All throughout the night Wilma tried her best to keep quiet and allow George to sleep. She was in full blow labor throughout the night. This was turning out to be a tough pregnancy. She would make sure her babies knew what she had done for her. In the early morning she could stand the pain anymore. “George,” she whispered between contractions, “George!” she said with more vigor. He didn’t wake, “GEORGE!” she finally yelled.
“Huh?” he asked, “yeah, I’m up, I’m up…” he said with a big yawn.
“The babies are coming,” Wilma hissed with clenched teeth.
“Ok, ok, ok, what can I do?” he asked.
“Nothing!” she yelled as a contraction peaked.
“Ok, ok, ok,” he said and sprinted off to get out some nervous energy.
Several hours passed and Wilma still had not delivered her babies. George was getting nervous. Her last pregnancy was easy. The delivery was even simple. The kids popped out in less than two hours. The worst part was helping Wilma clean them.
Wilma groaned with effort as she pushed with no reward. George offer encouragement. “Ok,” he tried, “rest for the next couple of contractions. I’ll get you some food and you can regain your strength. Then you can push.”
“It’s not working,” Wilma said between breaths, “It’s not going to work…”
“I’ll get help!” George said and ran out of their hut. He began to wheek with all of his might. “Help, my wife needs help,” he called over and over again. George wheeked for so long and so loud his voice became sore. Silence was the only answer he received.
Wilma had been in labor for over 24 hours when George woke from a fitful sleep. He cursed himself for falling asleep. He called, “Wilma, my love?” She didn’t answer. Turning to see her George saw Wilma on her side. Her breathing was labored and heavy. “Oh, my love,” he said going to her again.
“George,” she whispered, “I’m going to die.”
“No, no you’re not,” he pleaded, “Don’t talk like that.”
“Yes, my love,” she sighed.
“I’ll get the humans,” he said and turned to go.
“George,” Wilma pleaded, “They are not coming back…”
The words hung in the air like a deadly fog.
“But, but,” he stuttered, “they are our humans; we are their guinea pigs. They can’t… They wouldn’t…”
“You’ve got to listen to me,” Wilma said urgently.
“Ok, ok,” he said turning back to Wilma.
Wilma’s voice was so soft that George strained to her, “Tell our babies that I love them. Tell them about me, our lives, and always remember me.”
“I will,” George promised as Wilma’s eyes closed. “I love you.”
Wilma took several more labored breaths and then was gone. George threw back his head and screamed, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”
George slept next to Wilma’s body. He dreamed that he had playfully woken him during the night with three new babies to love. As he drifted back into consciousness he realized that he was very cold. He felt a cold mass next to him and realized it was Wilma’s body. George got up and examined her. She was still dead. He stomach had gone still sometime in the night. His babies were dead. There was nothing he could do. George wandered out the main area of the cage. The fresh vegetables that they had shared only three days ago were rotten and starting to smell. He had no desire to eat. The love of his life and three babies were gone. George walked over to the water bottle and drank some water. It had not been changed in several days and now tasted foul. The pellet bowl only contained crumbs. George looked around hoping to see that the humans were back. But, the house was still empty and still silent. He walked over to the hut and lay down next to Wilma. He was going to lie next to her, his one and only love, and wait to die.
Next week the conclusion to “Forgotten Loves”. – KA