Annalise dies in the bathtub. The baby screaming. Her husband panicking. The doula calling 911 on a cellphone smeared with red. Lacy clouds of blood surround her. Her eyes are glassy, tear tracks leaking down her cheeks.
By the time the ambulance arrives, Annalise is breathing again. There is blood in a vast circle around the tub, a sluggishly bleeding line down her stomach. If you were to squint, the blood splatters would look like letters, numbers, signs, and symbols. If you were to study the gash on Annalise’s stomach, you would see blood-and-gossamer thread, cut ragged at the end. If you were to place your hand in her husband’s pocket, you would feel the outline of cold scissors, slick with warm blood. The EMTs don’t do any of these things. The doula won’t speak. The husband explains that they panicked, Haha, yes, our firstborn, we should have gone to the hospital. The EMTs are understanding. The baby is crying. They load baby and mother onto the stretcher.
Annalise is dead. Something else moves her skin.