Chapter 18, "Baby"
Everyone reacted immediately, leaping up and rushing around, trying to figure out what to do. Frig screeched and wailed as more goo and slime streamed from every imaginable fold. The floor quickly flooded with the stuff. Frig's screams and everyone's frantic chatter blended together and I stood frozen, watching. I'd seen all kinds of crazy stuff, but I'd never seen this. And for once, I truly didn't know how to save her.
Xlormp yelled at Klaxie to do something, but for all his reading, he seemed just as stunned as I did. I wondered if he thought that perhaps she was indeed becoming some sort of astral body. It would be a very gooey one if that were the case.
This was ridiculous. The place was pandemonium and not one of us had bothered to do a lick of actual preparation for any complications that may arise. There had to be something I could do. Alien or not, Frig was still my friend. She still meant something to me. And right now, she looked like she was melting from the inside out.
Where did I leave the Sploober injector? Maybe giving her a dose would relieve some of the pain, if nothing else. She was clearly in agony. Her body wrenched back and forth, as Xlormp tried to hold her still, clearly panicking. I noticed that some of her alien limbs had begun to fall off.
I raced upstairs, hoping nothing terrible would happen in between the time it took me to find the Sploober injector and get back downstairs. I could do this. I could save her. One last time.
It was in my room, thankfully, right where I hoped it would be. I grabbed it and raced back down to the living room, Frig's screams filling my ears. The fluid still spewing from her now pooled an inch deep around her.
"Move!" I screamed at Xlormp, shoving him out of the way so that I could get a clear shot at her head. It was barely identifiable, covered as she was in this slime. I aimed as best I could and pulled the trigger, hearing the whizz of Sploobers enter her brain waves.
Frig stopped screaming. She stopped writhing at all, and fell flat to the ground.
"What did you do to her?" Xlormp yelled.
"I'm trying to help her!" I shouted back at him.
"Get out of the way!" Klaxie said, and I felt a slimy flipper force me backwards. "I see the head!"
The baby was coming. Oh god, I wasn't ready for it. I could feel the fresh sense of peace I'd had minutes before dissolving around me, turning back into panic and fear. The baby was coming. The baby was coming.
"It's a girl!" I cried, cupping the precious face in my flippers. The baby's eyes were so beautiful, I couldn't stand it. Just a little further, and she would be completely out.
As I pulled on the child, I marvelled at how much like Frig it looked. The eyes, anyway. The face was nice and green, just like us.
"Come on, baby, come join us, you've got a good home here," I coaxed her. And then a second head popped out.
"Oh my goodness!" I cried in delight. "It's a boy, too!"
"What?" I heard Tabitha say.
"It has two heads!" This one had Xlormp's eyes, or at least four of them, and a full head of brown hair like Frig. Both heads screamed at the shock of their new environment. I pulled once more, and the whole double baby came out, its feet and tentacles flapping freely in the fresh air. Tears welled up in my face. The baby. Monica's baby. We had done it.
The wailing is so loud that my sensors cannot process it, so I temporarily mute my system. Klaxie has pulled the baby from Frig, whom I love, and it looks to have two heads, a boy and a girl. How strange! The compulsion to hold it is overwhelming. I desire to coo and make funny faces at it. It floods my circuits.
"Klaxie, may I hold the baby?" I speak.
Klaxie looks into my eye cameras and, after a few moments, hands me the baby. Babies.
Somehow both of the baby heads remind me of Frig, and I love them both. I love both of these babies so much it is ridiculous. I want to take care of them and keep them safe. I love them as much as I love my father and my sister. These babies are family. They are my family. And I love them.
I watched as Frig lay on the ground, and I was so worried about her. She looked like she was in so much pain, and I only wanted her to be happy. I knew somewhere in my head that there was a baby now, but I didn't really care until I knew Frig was okay. What would my life be like if something bad were to happen to her?
"Frig!" I said, taking her hand in mine. "Frig, are you all right?" At first Frig didn't move at all. I began to worry a lot. "Frig, please, are you all right?" Could she even hear me? I held my head over her mouth to listen for breath. It was there. Very slight, but it was there. I heard the baby wailing behind me, being passed from person to person. Why did no one else care if Frig was okay?
Finally, finally, I saw her eyes open. "Frig, are you all right?" I asked again.
She smiled weakly at me. "Yes, Lou, I'm all right," she said. "I'm fine." I stared at her, affection for her swelling in me. She had understood me. She had understood me.
"Where is the baby?" she asked. I looked around. It was in her friend Tabitha's arms now.
"I'll get it for you, Frig," I said, giving her a quick kiss of relief on her forehead before standing up.
"May I see the baby, Tabitha?" I asked, holding my arms out. Tabitha gave me a look of surprise. "Sure, Lou," she said, and handed the baby over.
Had she understood me, too? So often, people seemed confused by the things I said. Perhaps it was just a happy accident.
I looked down at the creature in my arms. It definitely wasn't human, but it wasn't all alien, either. It looked a lot like Frig and Xlormp. And I wanted to keep it safe. I felt an instant rush of affection, as strong as my affection for Frig. Was I a grandfather now?
I carried the child(s) over to Frig, who remained lying on the floor. "Here they are, Frig," I said, passing the wailing babies into her arms. As she held them, pride swelled within me. "What are their names?"
I couldn't believe it. I didn't want to believe it. But I did. All at once. There was no way...she was so far gone...
But there she was. My Frig. All of her alien goo and muck melted off of her in the process of giving birth. She looked just as human as ever. Just as beautiful as ever. Holding her bizzare alien-human baby, she glowed in a way I'd never seen her glow before. I wanted to hold her. I wanted everything. She had come back.
I heard Lou ask her, "What are their names?"
Frig, my Frig, the one with the face that made my knees buckle and my heart clench, she smiled at Lou and whispered, "Wendy Elizabeth Marcus Jehosaphat O'Flannery Xlormpstilouserdash."
And then she passed out.