Suzy went in to labor. The contraction first came agonizingly slow. The pain was unreel at first. Soon every sense of time evaporated. Would there every come an end to it?

She screamed, nearly exhausted, pushing like her life depending on it. In fact it did. The soldiers were advancing and the seclusion and protection of the monastery of Saint-Jude wouldn’t protect her. In a world were God ruled supreme only a desperate ruler would violate the Sacred Pact, monasteries were deemed neutral and a safe heaven from prosecution.

How could she have been so stupid. If your job is having horny men have their way you can’t bodge up your cycle. It got her pregnant. So she wound up here, the job she had done from the moment she arrived here as an ignorant redhead farm girl out of Sud-Passage, looking for a better life till now, was over.

She tried to get rid of it, spend three days comatose.

‘You have been kissed by God,’ the old nun said.

‘The child?’

‘It’s in perfect health, our lord wants this child, foolish girl. You should keep it.’

She should talk, Suzy thought embittered. She couldn’t get children.

Her wrinkles on her fatigued face were not from effort or pain, though. Despair ruled her mind and heart.

So tired, the ceiling went spinning and faded.

The funny thing was the only thing she seemed to notice at that time the walls were painted sloppy. She too, wanting to be perfect white, but stained beyond saving.

‘Good girl, keep pushing, you are almost there, I can see the head.’

A burst of pain, she screamed. An odd sensation then a distant crying. From where did it come?

‘Congratulations, dear, it’ s a girl…oh, my!’

‘What’s the matter, is something wrong with my baby?’

‘It’s…no, there is nothing. Get some rest.’

She was holding something back, what could be so bad. Why would she lie?’

‘Can I hold her.’

‘She has to be cleaned first,’ Mary said.

‘I want to hold her.’

‘No, you can’t, get some rest.’

The baby started screaming again. The head nun left the room. Suzy wanted to protest. But she was too tired.

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