George

“We aren’t saying much, but welcoming our first American Abami, George, born February 2045, about a month ago, after his mother, Laura, was incarcerated in a Virtual Lion home, during pregnancy.” The man at the podium wore a grey suit with a wide smile and had his necktie hanging neatly before his stomach from the collar.

Amidst the applause from the crowd, he exclaimed, “Wow!”

The audience cheered as George was displayed on the screen. The baby had a pale yellow face covered with light furs, his eyes were brownish and he had a very flat nose. He had a proud light gold mane seated on his skull. His voice was not much different from another child’s and possessed animal features from his head to chest.

“It is amazing how the predictions of the National Science Conference held at Georgia about two decades ago, which talked about Abamis and the advancement of Science have manifested from its hypothesis stage. The World’s renowned Geneticists and Biologists held a similar conference months ago and decided to choose Test objects from four different Continents. Hear, hear, ladies and gentlemen!”

Arewa hadn’t uttered a word since her arrival, keeping mute. As the Doctor was about to leave, she said with a smile, “If anything happens to my baby, I’ll kill you.” The Doctor was startled, and on turning around, he laughed at seeing her smiling.

The man on the podium could be heard in the background: “Towards scientific discoveries, researchers can go any length. George isn’t the only Abami on Earth! Later, the others would be taken under close study at special centres in their continent of birth. Science cannot tell if these babies possess anything superhuman in their genes other than their animal appearances, but the results from the studies would be answered quite soon.”    

Ayanfemi

February 2045, somewhere in Africa.

“This isn’t good,” said the doctor, his eyes filled with disbelief. “We’ve got a problem… there’s something strange about the baby!”

“Strange? What does that mean, Doctor?” Arewa forced the words out, despite the labour pressure she was putting up with. Thrusting her hand, subconsciously, towards the unsuspecting midwife, Arewa gripped hard and groaned, “Please help me, I have to throw up… Get the baby out of me!”

As it was, however, this baby wasn’t sharing its mother’s point of view. In fact, it greatly disapproved of its mother’s last statement, very evident by how its head immediately forced itself back into the uncomfortable womb. What is worse? The infant’s slipperiness makes it nigh impossible for the doctor’s grasp.

Arewa was in a daze. She could vividly feel life slipping out her nostrils in a not so an inexplicable-experience-I-had manner. This was worse than any memory she must have written in her primary school days. It was scary.

“Push! Push! You can do it!” the midwife was encouraged, by Arewa’s side, despite the pain that was currently piercing her left hand.

The other midwives hovered around Arewa, giving her a suffocative feeling.

“Sir, have you considered a C-section?” the midwife beside Arewa spoke again, but to the doctor this time.

“It’s late, as you clearly know, and the baby and mother pair might not make it at all. We’ll have to trust this process.” The Doctor calmly replied. The doctor leaned closer to the midwife and added in an undertone, “It’s better losing one than both.”

Arewa’s mind couldn’t stop running wild. She had noticed the doctor saying something aside to the midwife and couldn’t help but think, ‘What are they talking about?’ Tiny drops of sweat and tears could be seen dropping off her delicate face. At this moment, had she walked out of there, one could have suspected she had just taken a marathon trip. She was panting heavily and moaning deeply.

About Ten months ago, Arewa could remember herself, alongside three other women, walking in through the crowd of clapping hands, shiny teeth, and expectant gazes in the Conference Hall, making their way to the front row where the waiting Scientists at the platform had the four of them introduced as the “test objects”. She remembered the thrill that had run through her veins at that specific moment, and the pride that she, being a scientist, was making a difference.

Confined to a house filled with images of Zebras and daily engaged in a virtual tour of Zebras, Arewa soon learnt a handsome knowledge of these animals, their young ones, and their strength.

During the confinement, she had met a lot with her husband, and after frequently being tested, she soon discovered she was pregnant. Successfully becoming pregnant, she entered the second phase of her test. Here, the barely visible foetus was injected with the newly invented syrups to make “test subjects” out of the “test objects”.

The gestation period had established her mother and child bond. Therefore, it wouldn’t be wrong to say she had no regrets thus far. She never had been dragooned into it, to begin with.

“You need to keep breathing,” cried the midwife, bringing Arewa back to the present.

“Goodness!” exclaimed the doctor. “It’s her leg out first. Keep pushing please—“

“Shut up, Doctor,” Arewa interjected, holding much harder on the bedsheet and the midwife much tighter. With all due respect, shut up! I’m pushing! Get the baby out of me. Please!”

Arewa’s eyes were glassy. The midwife was saying something, but all her ears could catch were, “Save your breath” and “We need that for the push”.

From the veins prowling across her neck, everyone could tell the level of pain Arewa was currently enduring. For those who had had trouble with defecating after a strong meal, they would understand that this was ten times worse.

The midwife’s voice came again.

“Let’s do something, honey. I’ll count to three, and you’ll push really hard, is that okay? That’s a good girl. Now, ONE… TWO… THREE, PUSH!”

A long push ensued, and successfully, half the baby was out and the Doctor gently pulled out the protruding body, meticulously. Still, that was the least of his worries.

“Oh my gosh!” he exclaimed. Arewa had slowly lost consciousness, and whatever had happened next, she didn’t find out immediately.

The nurses all looked at one another in bewilderment. The midwife had given a fearful gasp when she beheld the baby. Her hands shading her face, she looked towards the Doctor, inquiringly.

