The Son She Never Knew

The Sun Stone was warm to the touch, despite the coolness of the evening. Its lichen encrusted surface cast a long shadow, like death, except without the scythe. No … like a nun.

In the dusk, the shadows of the standing stones reminded me of a murder of nuns, and they were equally as foreboding.

That thought sent a shiver down my spine. This was not the place to think about nuns, or all that they stood for.

I gasped as the pain shuddered through my body and fell to the ground. Grunting, I fought the urge to push, and also fight the fear within.

‘I’m too young to die,’ I thought, ‘and too young to have this baby that’s trying to rip its way out of my belly.’

I’d heard the tales in the village, about the girls that lived up on the hill, the bad girls who’d slept with boys. I’d seen them marched to and from the church every Sunday, guarded by their sharp-faced penguin chaperones. I didn’t want to become one of them. I’d never live it down. No, it was better to hide my shame away. No one must ever know.

The pain came again, stronger this time. I bit down on my shoe to prevent myself from crying out.

The bog were a strange place, sound travelled here. I couldn’t risk being caught.

Sweat pored off my body as daylight disappeared in a mountain of pain.

So much to bear with nothing more than a muffled whimper to acknowledge its existence.

Finally, as dawn arrived, so too did my baby. He was as blue and cold as the stones around me: stillborn.

Weeping, and weak with exhaustion, I dug a shallow grave with my bare hands, when it was done, I placed him beside the Sun Stone, hoping it would give him the warmth that I never could.

I begged his forgiveness. He was the only one who would understand.

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