So, this is what I’ve been working on for a little while now. I am finally ready to share the first chapter with you guys. I hope you like it. Our secret!!
It had been five nightmarish years since the last recorded pregnancy. At least that is what the blogs and papers echoed across the world. Women were undergoing clinical trials which often seemed like various forms of torture. These exams were taking place all over the globe. There were reports of countries hiring women as young as eighteen years old. This was an effort to help boost the dwindling populations. Some of the hardest-hit countries were already dealing with problematic birth rates. Due to the hysteria, some countries ended up on the predator list. Many of these countries were once defenders of the law. Yet, the virus changed the face of right and wrong. A few countries developed charges for taking school-aged girls and holding them. The girls would remain at the clinics until their fertility was no longer in question.
It turned out the side effects of experimental drugs used to fight off the flu of the century, were a bit harsher than anyone realized. The number one side effect found in women was a systematic attack on the reproductive system. The government didn’t tell citizens about the threat because it was the only way to treat the pandemic. To prevent millions from dying across the globe, governments took drastic actions. Nation after nation started to see their pregnancy rates decline. Governments banded together with the intent of correcting the problem before it was too late. Countries that hated each other for generations, became co-authors of treatments. There was one goal and that goal was finding future treatments. Preserving humanity ranked higher than century-old wars in this shattered new world.
Countries started to lose hope after years of secretive clinical practices by top scientific minds. The procedures used to treat infertility issues in the past were no longer working. Soon panic entered the air. Countries like Italy turned to outsiders, who offered a fail-proof alternative to infertility. Within five years, Italy was the first to see a rebound in pregnancy. The alternative inserted itself as the new natural design for infertility issues. A few months later, the new practice gained international attention. With ongoing successes reported in the mainstream media; the treatment went global. The alternative to natural conception now available across the world would set a new standard.
On the eve of one of the most important events in America, thousands of women flocked to their clinics. In a matter of hours, lives would be forever changed for better or for worse. Before slipping the small bottle under her seat, Sloan swallowed her last sip of water. She looked across the room and counted two thin women seated across from her. Sloan leaned out a little further in her chair. Struggling to get a better gauge on the women in the glass offices, she faked a semi stretch. With pessimism starting to show its ugly head, Sloan reached down and took hold of a folded piece of paper. She repeated her favorite quote and leaned her head against her chair.
“Please, make sure you have your banking information ready for verification and employer’s number.” A steely female tried to clear her throat before it cracked over the intercom.
Sloan reached down into her purse and pulled out her last two pay stubs. She grabbed her cell phone with her banking information saved by a simple screenshot. Trying not to appear on the nosy side, Sloan pulled her dark hair over her shoulder as she glanced back at the other women seated in the clinic. Both women took their brown leather folders out of their expensive purses; with papers stacking at least half an inch high.
“Mrs. Katherine Mitchell, can you please approach the desk?” A small lady beckoned in the direction of a glass window with two chairs centered in the middle of the room. “I need your address, a letter from your landlord, and other vital information.”
Mrs. Mitchell opened her folder and pulled out a stack of documents as she was led into the glass office surrounded by security cameras.
At least an hour passed by before Mrs. Michell walked back into the waiting room. Her red hair was no longer fastened in a neat little braid cascading down the side of her shoulder. Her face held a tearful, yet sour expression deepening every second.
Sloan looked in Mrs. Michell’s direction then looked back at the desk. “I have another bottle of water if you need something to drink.”
“Are you sure you don’t want it? I could pay you for it.” Katherine paused and waited for a response.
Sloan reached down into her purse. “Oh goodness no! I have drunk like five bottles of water from this morning to now. I’m surprised I’ve been able to go this long without using the bathroom.”
“Yeah, I know what you mean. This process is intense.”
The lady behind the glass door stepped into the doorway. “Please, do not talk about the process with anyone outside of the people we discussed. I would hate to see you eliminated from the program over confidentiality issues. “
“Sorry.” Sloan looked down at the floor with embarrassment. “I didn’t mean to pry; I was only referring to the waiting. It’s not that I mind waiting…”
The lady turned to walk away before Sloan could finish her sentence. “Consider yourself warned, make sure your papers are in order.”
Twenty minutes later, the same woman who called Katherine into her office, stepped into the lobby. Her glasses were now dangling from a string draped across her neck. “Sloan Viessman, we are now ready to assess your file.”