“A Z-zebra… unbelievable… the birth has actually been suc-successful!” the doctor stuttered.

As if in the queue, the newborn cried aloud, and its voice was completely humane. Arewa, suddenly, jolted awake on hearing the baby’s voice, her eyes searching around in spots.

“Where’s my baby?”

The doctor and midwives looked from one to the other, then back at Arewa. The midwife took it upon herself to wrap the child with an already set towel, handing it over to its mother.

Arewa’s first reaction was shocking, however, with the drills she’d been given throughout the nine months of her gestation, she knew it was not beyond the expected. She sobbed with a face full of a warm smile. “She’s beautiful.”

Everyone in the room was astounded. Mother and child seemed to have a perfect bond, and she was even taking in the sight much better than them.

“Arewa,” said the doctor, looking at her with empathy, “what name would you give your daughter?”

Arewa sat up and smiled, tears rolling down the corners of her eyes, not tearing the gaze off her child. “I shall call her Ayanfemi — the chosen one. She’s a special child; my special child.”

The baby had black and white stripes from her horse-like face, down to her infant nipples, and all over her arms. The strips were, of course not on skin, but on fur. It was soft and delicate. The child also had a cute pair of brown eyes over its protruding nose. On the side of its face, there was a pair of funny-looking ears. She really was an eccentric child.

The Doctor, clearing his throat, said, “Ayanfemi is a special child indeed. News of babies like her has been much predicted by the science of recent generations. We’ve been expecting her, so to speak.

“For three decades now, however, no woman has given birth to a child leg-first.  The cases of normal delivery have been very low, as most women, go through a C-section. Your daughter is indeed really special.”

The Doctor patted her shoulder and smiled, “Learn to love her. I’d have to report her safe delivery to the ministry as soon as possible!”

****

Zen

“Hold on Lin! We’re almost there,” Chan, a male nurse was saying. Lin lay on the trolley and was rolled past the corridors of the Zhai Seng General Hospital. She was half-conscious of her surroundings. She had slummed off while on one of her virtual tours to the eagles’ world in her confined home. She wasn’t due for childbirth, and later, the doctor would have to consider a C-section, most likely. She held Chan’s hand firmly and tears rolled down her eyes. The pain was written all over her face and she could sense the baby in her belly in danger. Her lingerie was soaked in blood and this got Chan really nervous.

Some months before, Lin was appointed under Chan’s care, as a private nurse throughout her pregnancy. He was one of the best nurses for such work. He had been with Lin throughout all of her virtual tours to the Eagle’s world, but during today’s tour, she seemed very weak and shivery. He had called the ministry immediately and he was her virtual tours to the Eagle’s world, but she seemed very weak and shivery during today’s tour instructions. She wasn’t dragooned either, but Lin seemed to be growing pale. It should be the baby. Ultrasound was done periodically and the baby was just growing fine, just as scientists had predicted. Lin was medically okay, only losing weight. Her case was quite different.

She was rolled off into the Theater immediately. The doctors decided to remove the baby for incubation in the nursery. Chan had been so scared. If anything went wrong, it was going to be really tough on him. He had done his best though, but Asia had to see their first Abami. Top members from the Ministry had arrived at the hospital earlier and were waiting in the waiting room, for any news concerning the baby. Nothing had to go wrong. Lin was already in pain, the embryo gave her blisters around her stomach.

A few hours later and she couldn’t stop staring at the babe that had come out from her. It lay gently in the incubator.

She used to poke her stomach anytime she ate meat or anything fleshy. She wondered deeply every day what her baby would really look like. She was subjected to seeing him as an eagle. Every passing day had lengthened her anxiety to see him. The Ultrasound results were hidden from her, she was made to always picture her baby in her mind, that he was an eagle. Tears rolled down Lin’s eyes, she couldn’t describe what bond she had with her baby, but the feeling was strong.

“You need to rest Lin, he’d be fine,” she heard Chan say when she was taken out of the nursery.

“Please keep a close eye on my Zen,” she said, as she looked deeply into Chan’s eyes.

“I will, I promise, he’d be safe,” Chan replied.

****

Ben

“The baby’s coming! Call the Ministry!” Maria yelled from her room. She had just finished bathing and her due date was somewhere around 5th March 2045. This was just on 29th February 2045. Yes, it was a leap year. She was having her baby today. She felt a sharp pain around her waist, that almost stroke her down. She was scared. This was her first time having a baby. She wasn’t experienced and a few moments from now, she’d be having a “dog baby” and the Doctors would have to assure her that he’d be fine. She’d be so worried and would yell at the Doctor while grabbing his coat and letting him know that he’d die if anything happened to Ben. The UK’s Ministry members were already there at the Hospital in Edinburgh. Everything had to go well.

Maria had a normal delivery, there were no complications and her baby was just alright. He cried the moment he came out through her parted legs. He looked much cuter than expected. Europe had just had their first Abami. Nine months earlier, after being introduced as a test object, Maria was restricted to a small apartment that had every dog description in it. Just like the others, she was made to go on a virtual tour of the dogs’ world. For nine months, all she thought about and imagined were dog-related.

These babies would grow and learn things the human way. It was quite fascinating that studies were predicting incredible physical strength from these children according to the genes each of them had, relating to the animal features they possessed. Growing up, Ayanfemi, George, Zen and Ben were low-key, and their abilities were unknown, not, of course, until after an event that occurred in

February 2075… on the great ABAMI show.

****

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