Chapter: Genesis (T-Bag's Parents) (1/5)
Characters: T-Bag, others (Gen)
Rating: PG-R (this part PG-13)
Summary: His future was written at the beginning; it came to him by blood.
Spoilers: Through end of Season 1.
Authors Notes: Written for the philosophy_20 prompt #17, "Lack Of God." This is a somewhat AU history of T-Bag. This was inspired by a long-ago "Stories I Never Wrote You" challenge, the prompt being "Five Ways T-Bag Didn't Almost Die." It took forever to finish all five of them, and these are instead a set of five times T-Bag came close to dying, and who that made him in the process.
x-x-x Part I: Genesis x-x-x
It was Winter when Myra changed.
She got picky about her food, sometimes barely eating at all. She stayed abed too long in the mornings, hardly finishing the few chores she could handle.
Myra got lazy and sullen, had to be what it was. Bedding her hadn’t ever been much to go on about, but it was convenient— she was there. Small recompense for having to look after her all the time, but he was stuck with her after Mama and Daddy died. It wasn’t much good now— like humping a lump of clay.
But it didn’t stop him. A man had things he was owed.
In springtime, she started to get fat. She never was much to look at—empty features, teensy little eyes. She’d been shapeless and clumsy since she was a baby, and he knew not to expect anything more. But now there was bulging, and her dresses didn’t fit. It was laziness pure and simple, and what to do with her now, he wondered?
By summertime, he knew. He never realized how lucky they’d been before. All these years, just the two of them, and it took ‘til now to see the consequence of their sin.
He thought about it and thought about it. He weren’t ready to raise a baby, not with the grown-up baby sister he had right now. How would he manage, never being able to trust her with it? He couldn’t keep up the farm like that, being two places at once. It was hard enough on the days he set to plowing—oftentimes he’d take her and tie her up to a tree. Neither of them would know what to do with a baby, how to care for it. And he was all strapped up by the situation they already had right now.
It festered and festered until he saw the answer.
“Two birds at once,” he thought. “Two birds at once.”
He mixed whiskey into her coffee, adding chocolate to hide the taste. More and more he gave her, ‘til she was tipsy— giggling like a child. He led her to the top of the stairs, turning the light on casually. And then he gave her a push—hard enough to rattle the teeth in his own head.
She banged and bounced to the bottom, sharp little cries skittering off in all directions. And then it was over and the world was quiet. She was a broken bundle at the base of the stairs.
He let his breath out, the one he’d been holding. And he turned off the light and shut the door.
He finished that bottle of whiskey that afternoon. Sat in the threadbare rocker by the kitchen stove, killing every thought of guilt or remorse with the same liquid fire that’d made Daddy crash the truck some eight years back. He watched the light change in the forest behind the fence, saw the crows gathering in the oak tree as the sun went down.
He’d do something about it tomorrow, once he’d figured out the story he’d have to tell.
Coming back from the outhouse, he thought he’d heard a noise. A soft thumping down below the floor, it seemed.
A thought struck him, and he opened the cellar door, snapped the light on. Her head lifted up, eyes staring at him accusingly. And he knew he’d tempted Fate one time too many.
He’d bungled it, he knew that two days later. He made her crutches to keep from carrying her around the house—the gigantic mass of her, all helpless and limp. She was fine, near as he could tell, except for the legs. And the rest of her grew on into Fall.
The midwife came on the first Monday in September. She stayed the night, wiping the sweat off of Myra’s forehead. She made cohosh and elderberry tea, singing low in her throat as the hours went on. She spared him no glances, not directly. But the bitter glare of her blame followed his back.
At sunrise, a sound woke him from his slumber in the sitting room chair. Soon he heard the squalling fuss of a baby testing out its lungs, and he knew it had started—all the trouble he’d tried to keep from coming.
It was ten minutes before the midwife brought the baby to him, all wrapped up in a pillowcase and red to the tips of its ears.
“This is your son,” she stated flatly. For she knew it was his, though it never should have happened.
The baby looked at him, its eyes all bright and knowing. Like it knew something, about the world or maybe just about him.
Spawn of the devil, he thought, just as sure as anything.
And not for a minute did he admit responsibility for the situation, or who the devil in question clearly was.