Sloan took out her two pay stubs and her cellphone. Last year she was a student at Parker University and now she was on her way to adulthood. As the hours passed by, fear began to sink in. The process was commencing with an air of uncertainty. A bit of nausea hit Sloan’s stomach as she stepped into the office.
“Nice to meet you, I am Carmella Night. I will ask you a few questions and this will help us decide on your participation. What makes you think you are a good candidate for this medical trial?” Carmella placed her long fingers around her pen and gazed at Sloan.
“I like kids.”
“Have you ever considered getting a job in childcare?”
Sloan paused briefly. “I work at a school, four days a week. I’m happiest when I am with the children. I go home to my little apartment with my two cats Bacon, and Mr. Fries. Then, it hits me, I want more. I want to be a mom.”
“How are your finances?”
Sloan pulled out her phone and held it towards Carmella’s face. “I have five thousand dollars saved up. I keep an emergency fund. I have an extra thing of food in a storage building, in case something happens. I bring home almost four thousand dollars a month. My bills are nearly fifteen hundred, depending on a few rotating subscriptions.”
Carmella placed her pen down and tapped her index finger on the table. “Why do you keep extra food in a storage container? Are you a doomsday person?”
“No. A few years ago, a tornado hit my area. Our electricity was off for about a week. At the time, we couldn’t cook anything. Later, I went on this website selling crates of food for emergencies and purchased one. I am a planner.”
“Okay, that makes sense.”
“There are some benefits to be the first patients in America. For example, you will get money after the process is over. We give our participants 250,000 after the baby is born.”
“I don’t need money. Having the baby is payment enough.”
Carmella leaned in and took her glasses off her face. “In a world free of chaos, you would be right, but we are screening you. We work on a quid pro quo basis.”
“What is a quid pro quo basis?”
“It’s simple, this pregnancy belongs to the company. We are under contract to meet certain obligations. These obligations are orders placed before our arrival in America. Meaning, you would be a surrogate for this pregnancy. After the baby arrives, you would then have time to heal. This time presents you with answers regarding your future. You would determine what fits your life the most. Would you want to get pregnant with your baby or take the money?”
“So, this is about supplying someone else with a child?”
“Yes, and no. You would still have your child, but only after you provide one for the company. It is all stated here, in the contract. If you no longer wish to conceive after the first pregnancy, we pay you the money and that’s it.”
“So, if I am understanding this right, it is either the money or a baby?”
“Correct. You must understand, the process of getting pregnant with our technology. It runs 200,000 for initial testing. You would get a deal because you provided us with a child. In all honesty, we all understand the drain pregnancy puts on the body. And some of these pregnancies can be a little rough on women. We want to show our appreciation, 250,000 wouldn’t cover this process in any world. We are the only company backed by the government to treat infertility. If you agree, I need you to sign on each line and agree to our confidentiality clause.”
“Does this mean, I have been accepted into the process?”
“No. It only means we will start background paperwork. We will get in touch with you in two weeks. If you are picked, you will be taken to our clinic and then the process begins. Meanwhile, keep the rules and no talking about anything we discussed outside of this office.”
Sloan nodded and headed for the door. “Thank you.” Sloan closed the door behind her and walked to the exit.
“Are you finished?” A quiet voice neared from the side of the building.
“Aye, yeah. Who are you?”
“I saw you come in as I was leaving the clinic. Do you think the process really works or are they just trying to get us involved in sex trafficking?”
Sloan glanced around nervously. “I don’t know.”
“I just don’t want to get my hopes up, you know. I’m Norma.”
“Nice to meet you, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to be talking about the process. We can’t discuss it.”
Norma looked at her bright color tennis shoes and frowned. “I know, but we should at least be able to talk about it together. I mean we know what we’re going through. Here, I work at the social service building downtown. It has my office number and my cell number.”
“Okay.” Sloan looked around to see if anyone was noticing the conversation. “I have to get back to my apartment. Please, don’t take this the wrong way, but don’t talk about what we are doing so freely. What if they decide to not pick any of us because they fear we can’t be trusted? I don’t want to mess things up because of a misperception. Be careful.”
Norma smiled uncomfortably. “I know. I promise, I will be careful. I told my coworkers I was going to the dentist today.”
“Well that’s a start. I really have to go; I will talk to you later.” Sloan looked behind her once more before she reached the car.
I still have a long way to go, but at least now you understand why I have been absent. I do not have a name for it, maybe I will think of something ten chapters down the road. LOL Love you all.