my sister and smiled.
I heard footsteps behind me and I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Had my dad gotten in during the insanity? I turned around.
I can’t quite describe what was behind me, only that it was tall, its head brushed the ceiling. The room seemed to grow dark with its presence, its features hidden by a black cloak that brushed the floor.
I nearly jumped out of my skin when it spoke, its voice low and ominous. “Is the child healthy?” It asked.
I gulped. “I… I think so.”
My sister looked up and relief poured over her face. “You’re here… I thought you wouldn’t make it…” She said, a true smile crossing her face.
“I wouldn’t forget you.” The creature crossed to the bed and gingerly picked up my sister, I caught a glimpse of what was under the cloak’s hood.
Strangely, I think he was rather beautiful, with dusky blue features and eyes pure black. He nodded at me.
“She’ll carry a form of your name, child. And for your kindness.”
He pulled a small pouch from his pocket, setting it in my hand. I undid the string and sparkling gold pieces poured into my hand.
The strange man walked to the closet, opening it up, I could hear my niece squall and my sister excitedly tell the stranger how happy she was to see him.
The door closed behind him. I got to my feet and opened it up.
There was nothing there, except for a few of my sister’s dresses and some mismatched shoes. I sunk to the floor, wrapping my arms around myself and allowing myself to cry as my dad finally broke in.
I’ve never seen my sister again, although sometimes late at night, I can see a small child peering in from my closet… she has my sister’s eyes.