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Adila braced herself against the railing of the fire escape steps.
You can do this, she told herself. It won’t hurt that bad. Not as bad as childbirth. Think of that. Think of what everyone will say. They’ll never believe it’s an immaculate conception. Come on, you don’t even believe it. Not really. So get it over with. Just let go, and gravity will do the rest. Nothing could be easier.
Adila knew it was a lie, but sometimes you had to lie to yourself to get through certain things. She backed up as far as she could, shut her eyes tight, and without thinking about it too hard, threw herself down the fire escape.
She awoke in a strange bed, loaded with pillows, surrounded by beeping machines. There was light everywhere and a female figure standing over her.
“I’m afraid not.”
Adila recognized the voice and groaned. “What are you doing here?”
“I should be asking you the same question. We’re very worried about your determination to harm yourself.”
“I’m not the one I’m trying to harm.”
“They’re one and the same. Hurt the baby and you hurt yourself. Hurt yourself and you hurt the baby.”
“Then why can’t I get rid of it?”
“Well, the baby has certain protections you don’t.”
Adila laughed. “So I can kill myself and the baby would still survive, huh?”
“Some – not all – but some of the protections have been extended to you as well. At least for the duration of your pregnancy, you cannot be killed.”
Adila’s eyes shot open and she tried to sit up before the shooting pain behind her eyes let her know that would not be happening. She slowly lay back as she said, “Wait. You mean I’m invincible?”
“For the time being. But as I said, only while you remain pregnant with this child.”
“So, I’m like a superhero?”
This time it was the angel who groaned. “Please. I must ask you not to do anything rash. Contrary to your beliefs, Our Supreme Being is not all powerful. There are certain things beyond even their control. For example, as much as we would like to stop you from trying to harm yourself…”
“You cannot control free will, yeah, yeah, I got that part of the message.”
“I know it is common for people to tell pregnant women they are carrying a precious burden, but it has never been more true than in your case.”
Adila heaved a heavy sigh. “But I don’t want it. Isn’t the ability to change our mind part of free will?”
“Yes, but once certain events have been set in motion, there is no going back, not even for Our Supreme Being. They are very sorry for the distress this has caused you, but there is nothing to be done about it now.”
Adila thought about crying, but she was too tired. “All right. What else should I know?”
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