“I won’t apologise so you can forget that. To apologise you have to be sorry and I just don’t feel sorry. I am a mother first and foremost and a mother’s principal role is to care for her child. Everything else is secondary. I know you can understand that. You don’t have children but you know enough to know that.
I can tell you what happened if that’s what you want and then I’ll go back to doing what I do; what I am here to do – to look after my baby. I’ll make a long story short because I have things to do but it should clear a few things up for you. Reporters are always after answers, right?
I carried Samantha for seven and a half months. I gave birth to her. I tried to feed her from the breast and changed her nappies. I winded her and sang lullabies. My every waking moment was taken up with looking after her. It still is.
New born babies are supposed to sleep for 18hours a day – did you know that? – but she never slept. She cried and cried and cried. I read on the internet that lots of babies pick up infections during birth, especially if it is a traumatic birth. And Samantha’s was definitely a traumatic birth. A traumatic birth after a traumatic conception.
I would hold her in my arms and she’d stare right at me, right through me – her little body stiff with the pain and the constant coughing. Weeks and weeks went by and she didn’t improve. Samantha didn’t sleep so I didn’t sleep. I had read lots on forums during my pregnancy about caring for a baby with colic but none of the ‘handy hints & tips!!’ – two exclamation marks, smiley face – were any use. We were both exhausted and my milk dried up, not that she’d taken to it anyway.
One afternoon a bird flew in through the window. I chased it with a brush and it hopped and flew and swooped into Samatha’s cot. It started screeching and I saw that Samantha had a grip on it with one hand. It pecked at me but I couldn’t pull it out of her hand. Her grip was too tight. She looked at me intently, looked right at me, and put her other hand on the bird’s neck and squeezed until it went limp. She wouldn’t let the dying bird go but she looked almost…happy for the first time. Her half smile filled me. I felt drunk and the rest is confusing but she …
Well, she ate the bird’s head. Just popped it in her mouth and clamped down and sucked. She was so hungry and thirsty and it sated her and things started progressing quickly from there. That was a year ago. She started thriving so I had to up her feeds. Birds just aren’t enough for a growing girl, I’m afraid. I tried introducing other foods to her diet but she never took to the poultry from the supermarket. It was only by a process of trial and error tha I worked out that her food has to be alive and so here we are. Here you are.
At least you have some answers. Maybe you can take some solace. When most people’s time is up they don’t get that. They just get wiped out in an instant by an overdose, car crash, whatever. At least you know your passing is serving a purpose: helping a little girl to survive. So it’s good that you’re here and that we’re recording this for posterity. You won’t feel much. I’m not a monster, I have no wish for you to suffer unnecessarily. The numbness you’re experiencing will counter any physical discomfort.
Now then, how do I turn off your dictaphone? Just press here? Okay, fine. It’s done. I’ll go and get her.”
[This story was written for Alex Moss who wanted a zombie story as a birthday present. In the original, Alex was the journalist who got eaten for this troubles. happy birthday, dude…for october or whenever it is]