I wake up Saturday morning after the Apocalypse. I’m fairly sure I put down at least a dozen zombies personally, and the six of us together used up most of the rum in the bar. I’m wearing clothes and alone in bed (thank the gods), but beyond that I could be anywhere.
My body feels awkward and out of proportion. My vision is blurry and sounds are distorted. Wherever this is smells nice, like pine trees in the fall, and the warmth of the soft blanket is heavenly. I could just lie here all day.
Something slowly comes into focus above me. It’s a mobile, like people put in little kids' bedrooms. There are stars and planets and a woman on a broomstick, all bouncing around and drawing little circles in the air to the accompaniment of faint bells.
I try to laugh but it comes out more like a burbling noise. I raise my hand and it’s puffy like – well, like it’s never been. I’ve always been a long and lanky girl, more of an athlete than a fashion plate. I wiggle my fingers and they move okay so they’re not swollen, just weird.
Giant hands reach down from the fuzzy distance and pick me up. A moment later I’m staring into my own face: big green almond-shaped eyes (too big), a pointy little nose (too little), bright pink lips around a too-small mouth and cheekbones so high they need buttressing.
Somehow it all clicks. I’m a baby! Weirder, I’m my own baby! I’ve never been pregnant, or even... you know, so this is all totally new. Big me kisses me on the forehead; I try to touch it but my arms don’t reach. Definitely a baby.
She lowers me down and presents me with a bare breast as big as my head. She makes a really inappropriate gesture with her finger, then touches my tongue with it. The sweet-tasting warm milk tells me exactly why I’m here. It seems really weird to my twenty-year old mind, but I start to suck.
I can feel her heartbeat and the gentle vibration of her humming. It feels like home.
After my breakfast she gently bounces me up and down until I let out a hiccup. Then she holds me against her snuggly-warm chest, now covered with soft green velvet. It’s too easy to get lost in the simple sensuality of it.
My reverie is broken by a voice. The language is foreign, but somehow I understand it.
“Lady Umbriel. It is time.”
“Must it be, Therion? I want to hold her longer.”
“The convergence will not wait. If we do not send her to Midgard soon she will perish with the rest of us.”
“Forgive a mother’s selfishness. Take good care of her.”
She hands me over and the last thing I see is the love on her face and the tears in her eyes.
I wake up to the sunlight coming into my dorm room. Jenna is still out cold. I look in the mirror and I’m me again, still in my rumpled clothes from last night. My pounding head tells me the zombies eventually won.
I wonder if that weird dream means anything, or if it’s just my subconscious trying to tell me a story. I trace my pointed ear and smile; I like me, but it’s obvious I’m not like everyone else here. I pick up the phone and call. Mom answers and we catch up, but then it’s time for the big question.
“Mom, have you ever heard the name Lady Umbriel?”
Her pause speaks volumes. “I think we need to talk.”