"Date: March 4th, 1930. Time of death 2:35am" the doctor said as they draped the body of the newborn child. Mrs. Ann Danish died during the birth of what was to be her third child. The oldest son, age 9, Albany, sat in the waiting room with his sister Anne-Marie. She was 7 years old but wise far beyond her years. Their father Castor Danish called her his "Old Lady."
When he entered the waiting room the children rose quickly to their feet. Not to hear whether or not the child was indeed a boy as Albany hoped it'd be or a girl as Anne-Marie prayed, but because that was what they were taught to do. Whenever someone with great respect entered a room you stood and made direct eye contact.
But this time their father could not meet the stare.
Castor walked past his children and into the night. Anne-Marie looked at Albany, whose golden blond hair curled at his shoulders in the same way as his mothers, shrugged. They watched as their father walked outside and fell to his knees. Albany began to run towards him but Anne-Marie grabbed his shoulder.
"Let me go!" Albany shouted. He pulled Anne-Marie's fingers from his shoulder and she pulled the back of his shirt.
"I don't think you should go out there" she said. "I think something bad happened.”
In the delivery room the body of Ann Danish had not been retrieved, nor had the body of their infant son. During birth the child had was wrapped in the umbilical cord. It was around his neck three times. The fact that he had not died months prior was shocking to the hospital staff. A nurse walked over to the child's body and crossed herself as she lifted the small powder blue sheet from the child. She gasped when she saw the child.
"Doctor Nelson!" she screamed so loudly that most of the staff on the floor was alarmed. When Doctor Nelson arrived she pointed to the child on the table. He was alive. His skin was an ashen gray. His eyes were pure black. So dark that not even the light from the overhead light cast a shine in them. Babies are born blind. That is well known. But this child appeared to stare at them.
When Doctor Nelson pulled his stethoscope from around his neck and placed it on the child's chest he heard a slow, steady heartbeat. Not the heartbeat of a newborn child.
"Quickly, let's get this child to the Intensive Care Unit!" he yelled at no one in particular. They quickly rushed the child out of the room. "This baby should not be alive", he said as he began to attach an oxygen mask to his face. "This is impossible."
"I will go and tell the father that his son did indeed survive" a nurse said as she left the ICU. She ran past the children seated in the waiting room and found the father outside staring at the sky. It was a chilly night, nearly 45 degrees, but when she neared Castor Danish she could have sworn that it got even colder.
"Sir?" she said. Castor Danish sighed heavily before looking at the nurse.
"I do not have the heart that she did. I cannot take care of the children. I can not even find the strength to tell them that their mother and baby brother are both dead." He looked past the nurse at his children. His beautiful Anne-Marie. Hair as dark as a ravens feathers. Beautiful beyond her years and just as knowledgeable. The spitting image of her mother as a child. Oh, how he loved her then. Unable to fathom that he could grow to love her more as they aged. Having more trouble imagining a life without her.
And his son Albany. Small and delicate. With golden hair that appeared as if it were spun from gold. He prayed that his son would grow up strong. Beauty like his was no longer worshiped. It was look upon like a curse for a male.
"Your son survived" the nurse said. "He just...woke up."
"Where is he?!", Castor Danish asked. He was releasing the nurse from his grip before he knew he had even made a move towards her. His eyes were wild with grief at the loss of his wife and the shock of his son's survival.
"In the ICU, sir" she said as she rubbed her shoulders. "He may not survive in his state. I am not sure if you want to see him as the way he is right now. He looks...different."
"I do not care. Take me to him!" Castor Danish said as he headed towards the door with the nurse. His children looked at him imploringly. He smiled at them and patted his son on the head and kissed his daughter on the cheek.
"Are you okay, father?" Albany asked.
"I will be" he lied to his son. He asked for God's forgiveness. He followed the nurse into a room full of machines. He saw a tiny figure among tubes, wires, and blankets. "Take him out of that thing" he said, motioning towards to incubator.
"But he'll die" the nurse said.
"No he wont" Castor Danish said. "He'll never die."