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Paloma Rose: A Sleeping Beauty

Retelling of sleeping beauty

By LEFPublished 10 months ago 9 min read

I’m supposed to die today! or more like it’s assumed I won’t live past this day.

“Happy Sweet Sixteen” to me such a sentimental thought for a melancholic day like this one, Paloma thought, as she got herself ready. Her mother Lola walked in to give her birthday wishes and to carry out their usual tradition of retelling her birth story. “Are you ready?” Lola questions as she snuggles in next to her daughter.

Like many children born then, Paloma was in poor health from the beginning, her heartbeat was so faintly inconspicuous, one doctor was convinced it was nonexistent but luckily for her, they relied on technology and not an old man’s hearing to determine vitality of new babies.

Her mother Lola was a prominent scientist trying to reduce the effects of catastrophic pollution on Earth which had left the world almost uninhabitable. World birthrates had declined to only .5 births per thousand people and with the population already decimated by violent weather, food shortages and ramped viruses, each new life was vital for the survival of mankind. She knew that it was more than just an inner calling to become a mother, it was also necessary to save their species. Lola and her husband Salvador had waited for many years to be able to start a family together, as they had hoped to create a safer world to raise their children in first.

Dr. Salvador Santos research was funded by the Cartel Organization, he developed a decontaminated growing chamber to continue the production of La Motta, the best-known pharmaceutical for the treatment of cancer, pain management and a host of symptoms caused by chronic pollution syndrome. His research development team also developed food production that was nontoxic, as Earth’s soil can no longer produce edible food, it was vital for their team to create the growth chambers, providing food world-wide.

At 42 years-old, Lola’s body had been exposed to years of pollution in the environment, but she was one of the healthier women for her age, since she had access to food from growth chambers, which the average person can’t afford these luxuries, she was a leader in world pollution research and recovery efforts, she took all necessary precautions to protect her and Salvador’s health.

Their large estate was built high in the mountains where the weather anomalies were more stabilized. Once you entered the gates, large air scrubbers could be seen if you knew what you were looking for...disguised as elegant statues, they removed 99% of the particulates out of the air. All their water was sourced from the mountain itself, then filtered. With such luxuries available, it would be relatively safe to assume she would be a great candidate for child production. She passed all the physicals and social requirements mandated to conceive; her next step was to have a viable egg implanted.

Something in the past that was so simple that anybody was capable, now was heavily regulated to ensure that each baby conceived had the best chance for survival. “Every Life” was the slogan plastered on the walls at the hospital where Lola had to choose if she wanted a boy or a girl. Like most people, the obvious choice was a girl so that the world could continue life. After the egg was implanted, she was mandated to remain at her home until the birth of her child to reduce exposure to the elements.

She had one week until her pregnancy would take full effect, allowing time to get her affairs in order for her gestation period. The first few days were spent gathering her research data from her office, then having it moved into her home office where Salvador had extra air scrubbers installed and updated the decontamination chamber at the entrance to ensure any guests would pass the health and safety check before entering. One would think he was already just an overprotective dad, but he has seen the effects the viruses have had on unborn children, he was not willing to risk his baby’s health.

Lola was so proud of all his efforts; she could already tell he was going to be a great dad. He had spent the previous three months readying the baby’s nursery, which he refused to show Lola until it was finished. Along with the latest technology for purification, he painted a mural of a sun setting behind the mountain overlooking a large Spanish villa on the wall opposite of the crib. All the furniture was hand selected from the finest organic grown woods and fabrics. The real surprise was that he had a live red rose bush, he had been cultivating and growing it in a corner of the house, a plant that had been extent for 50 years was thriving in her bedroom.

Day one of her gestation period didn’t go as planned, somewhere along the way she had caught the Renopneumovirus or more commonly known, RPV-98. She had found herself unable to get out of bed. Salvador was beside himself; after all the precautions he had taken, it was still not enough to protect them, he felt helpless. They couldn’t have predicted that the new virus would spread across the world in a matter of weeks, bring it to their town the exact moment they finally decide they were ready to start their family. He had spent the next few days using all his research technology to treat his wife, RPV-98 would reduce the world’s already struggling population another 15%, however he would not let Lola become a statistic. On the fifth day, she could barely breath by herself, her kidneys were starting to lose function, still Salvador was positive his treatment would save her life. As he sat there holding her hand watching as she grasped for air, he soothed her with his words, reading her favorite book aloud in his deep tranquil voice.

Day 12 was a blessed day at the Santos’s house, Lola’s health had returned, as all her body functions read normal, although she was weak and still needed rest, she was on the road to a full recovery. They celebrated this victorious moment with a toast, literally two pieces of toast because she was unable to eat much, let alone drink champagne.

As her belly began to grow, the Santos’s where excited to watch the launch of the first capsule that contained civilian population, being sent to Proxima Centauri b to grow the colonies, which was currently composed of military, scientist, civil engineers and their families. It was a long journey but the promise of a future was worth the trip. Santos and Lola felt like this was the beginning of Earth’s abandonment, nonetheless human life must live on…somewhere.

