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| There Ain't No Justice |
| #31 |
- Through the Darkling Night -
A Sequel to "God Save the Children"
Martin awoke in the realm of spirits. Its whole being ached. Its mind
felt like a raw wound as it watched the flies begin to gather around the
tiny naked body it had last inhabited. A lone rat which had been munching
on the tender afterbirth was joined by another, which turned its attention
to the baby's corpse. "Too soon, too soon..." it thought, and each thought
brought a stab of fresh pain. Fusion had just been completed and the new
bonds had not been able to loosen with age and advancing intellect. It had
not hurt like this since the last time it had died as a dog.
Martin was drifting slowly, ever so slowly, in the pure bright light.
It did not know at all where its karma was taking it. As it recovered, it
began to wonder.
Its weaving course soon brought it near the brightly glowing sphere of
another spirit. That spirit, amazingly, moved toward it. They communed. The
exchange they had was far from mere words, including pictures and emotions,
and some things not within the realm of human perception. But it went more
or less like this:
Martin: Greetings. I can see that you are far advanced upon the Path.
Other : Yes, I have learned enough to have some power of free motion within
the bonds of my karma.
Martin: I presume you have come to give me aid or instruction.
Other : That is correct. What do you call yourself now?
Other : I know myself as Chee. I have watched you. If I may ask, in a
recent physical life have you banned abortion in the United States?
Martin: Yes, I have.
Chee : I see the cause of your pain, Martin. There is something you must
learn about karma. Karma brings souls the results of their own
deeds, be they good, or bad. If one presumes to force change upon
thousands or millions of physical lives, one must pay the price.
The price is to experience a sampling of any suffering you may
have caused. It is a way of instruction. One usually experiences
a sampling of the goodness as well. But this is not always so.
For one who does this in the name of a god, it is usually the
suffering only that is received. One must know that one is God,
that all are God, and God is in all of us, and that we are the
authors of our own destiny by the laws of karma. And one must
learn that the most good comes by the gentlest way. In your future
lives, you must learn to convince, rather than coerce.
Martin: But how much longer must I pay this price?
Chee: One or two more lifetimes, I think. But my movement is still limited.
I must leave you now. Farewell, Martin.
Martin: Farewell, Chee.
And Chee wafted quickly away, borne on the winds of destiny.
Martin's journey was nearly complete. The trailing tendrils of its
being, not quite healed, caught painfully on another single cell. It
noticed, before being drawn in, that it was in a dingy inner city housing
project. It noticed its mother was about twenty-five, maybe thirty, with a
tired look on her face that seemed permanent, almost etched into the skin
and bones and muscles. Then it was in.
Helen Davis released a frustrated curse as she saw the tip of the
indicator rod turn pink. She was almost ready to cry. She had thought she
was beyond that. John was almost the only comfort in her miserable
existence. Now he had gotten her pregnant.
She had had a terrible premonition that this would happen, as she felt
the condom break inside her. It just fit the pattern of her life. Lady Luck
had never been a friend to her, and in fact seemed to take sadistic
pleasure in inflicting misfortune upon her at every turn.
There was no way Helen could support another child. The first one had
forced her from school, put her on welfare. Though she loved him dearly,
his very existence had destroyed her life. And no increase would be made in
her monthly checks upon the birth of a second one. There was only one
course open to her. If only she could do it despite the law, if only she
could find a way...
Martin brooded within itself, pulling away from the embryo as much as
possible. It thought of how it had gone wrong in that previous life, how it
wished it had all been different. The body grew, its thinking became less
clear as it was drawn into the brain.
It was not surprised when, in the third month, the safety of the womb
was invaded. A long thick metal wire came in, scraped the walls of the
uterus, questing. At last it found the embryo. Martin was enough part of it
to feel the pain as the coat hangar severed the arm of the unborn child.
The next stroke was fatal. The womb clouded with blood.
Martin did not lose consciousness this time. It did not hurt as much
as the last time. But still it tried not to remember its last moments in
this latest life. It wished fervently it could at least have died
Helen was soon admitted to the hospital. She had a punctured uterine
wall and was suffering terribly from an infection. Dr. Hedrick, upon
examination, found that it might well be too late for her. She must have
delayed seeking treatment for a long time. He could hardly blame her. He
knew that even if she did live, the law would not go easy on her.
Presently Martin's delicate feelers caught on yet another incipient
human life. This one was located inside a black woman, about thirty years
old, in a middle class home. It wondered if this one, too, was doomed to
In the third month, still no attempt was made to dislodge the embryo.
Two more months passed. Nothing. Time went on, the fusion progressed.
Thought became infrequent, then ceased entirely. Still it lived. This time,
it was male. Martin's last conscious thought before birth was, "I hope I
don't get tossed in a dumpster again this time."
