Strange Territory

4 min


Tethered by a single cord.

There is a steady beat. Like a drum that shakes every cell. There is darkness, but I feel surrounded and held. It is so warm, and safe? Maybe. The walls collapse in every so often, but it just fills me with anticipation. Like the world is about to change.

Then there is a sudden “SLAM”.

I am rocketed into the soft sides surrounding me. The drum rolls faster and faster until It is no more than a steady hum. I kick out, once, then twice, and start rolling in my small container. Then I feel the caress through the skin. These big areas of pressure that make me feel safe. The drum abates slightly, and I settle. Nothing is wrong.

Then I feel a tugging in my gut, an instinctual pull, and it drags me downward.
The sinking feeling makes me feel trepidation but also a sense that it is time.

And then there is a crushing pain. And I struggle. The drum beats steadily faster again, but it is less runaway, more enduring.

I feel as if I am moving towards something new.

This lasts quite a while, until I am ready to “be” ages ago.

I push against it. And press through

Into blindness.

And a weird substance fills me. Chilling my chest. It raises as it is forced open for the first time. Little strobes flutter around me in oversaturation. There is new noise. A mutter? And this loud piercing noise. Too much for my ears.

More, there is more, and the noises get still louder.

I feel jostled and am lain on something? Soft?

It is the outside.

It feels familiar.

The noise fades slightly, and the strobes.

I feel pressure on my sides. There are new hands on me that feel alien and yet a part of me. An extension of who I am.

My eyes open and wow.


That is interesting.


Mom had her in the entryway. They had barely managed to drag the poor woman inside. Her headscarf kept falling aside, and my mother kept flinging it back over her shoulder. The man wrung his hands and kept speaking in a strange language Charlie did not understand.

It was hectic. Charlie ran around the house and even out to the barn to grab things for her mother. The sheep bleated at her, having not been fed the first time. Charlie took note of this and raced back inside.

Her mother looked pretty relaxed all things considered. She had the phone on speaker with the hospital and kept smiling for the woman whose eyes were panicked.
“We know how to do this... right Charlie?” Mom said. Charlie nodded, thinking of the sheep. “It’ll be okay. They’re trying to send someone, but we’re so far out it may be easier to deliver the baby here, then go into town.”
Mom saw the man pacing.
“Charlie get him something. He is probably in shock. I’ll yell if I need you.”
Chuckie unhelpfully weaved around mom, but the woman grabbed into his golden fur, and it seemed to calm her down a bit.

Charlie looked to the man, and then led him to the kitchen by the elbow. She sat him at the table and then threw the blanket off the back of the sofa over him. He looked so funny wrapped up like a burrito. Charlie turned to the stovetop and made him some hot chocolate with milk from the Vityoviks. Every time she glanced back, he seemed to be slipping lower and lower on the table until when she turned around with the hot chocolate, he was fast asleep. So, she sat across from him and drank it. Analyzing him.
He had a cut over his left eye, and deep bags from a lack of sleep. His skin was a couple shades darker than hers, and the bones on his cheeks were handsome.


The woman took forever to deliver the baby. Mom assured Charlie this was normal. The man continued sleeping, and as the sun set. The baby came. It was bloody, but the lady was crying, and mom was crying, and Charlie started crying. And it opened its mouth, and the worst noises came from its little body.

Mom gave it to the mom, and she cradled it to her top. The little thing quieted and just blinked up at her.

The man stumbled into the room with the blanket on as a cape. He froze in the doorway, unsure, then the lady reached for him. The little family sat against the door. Rocking the little thing.

Mom went straight to the bathroom to wash everything, but she was smiling.


I woke up afraid. The roads had been too icy, and when I came back to myself Sahar was gasping. Not even calling out, she just had her little hand wrapped in my pants leg. The truck was still. A massive difference from the hectic drive previous. I blinked rapidly trying to make sense of my world.

There was still snow, and the afternoon sun. Little wisps of steam rose from the hood. And the baby, I tried to focus on Sahar, and she blended into the felted seats.

Then her eyes broke through my confusion. They were wide, and scared. Her hand over the sizable bump.

The veins on her neck stood out as she threw her head back into the seat, gripping me ever tighter.
“qadim qaribana!”

That shook me a little. This was not the place; we needed a hospital and a clean warm bed. I just sat and stared at her for a second, thinking. We were at least 50 kilometres out from the next city. I took the keys out, unsure if a damaged engine could result in an explosion of some kind. The truck had been cushioned by the trees. So, with any luck it would be fine.
Sahar let loose her first sound since our crash. It started low and then tore itself from her throat. qad yakun ladayha hdha altifl fi alsayarati. I thought frantically and settled my hands over hers squeezing. 'ana bihajat lilhusul ealaa musaeada, and with that thought I pushed myself away from her and shakily opened the door. I stumbled towards the road. And luckily there was a young girl walking by.
“marhabaan musaeadatan!”

She screamed and the dog barked wildly. I stopped approaching and held up my hands.
Oh no. I had to somehow communicate with her. The girl looked at me with eyes that have already known prejudice. I clenched my hands into fists, but then released them quickly.
We stood there for a moment. I was assessing the best way to show my intentions.
“marhabaan 'ayatuha alshshaba...”

I brought my hands in front of me hoping she was not so young that she did not know this universal sign of pregnancy.
“hubibi zawjati...”
The dog approached me, tail wagging.

Everything after that was a blur. I was not really “there” for any of it. The young girl, the dog, the farm, and then him. And that brought me back.

The little human resting against Sahar’s breast. His little red hands bunched up. He was so vocal. So excited to be alive.

It was only after the strange woman left the room that I kissed Sahar chastely on the forehead, thanking her for this gift. This boy that would be my world.


A few words for the author? Comment below. 0 comments

Take a look at our advice on commenting here

To post comments, please