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Umbilicus

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Realistic Fantasy
UMBILICUS!

Submitted: November 05, 2019

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Submitted: November 05, 2019

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Umbilicus

He had become physically and emotionally attached to her during their one-way voyage to the stars. The scientists, light years away from them, on Earth, warned him that this might happen. Subconsciously, as they lay facing each other in a hibernated state. And at their re-awakening. He’d never expected to fall in love with her.

His eyes still sealed closed; he ran his closed hand along their umbilicus. He felt the coarse hair that sprouted along his length of their cord. How the skin of their umbilicus felt softer, smooth, as he lightly massaged the thick tube of flesh as far as her belly. Beyond their midway point. The point at which he would have to make the final cut.

Wrought with emotion, loving her proximity, relishing the intimacy that pulsed in thrilling heartbeats along the length of their umbilicus, he rubbed his heavy eyelids open, and admired her sleeping face, then started to cry.

She was pretty, rather than attractive. Her dark brown hair was lightly streaked with grey: a minor defect, a side-effect of their long haul through space. Otherwise, she was delightful, just as he remembered her when they were put to sleep: bushy eyebrows, cute snub nose, thin pink lips, a dimpled chin, and skin as pale as strawberry cream.

She was wearing the satin negligee.

Her mouth was full of purple corrugated tubing: the feeding tube that stretched and flexed down her throat, and ended inside her stomach. Her secondary tubes, connected to suction pumps and vacuum-flasks containing biodegradable waste digestion enzymes, removed their body waste.

His heart ached for her. To think, she’d kept him alive for thirty years: feeding him through the cord that bound them together with her own body nutrients, extracting then excreting his waste. He wondered how long he could survive without her before loneliness drove him insane.

She opened her eyes and stared, wide-eyed, wildly, at him, imploring him to assist her:

Please, help me pull this tube out of me.

Weeks of careful rehearsal in their co-habitual, germ-free laboratory back home; rehearsal in his mind, could never prepare him for the indiscretion, the blatant intrusion that he was about to make. He hated the thought of hurting her, killing her, hoped she wouldn’t feel any pain, his pain.

She grasped the flexi-tube with both hands. He wrapped his fingers around her hands. Slowly, they inched the degradable plastic drip up her gullet, through her throat, her mouth. They breathed a collective sigh of relief as she flicked the feed from out of her lips, and smiled.

He shut his moist eyes for a moment, stemming his tears. She hadn’t hurt, thank heavens. He hadn’t hurt her. His mind churned with guilt as he envisaged her sad death, their wretched disconnection. He wanted to turn away, to be alone with his thoughts awhile, but couldn’t: their umbilicus forced them to be as one.

Would that we could stay entwined like this forever in our galactic paradise of love, he mused.

‘How does that feel, Sandie? Better?’ he asked her.

‘Mm, much,’ she murmured appreciatively, ‘Thank you.’

‘Don’t mention it.’

He started to cry again, couldn’t help himself, had grown fond of her, loved her until her death. She pretended not to notice,

‘Look away while I remove my waste tubes,’ she said.

Being a gentleman and an astronaut, he diverted his attention from her while she fiddled under her negligee, extricated her drains, and duly flicked them aside.

Relieved at last, she pushed a slim hand through his wavy auburn hair, caressing his right earlobe with her thumb, stroking his cheek. The man had grown a faint beard of facial swarth, she felt, as well as the bushy hair,

‘You can kiss me now, if you like?’

She drew his face close to hers, and they kissed, a deep, wet, longing kiss which seemed to take an eternity. He slid his hand over the silkiness covering her back, gently lifting up her negligee, and squeezed her soft, fleshy buttocks. She felt sorry for him.

He loved her. With a desperation which only thirty years of being co-joined in mutual hibernation could bring. She removed his hand and gazed into his deep sapphire eyes. He was crying for her, crying for her life.

‘Please don’t cry,’ she whispered, ‘I hate it when you cry. I have to go now. My time with you is over. I think you should cut our umbilicus, don’t you?’

‘I can’t!’ he wailed, ‘I love you!’

‘Furl! You must kill me! Only by killing me can you be certain of your own survival. You know Control decreed that only one of us would survive awakening to accomplish the Mission.’

He reached for the razor-sharp filleting knife behind his back,

‘Sandie, she’ll never know! We have achieved total radio silence. Even if she managed to re-establish contact with us, it would take thirty years for her to get through! By then we would have started a family! A colony, here on our own private world. We might live to a ripe old age, become grandparents, even great grandparents, we…’

‘Furl!’ she hissed, ‘We only have sufficient nutrient for one of us. Can’t you see that? Kill me!’

‘I can’t!’ he lied, ‘I love you. I can’t kill you.’

She braced herself, braced herself for his final cut,

‘You must! Now, do it! Please! Kill me!’

He took the razor-sharp filleting knife, grasped the soft, smooth, hairless end of her umbilicus, then sliced through her, cut through her as if he were slicing meat off her chorizo, her saveloy, her thick sausage of umbilical cord.

To his astonishment, she smiled back at him, defiantly: a thin, cruel smile. He stared at her uncomprehendingly. The knife slipped from his hand. Furl clutched his writhing, wriggling, squirming, length of umbilicus as blood gushed out of him, like red-rusty fluid from a burst water main.

Her nightie was saturated with his blood. Sandie left him to die in agony. She stood, then peeled off her blood-soaked nightie. She took one last look at the man, twitching, dying in their womb. Then Sandie climbed out of the capsule and surveyed the barren rocky terrain.

Proxima B was no place to bring up human children.

They waited for her beside the green algal sea, the mouths in their distended stomachs stretched wide in eager anticipation of her arrival. Sandie greeted them, arms outstretched, strutting confidently towards them. Her umbilicus extended, she felt their love on her, in her, crawling over her, inside her.

Together they created new life…


© Copyright 2020 HJFURL. All rights reserved.

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