Fourth Fiction: Round Six

This Rounds Challenge: Incorporate a White Russian and the words “over the line” into your next passage, which should be no more than 500 words.

Four Hours Earlier

Sylvie slammed the phone down this time. Every other year she’d allowed Doug to vent at her, rather than with her. It was as though what had happened hadn’t decimated her too.

She’d stood her ground and put up an uncharacteristic defence against her brother tonight. She understood Doug needed to blame someone but it wasn’t her fault. As the youngest of Johaanson’s children, she was a babe in arms when their mother fled. Like her siblings she’d only ever known and hated Johaanson as the media dubbed White Russia – the Belarusian obstetrician with a misogynistic maternity platform they’d all fought against.

Her eyes stung. While the hurt ran deep in her, it festered in Doug. All the boyish exuberance had turned inwards manifesting as a self harm not even Trina would’ve been able to inflict on herself.

She picked up the family photo from her bedside table. Mike had his arm around Mama. Her long grey streaked hair was pulled back, green eyes reflecting Mike’s love from an unlined face. Trina stood awkwardly, her hair falling over her eyes to protect her from the prying eye of the world. Doug was goofing off. Mike’s free hand was on Doug’s shoulder in a vain attempt to contain him. Sylvie’s face tilted up to bask in the glory of her parents love. She was eight. It was the only family she had ever known. There was still ten years to live without the shame of her paternity.

The truth surfaced when Johaanson died and they were named.

Trina ran away once she knew whose blood ran deep in her veins. When all leads turned to dead ends they were left with the eternal void of the unknown. Sylvie knew no one bothered identifying dead junkies. In her nightmares Trina’s drug-riddled body, swollen with death, swept down the river searching for a safe harbour.

Mike declared it was time to abandon the legal fight against the new laws forcing every woman to have their babes surgically removed from the womb. And the arguing began. Mama begged him to stop punishing himself over Trina. Putting himself in harms’ way wouldn’t bring her back. Mama needed Mike with her. But Mike crossed over the line.

The authorities talked up Mike’s capture and execution. They called him the ring leader of the Underground Birthing Movement, even though he was only ever a guide, ferrying and protecting midwives from one birth to another. They classified him Enemy #1 because Mama never divorced Johaanson making Mike both a criminal and moral reprobate. As his last act of love, he took the secret of Mama’s location to the grave with him, despite the torture. You can only die once.

Six months later Mama slipped away. The death certificate stated breast cancer but Sylvie knew she’d died of a broken heart.

Johaansen’s legacy drove instead of consuming her. She set the photo back where the dust hadn’t fallen as her PDA beeped.