's 2017 Horror Write-off:

A Routine Procedure

Submitted by Hummingbird (email)

It was a routine procedure for an experienced OBGYN: a birth.

The mother, Clarissa, had been under Dr. Delworth's care one way or another since she first discovered eight months ago that she was pregnant  with her firstborn: a boy. She had decided to name him Thomas. It was not the most inspired name, perhaps, but it was the name of her brother whom she loved dearly, and it felt right to her.

Thomas was of somewhat above average size, though he was perfectly healthy by Dr. Delworth's observations. He was more or less on time, he had completed the turn required for him to be birthed properly and safely: head first.

The father, Peter, had opted to be present for the proceedings. He sat in the corner, looking on with a puzzling mixture of deep concern and total apathy. He was sipping a mixture of RC Cola, Mushroom-flavoured Fanta, and Redbull out of a half-gallon metal thermos while playing Tetris on his Game Boy. He was still some distance from his high score, but if asked, he would swear that he could beat it any time he wanted. No one asked.

At last! Dr. Delworth could see the child's head coming out. She ignored the muffled screams of Clarissa, as that had long since become white noise. The child slowly came out onto the waiting surface, and began to cry in order to clear his newborn lungs of amniotic fluids.

His legs appeared to have not quite made it, so Dr. Delworth carefully picked up the boy, and pulled him out.

Except, she didn't.

She moved the table surface a foot or so, and in doing so, pulled another foot of thigh out of the mother, who was at this point observing with a look which expressed an emotion that, as far as Dr. Delworth knew, could not be described in the English language. She later noted that it could not be expressed in Latin either, which she had become well versed in during medical school.

Peter's eyes opened wide, and he stared at the event with an expression that one who was particularly well practiced in reading human facial expressions might interpret as, "I Hope This Wasn't My Fault It Was All The Mushroom Fanta Wasn't It I Swear I Didn't Want This."

Eventually, after approximately 17 minutes of confused, wide-eyed horror from Dr. Delworth and Clarissa, and guilt-ridden silence on the part of Peter, the child was finally removed in full. He had 6 sets of bony knees, each separated by almost two feet of thigh. The multiple sets of knees resulted in his legs curling back around him and over his head when he bent them all. He only had one pair of ankles, though each of his toes appeared to be a smaller replica of the foot to which it belonged, fractal-style. This pattern seemed to go on infinitely, though Dr. Delworth had none of the tools to check, and, regardless, that task was far beyond her pay grade. The tiny toe's toes were not as fragile as they appeared, though professionalism kept Dr. Delworth from testing their tensile strength. Peter noted that the shortness of his arms in relation to his legs made him similar to a T-Rex, though there was little resemblance otherwise. He knew this for a fact, because he really liked dinosaurs, and he was fairly certain that Thomas lacked scales, claws, teeth, opposable toes, or awesome fire-breathing powers, though he could never truly sure of the latter, he supposed.

After the several-meter-long umbilical cord was cut, Clarissa, seemingly unfazed, simply walked out of the room, down the hall, down the stairs, and out of the building. The nurses were unable to stop her, and neither Peter nor Dr. Delworth were in the correct state of mind to even actually notice, let alone care

The child was surprisingly light, though the scale appeared to not be able to read the infant's weight. The question of if that was due to the absurd weight distribution or some other, more sinister cause would go unanswered for all of time. The instrument which they used to measure newborns was insufficient, but Dr. Delworth approximated the child's height at "Thirteen feet, nine inches."


The standard blue blanket which was usually given to parents by this hospital was utterly insufficient, though they found that four worked once thomas has folded up his sets of knees such that he vaguely resembled a horrifying, surrealist cinnamon roll.

Dr. Delworth quit her job at the hospital that day, citing the fact that, "No amount of money could possibly make me do this anymore." She had already paid off med school, so she supported herself economically by making crochet hats of various characters and symbols from popular culture and selling them on Etsy. She refused to make them in children's sizes.

Clarissa was never heard from again. As Peter would never find out: she had gone home, taken her passport, and flown to Canada within the day. After arriving, she got a job as a waitress at a family restaurant where she was paid under-the-table. Slowly, she worked her way through the social and economic hierarchy of the small Canadian town in which she settled, got help forging an identity, changed her name, got sterilized, and lived out her days as a manager at a two star resort that was about 30 miles from her house. When asked about her past, she would stare into the middle distance and say something highly cryptic like, "I don't want to even think about him again." or "I never should've went there." The people who asked took this as a sign to never, ever ask her about that again.

Peter, on the other hand, now had a child to raise. He was certain that this was all his fault, and he was going to be an adult and take responsibility for his actions. He took him home in an improvised car-seat made out of diaper boxes and medical tape. The Weird Al Yankovic CD that he had running as he arrived at the hospital seemed unfitting now, so he silenced it. He realized, in a sudden moment of utter terror, that he didn't even know how to locate someone with the means
to make pants in the correct size for Thomas, let alone how he'd go about ordering them.