Surprise, and surprise again.
part of her hurt. Jack knelt beside the bed, drowning in a mix of protectiveness and
"Easy Sally. Breathe deep.", the doctor said. He glanced up at her. Sally wondered if it
wouldn't just be easier to slice herself open and remove the baby that way. She had mentioned
that possibility to Dr. Frost earlier in the pregnancy, but he didn't think it was a good idea. At
the time she was willing to defer to his judgement. Now however...
"AAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaHHHH!!!!!!!!!", she howled. Jack quivered. Her
scream penetrated his bones. Sally's mind spun wildly. What exactly was a baby anyway? She
had never seen one before. How could it be worth this? She pushed hard and heard her stitching
snap in a most delicate area. Doctor Frost quickly brushed a white towel against her and laid it
aside. Red liquid flowers bloomed on the fabric. Jack jumped.
"Blood?", he asked in barely a whisper.
"She has blood in her body.", said Dr. Frost. "I did figure that much out. It isn't
in the extremities, but her torso has some blood. That's why I didn't think cutting you open
would be wise.", he explained, looking up. Sally dug her fingernails into the sheets as she
pushed again. The doctor reached for the towel and Jack averted his eye sockets. The King of
Halloween had never in his wildest thoughts believed he would have a problem with blood.
When it was from her though...
"Come here, Jack.", the doctor said. He motioned for Jack to move to the end of the bed.
Jack hesitated for a moment, then complied.
"You see that?", the doctor said. "You can see your baby's head."
Jack blinked. He smiled for the first time.
"Sally! Sally, I can see it!"
Sally looked up helplessly.
"Do you want to touch the baby's head?", Dr. Frost said. Sally cried and shook her head
as another push yielded more popped stitches. Right now she wanted to be anywhere other than
here, doing this. What was she thinking? Was this how it was going to end? With Dr.
Finklestein gloating that he had been correct all along and she wasn't capable of having a child?
It seemed that getting pregnant was the easy part.
Doctor Frost exhaled sharply and reached into his bag. He removed a small pair of
scissors and moved in between his patient's legs.
"What are you doing?", Jack asked.
"I need to cut her, just a little bit. If I don't, she will keep ripping and that's
Jack backed away a step. He cringed with every metallic clip of the blades. Sally wondered if
she was dying. She pushed again. Horrifying pain, then there was sudden frenzied commotion
at the foot of bed. She struggled to focus, then saw Jack's jaw fall open and he clapped his
hands over his mouth. Then...
The air was split by a scream. An ear-shattering screech. It was almost reptilian, but not
quite. Not quiet human, not quiet animal, sharp and unearthly. The doctor moved quickly to
gather up the tiny creature which had spilled out rather unceremoniously onto the bed. Used to
rosy, plump christmastown infants, Dr. Frost was distinctly unsettled by the little monster now in
his care. He faltered before lifting the child. It screamed again, pitifully, yet still loud beyond
description. The window panes shivered with the strange vibration.
"We have a son!", Jack said, his voice filled with awe. Sally was barely aware of her
discomfort melting away like frost on warm glass. The new prince was laid on her chest, and
Sally instinctually covered it with her hands, warming the tiny body.
"Hiiiiiiiiiiiii", Sally breathed. Her heart melted.
The child was quite small, a strong contrast to his obvious talent for projection. He was a
bone creature like Jack, as expected. His large eye sockets remained tightly closed, and he
whimpered, tasting the air with a thin, grey tongue. His white, bone-like structures were soft,
and just barely translucent.
"Here now Jack. You can do this." Dr. Frost handed Jack the small silver
scissors. Sally watched wide-eyed as they went about the usual business of cutting the umbilical
cord, weighing the child, and finally preparing a certificate to formally make him not only a
citizen, but no less than a prince of Halloweentown.
"The mayor drew this up for us.", Jack said breathlessly. He produced an official looking
document from the bedside stand. His long fingers trembled, resulting in a rather palsied
signature. Jack handed the fountain pen to his wife. Sally signed her name.
"I made him a blanket", she said softly. "In the bureau." Doctor Frost and Jack nodded
quickly, then turned and bumped into one another in a scramble to retrieve the item. The Doctor
thrust the folded blanket at Jack.
"Would you like to bundle up your son Jack?" It was partly an effort to include the
father in these precious first moments, and partly because the Christmas man was still just a bit
creeped out by the ghoulish infant. Jack fumbled with the crocheted baby blanket as the prince
squirmed. He was getting chilled, and losing patience with this whole "birth" thing. Jack
furrowed his brow in deep concentration as his son began to wail.
"Jack, let me hold him for a moment. I think he may be getting cold.", Sally said. As the
little one was again placed on her chest, she became vaguely aware of a startling pressure within
her body. The sensation was barely a footnote in her mind. She was engrossed. Once in her
arms, the baby calmed. He curled into a tight ball, and nestled into her, his lips moving in the
rhythmic signal of fulfilled baby security. Sally smiled. This was a baby. Her baby. He
automatically began gripping her with his spidery fingers and tiny toes, clinging to her. Sally
"Hello sweet baby. You're the one I've been feeling all this time? I'm so glad to meet
She tilted her head down and kissed him. She breathed deep and warm against her son. He
stretched towards her face, smelling her breath. Jack stared. It seemed like an image from a
painting. Sally had, in a matter of seconds, embraced her new role completely.
Dr. Frost smiled at Jack's wonderment.
"Ah, it's mommy love.", he explained. "I've seen it a million times. Seems it's the same
no matter what world one is in." He was moved himself at how sweet the scene appeared. Sally
with her ashen dead-hued skin, every part of her punctuated by the most garish of scars, and this
strange, monsterous child, were every bit as heart rending as the most cherubic elfen family.
Love was love.
Sally suddenly gasped. She opened her legs again and felt something inside her rushing
downward. She cried out. The Doctor snapped out of his peaceful mediation.
"Sally? Jack, take the baby for a moment, let's see what's the matter.", Jack lifted his
son from Sally. It was no easy task. The baby had already managed to attach himself to her
stitching and his grip was rather impressive. Finally prying him away resulting in a most
indignant and furious complaint. The window glass shivered again.
"OOooooh... Jack you better come here quickly.", said the doctor. Seconds late, a new
voice rang out. Sally's eyes were saucers. Her husband almost fell backwards.
"Twins? Twins!? Twins!"
"What?", Sally whimpered. She was soon rendered speechless as a second
wriggling, squealing baby quivered on top of her. Jack had to sit down. He looked at the child
in his arms, then at the one on his wife.
"Jack please say something.", Sally breathed.
"I...I... I'll need to get the mayor to write up another certificate." He gaped
silently before asking Dr. Frost:
"Do you...ah, do you think there may be any more in there?"