Nine months had gone by faster than they expected, it was already time to name the baby for the official registry. Althoug both had been researching baby names that they felt would be fitting for their little princess, one had not been chosen yet. “What is the name of the flower that grows in her room?” Lola gestured towards the nursery “Oh…it’s a Rosa Rubiginosa also known as a rose,” he thought about it for a moment “that’s a lovely name…but what about Paloma like my grandmother?” The registry paperwork was completed, Paloma Rose Santos would be added to the official data base with an expected arrival in three weeks.

The last week of pregnancy seemed to be the hardest part for Lola, who was ready to have her own body back and to hold her baby close. The minutes seems to have stopped moving forward as she waited for the first signs of labor. Everything was prepared for the birth and for the first time since the embryo was implanted, they both just felt at peace, excited about becoming parents and having a happy little family.

Delivery was relatively easy compared to some of the horror stories they had read about in their research because scientists have a habit looking at worst-case scenarios , they had planned for that. As soon as the baby was born, the nurses took her to run their initial evaluation, it didn’t take long to realize something was wrong. They had expected to hear cries but the room was quite, the look on the nurse’s face was the most terrifying thing a new parent could see, leading the Santos’s to brace themselves for the worst as they quickly whisked the baby to another room. Dr. Millicent was quickly called in to assess Paloma’s health.

“She won’t make the night; it seems her heart is failing rapidly… we could barely get a reading. We’ve had a large number of births this month with similar cases, it appears that mothers who were exposed to RPV-98 while pregnant, have passed the virus to the baby in utero, which has caused a number of health concerns…” Dr. Millicent was looking through her medical records “but I don’t see that you have been treated or exposed.” Tears were flowing from both parents as they tried their best to listen “she was sick the first week of gestation, we didn’t see anything that said the baby was at risk…we treated her at home.” Dr. Millicent listened with a cold detached manner, “these are the first babies born since this new virus emerged so we will know much more in the coming months.”

Paloma was brought back into her parent’s room with tubes connecting her to a LIFE machine meant to keep her breathing. She was placed on her mother’s bare chest and cover by Lola’s rob, as the machines where disconnected, Salvador placed one hand on Paloma’s back and one on Lola’s shoulder, as the three slowly breathed together not saying a word. To everyone’s surprise, the following morning Paloma was still fighting and though her heart was still weak, it started to grow stronger.

After a month in the neo-natal unit, she was finally ready to go home, dressed in a beautiful white lace dress, all her family gathered around. The three grandmas stood over her basinet admiring the little princess, “oh she is the most beautiful baby I have ever seen” said one of the ladies, “Oh yes… I can tell by her cry she will have a lovely voice like a bird’s song.”

Dr. Millicent agreeing with the old ladies, “Yes but her heart is very weak and though she has grown strong enough to be cared for at home she will not live very long, the atmosphere outside will only deteriorate her health, she has a life expectancy of 15 years, she most likely won’t see her 16th birthday… poor child.” All the joy in the room had left as the darkness surrounded everybody with those cold words. “She will be a very sickly child.”

The third grandma, Salvador’s mother, Meriweather, still focused on little Paloma’s looks, as she whispered in a tone that all could hear, “you have the two smartest parents in the world, you are in good hands…I know you will live a long, beautiful life…they will see to it.” Softening the words of the doctor and reminding those around that this doesn’t have to be the end, they could fight for her.

The first night was strange to have a baby up at all hours as they joyously ran around trying to answer her every whim. The exhausting pleasure of parenthood was settling in nicely as they thought about what was said at the hospital and they decided she was worth fighting for. Together they built an ultra-sanitized decontaminated sanctuary inside their home, where the environmental elements would be eliminated giving Paloma a world that she could thrive in.

For years she never left the house, everything she needed was deliver to her. This worked for a while but like all kids, she wanted more, she wanted to play outside, see the world, meet new friends and to escape. Her parents grew concerned about their abilities to keep her happy as it started to feel like a lonely place in there for her to be in.

They had work diligently to try to improve the world through science but Earth had been forsaken, a hopeless pile of rocks that was slowly killing all humans. Lola and Salvador did what any good parents would do, they gathered all their research and resources together, booked passage on the next transport to Proxima Centauri b.

Their scheduled departure was today, on Paloma’s 16th birthday, as they got ready in the shuttle her parents gather for a small celebration. “It’s time” a nurse interrupted “we must go”. The three of them followed the nurse down a sterile hallway into a private room with three sleeping chambers, where they would be in Cryosleep for the next 100 years, until they reached their new lives.

So, with a prick of the needle, our dear sleeping beauty, Paloma, was put slumber until she is awaked at the space center Port-au-Prince.

Fable

About the Creator

LEF

endless stories swirl in my head fueled by coffee!

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Comments (1)

  • DJ Servahits10 months ago

    Enjoyed!

LEFWritten by LEF

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