On July 27, in St. John's Hospital, Malcolm John Brown was born. In
his early years, he was taken good care of by an attentive mother, who took
an extended leave of absence from work for him, then changed to a part-time
job. His father also helped, when he was home. At least one of them needed
a full- time job, or they would not be able to afford to pay the bills.
Malcolm had a fairly happy early life as an only child, until he was
three. Then his mother became pregnant again.
"Mrs. Brown," explained the doctor, "I don't really know how to say
this. But I've looked at the results of the genetic tests, and this child
will almost certainly develop a form of muscular dystrophy. He will live
four, maybe five years, getting weaker and weaker, until some vital muscle
stops working. There is no known cure. If this happened five years ago, I
would have recommended considering abortion. But now..."
The child, Jacob Jamal Brown, was born nine months later. As he grew,
he soon began to get weaker instead of stronger. Medical expenses for his
treatment were appalling. Mrs. Brown could not return to a full-time job,
as at least one parent constantly needed to be around to take care of
Malcolm wondered why his little brother was always sick. He never got
any new toys anymore, or much attention. He felt sorry for Jacob, and loved
the boy, but part of him also hated his brother for being born.
The elder Browns were under constant emotional strain, both because of
Jacob's illness and Malcolm's constant bad moods and pleas for attention.
Malcolm became a troublemaker at school, and they had to deal with that,
too. Jacob was constantly getting worse.
In time, Jacob died. The funeral was small and simple, involving only
Mr. and Mrs. Brown, Malcolm, and a few close friends and relatives. Not
many people had ever known Jacob.
After the death of their youngest son, the Browns found themselves
nearly bankrupt. They had to sell their house, and lived with relatives.
Malcolm never did get many new toys, or luxuries, and the entire family
bore the emotional scars of living with, and for the parents, raising, a
terminally ill child.
As the boy Malcolm grew to manhood, he began to be interested in
politics. It was something he had a gift for discussing. He formed a set of
political views that would remain with him for life. One of these was drawn
from the bitterest experience of his short, but all to eventful life. He
favored the legalization once more of abortion. He really had loved his
brother, and hated to see him die slowly and in agony.
He developed his skill for rhetoric further, becoming the most
valuable member of his high school's debate team. He was elected Senior
Class President. At hearing the news of this, he said to himself, "Who
knows? Maybe I will get involved with real politics one day. And then just
think what could happen."
As he went through that last year of high school, one thing really
bothered him. There was student, an immigrant from China, Chee-Ling Hsee,
who usually had a faraway look on her face, as if she were seeing other
worlds. She looked vaguely familiar to him, but he could not place her face
anywhere. And she always watched his debates. And smiled both mysteriously
Chief Justice Malcolm John Brown was making his resignation speech. He
thought back over his career as he recited his carefully rehearsed words
with much feeling, and little intellectual concentration. His early legal
career, his decision to follow his dream in politics, becoming a judge,
entering the State, then Federal Supreme Court. His debating and speaking
skills had served him well, first in gaining public support, then in
swaying the opinion of his fellow Justices. Surely the most important case
during his time as Chief Justice had been the State of Arkansas vs.
Samuels. Elise Samuels had had an illegal abortion when she found out her
child would be afflicted by the same incurable disease as his own brother.
His emotionally charged appeal, including an account of his own
experiences, had made possible a unanimous decision to once more declare
the laws that forbade abortion unconstitutional. Even that old Republican
codger Smythe had agreed. It was the highlight of both his career and his
He was nearly finished with his speech. There she was, in the crowd.
As always. Chee-Ling had attended every public speech he had given in his
career. Yet she never spoke to him. Just sat in the audience, looking
vaguely familiar and smiling in that puzzling way. She always showed up
just on time, and when his speech was over, applauded, then quickly left.
He had occasionally considered filing a complaint for harrassment, because
he felt as if she were somehow stalking him. But she had never done
anything but listen to him speak.
As he left, beginning his first day in retirement, his first day out
of politics in forty years, he saw her. This time she hadn't left. He
turned from his course toward his chauffeured limo and approached her,
almost as if he had been called. He noticed that, although he knew that she
was about his age, she looked to be only in her mid-thirties.
He spoke first. "You have been following me for fifty years,
Chee-Ling. Watching me. Why? Who exactly are you?"
"Please, call me Chee. I am a friend. That is all I can tell you at
this time. I have been watching you to keep track of your progress.
Of what kind of person you have become. I must say you have done
"I hardly know any more now than I did before."
"But it is a start. If you would be so kind as to meet me for lunch
next Friday, there are things we must speak of. Important things."
"All right. Friday it is."
"Call me at 555-1342. I will talk to you then. Farewell, Malcolm."
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