I’m tied down, again.
Why do I keep doing this to myself, I can’t help thinking. The two men standing over me don’t look pleased. I decide to name them Butch and Larry. They are frowning down at my bare gut, muttering in Russian.
“Can you please tell me what is going on?” I ask Butch.
The men don’t even pause. Larry takes out an I-Phone-looking-thing and presses it to my stomach. He sighs and nods at the other Butch. They both look me in the face, disappointed, yet, resigned. They untie me and hoist me up between them. I’m not a big man, but, neither are they.
As they drag me towards the entry way, the apartment door opens. My roommates walk in. They are talking about Radiohead. They stop and stare. I’m stark naked, crucified between two strangers.
“Hi guys. This is Butch and Larry. Mind giving me a hand?”
The floor comes up and hits me on the nose. There is a scuffle. I roll onto my back and watch as Butch and Larry find themselves pinned to the ground next to me. It is cold.
“What is going on?” M asks.
I try to shrug. “The usual?”
He sighs. “Why are these guys carrying you, naked, around our apartment?”
“Hell if I know, ask them,” I say, pulling myself up and against the wall. I rub the back of my head where they’d hit me. “They just came up behind me in the kitchen and when I came around they had me tied to the table, stripped.”
N looks down at Butch. He asks him something in Russian. Butch begins speaking rapidly. N nods along, politely. When he finishes N frowns. He asks another question. Butch responds with a ‘yes’. I look at N, he looks at me.
“What is it?” I ask.
N shakes his head.
“What?” I ask.
N sighs, “he says you’re pregnant.”
M laughs, I laugh, Butch and Larry struggle beneath respective pairs of knees. N doesn’t laugh.
“He seems pretty convinced.”
“Sure,” I say, standing up. “I’m going to throw some pants on and then we can call the cops.”
Butch hollers something after me. I ignore him. I come back out a few minutes later, clothed. Butch and Larry are at the kitchen table, steaming cups of coffee in front of them. N is standing next to the table, M is strumming a guitar. I frown.
“What the hell is this?”
N raises an eyebrow at me. “I think they’re telling the truth,” he says, softly.
“Oh, come on!” I say, beginning to feel annoyed. I start to say something else, or at the very least, think of something else to say, but, I’m cut off. N presses something in his hand. Then, between the sink and the refrigerator opens up into a portal of light.
We all stare at it. N clicks again and the door closes. I catch my breath,
“What—what the hell was that?” I ask.
N shrugs, “another dimension, according to this one.”
“Mhm. And what does this have to do with me being pregnant?”
N asks Butch a question. Butch responds and N nods. He turns to me.
“If I understand right, they can’t have babies anymore there. So, they use people from our dimension as, uh, hosts? Hosts is the right word, right?”
M nods behind his guitar. “Or mother,” he says.
I can’t tell if he is genuine or not; I’m still trying to put everything together. I look around at the room of faces. Pity in all their eyes.
N speaks first. “Normally, they just cut a small hole and use the host for a short period then, pull it out before they even notice. But, they said there were complications. So,” N pauses, “you have to go with them. Don’t worry, M and I will come too, but, you have to.”
I take a step back and subconsciously rub my stomach. “Nuh-uh” I manage.
N steps forward.
“They say it could cause serious health problems if you don’t. I—I’m sorry.”
He reaches out and grabs my hand. With his other hand he presses something. The portal of light opens. Butch and Larry stand. They walk through first. M follows. I walk toward the light. I turn around. N looks at me and nods.
I look back and frown, hard. “What the—“
N pushes me through the portal.
TO BE CONTINUED…