In The Forest of Glass Mothers
In the place where the living people are, there is a little girl who has yet to be born. Her heart is but a bluish bruise, and it beats quietly, barely, in her pale and shapeless body. Her brain is dark, floating in her see-through skull, wreathed with veins that darken with her heartbeat, her hands scarcely shaped, see-through like her skull, her fingers filled with blood and twitching, feeling nerves.
Her white bones are visible through her thin skin, and the places where her eyes will be are but shadows, and she is growing, forming, her curled body floating as she sleeps in fluid, sleeps, suspended in the small glass jar that holds her. She sleeps within its cold, curved walls, and she is one of many, of dozens, dozens upon dozens of other unborn children, all sleeping within countless glass jars.
The jars rattle and tremble against each other, their glass shivering and shaking with the movements of the boat, each one holding its unborn child as they stir and drift in their restless sleep.
Unborn twins are in some, the two of them no more than shrivelled curls of flesh that grow and feed together, their umbilical chords intertwined, wrapped around and around each other, up to where they are have joined and grown into the lid. In some, there are unborns with overgrown heads, with scythe-like claws for fingers, with bodies struck and tortured with mutation. Some already have mouths that move wordlessly, and mutated hands that reach for nothing, and arteries that beg for blood and lungs that beg for breath and rows of sharp little teeth already pushing up and filling their shrivelled grinning mouths. But not the girl who sleeps peacefully. Not her.
She can only float in her glass prison, while all around her are the others, with their tortured bodies and blind and sightless eyes, some with arms and legs so freakishly overgrown that their fingernails scratch against the walls of their jars. If you were to stand in the hold of this strange and rotten boat, surrounded on all sides by shelved walls of the unborn, you could hear them. Hear the tiny, viscous sound, of tiny fingernails, scratching at their glass wombs. Some of them scratch at themselves, break their own skin, their blood so red against their white flesh as it drifts up into the fluid, blossoming out into it like ink in water. But not her.