The Righteous

I was the most righteous.

Bathed in the blood.

Devout and proper, as all women should be.

I was raised in a good southern home by good southern parents. I graduated high school top of my class and went to the local college. I dated around a little – I never want farther than second base for I am not a loose whore – until I found my future husband. We dated for a year before he proposed. It was a June wedding, and I wore white. It was the happiest day of my life.

Until my son came, anyway. And then my daughter. And then my second son. God blessed me with a bounty of happiest days, and I knew it was because I had devoted my life to Him. I was faithful. I was in his flock. Everything I did was in His name, so everything I did was good.

Church on Sundays. Ladies Circle on Thursdays. Every other moment with my beautiful children. They were exhausting. They kept me running. Kept me fit. Kept me tired. Also kept our money thin. But we made things work. My husband worked long hours, I barely saw him, but when I did it was bliss. We took what vacations we could afford, to his parents, to my parents, to a rental cabin a couple hours away. The kids wore hand-me-downs with a smile. They were teased at school, but they knew as long as they had the Lord behind their back those bullies words were nothing but air.

Then it happened. Our methods failed.

I was pregnant again.

But it couldn’t be. We had been cautious, it seemed like it physically couldn’t happen.

But it did.

But it couldn’t be. Because we couldn’t afford it.

We crunched the numbers over and over, trying to see the light. But we were barely holding on. My husbands hours had gotten reduced – thank God he hadn’t gotten laid off like so many others had – and I’d picked up hours at a local restaurant to make ends meet. Another baby would mean I couldn’t work for at least a few months. Another baby meant childcare. Another baby meant diapers, and bottles, and clothes, and all the supplies we’d foolishly given away at the church. Our youngest was already ten. This wasn’t supposed to happen again!

But God had seen fit to give us another, so we would have to find a way. His way. There was…that other option. But I dared not think it, let alone speak it. That other option was no option at all. It was a ticket to damnation, to be cast aside from God’s love for all eternity.

Or so I believed.

Until I prayed on it.

I prayed and prayed into the night, until a small, soft voice began to speak to me.

I was the most righteous.

I went to church. I was bathed in the blood. I spoke His words.

Surely, then, if I needed that other option, that would be the right thing to do?

Yes, of course, that would be the right thing to do. Another baby, and my family would suffer. More than they already were. This was a test from God, a test to protect my family, and I would not fail.

I could not fail.

I was the most righteous.

My actions, all of them, come from that place of righteousness.

I wasn’t one of those disgusting sluts, fucking all the men they come across and aborting the results to fix my mistakes. Not some heathen, destroying my body for short-lived pleasure. I knew the word of God! I knew what I must do to achieve eternal paradise! This would not be some frivolous procedure. This would be righteous.

I did not go on Thursday. That was when the Ladies Circle went. I circled the block a couple of time anyway, just in case. There was a crowd out front, of course, there always ways. But I didn’t recognize any of them.

They screamed at me, the same things I had screamed at others. I took it all in stride. They were doing righteous work. They did not know I was righteous also. That was alright.

If I talked back, they might have remembered my face.

So now, I am here. On the table. The procedure has begun. I pray to keep the pain down. A gentle nurse tries to take my hand and I whip it away.

For I know the real devil in the room, and it’s not just me.

“You’ll burn,” I say to her. “Child murderers. All of you. He’ll send you to hell for what you do here.”

The nurse and the doctor exchange a look. Then continue patiently on. They do not argue, because they do not know I am right. They have no faith. When they die they will be cast to the furthest, hottest reaches of pain and oblivion and they will be there for years before they realize it.

I, however, will be in his Heavenly temple, by His side for all eternity.

For I am the most righteous.

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