Sally was seven months pregnant, and one morning she woke with a clear image in her head of a cheerful, smiling one-year-old boy. She thought it might just be a vivid dream or one more trick pregnancy played on her mind, but when she compared notes with other women in the childbirth class she found that most had had a similar experience in the past week. Tara was only 29 so she had chosen not to have any amnio done, but her vision was disturbing: she thought she could see that her little girl had Down syndrome. To everyone's sorrow, when the baby girl was born she found that her vision had been accurate.
Rachel was only two months pregnant, and she had a vision of two little boys side by side. When she had ultrasound later, it confirmed that she was carrying twins.
It seemed to go right back to conception. Stacy and her husband were trying to get pregnant, and one night after they had had sex she got a vision of a smiling one-year-old girl. She later found she had gotten pregnant that night.
As the phenomenon spread throughout the world it caused both excitement and consternation. Pro-lifers were ecstatic. As soon as a woman got pregnant, she had a vision of what her child would be like around one year of age. Far fewer women chose abortions when they had a vision of the future of the life within. Some who had called the vision an illusion and had gone ahead with the abortion saw the one-year-old look at them with a quivering lip and a look of betrayal before fading from view, something which naturally troubled them deeply. Those stories made fewer women even think about abortion.
The timing was interesting. Women who had formed the intention of having an abortion saw their one-year-old periodically appear looking at them accusingly. But if they changed their minds the image reverted to the happy one-year-old they had seen originally. It was the intention that mattered. It was when the woman reached the point of no return that the haunting accusing look came to the baby before it disappeared.
Women who miscarried knew before the doctors did -- the one-year-old faded from view, though without any look of betrayal. The woman had had no choice in the matter.
There were the expected consequences: some people got more serious about contraception, more babies were put up for adoption, and more mothers raised children they hadn't wanted, but grew to love, and cared for as well as their circumstances allowed.
There still were some abortions. A few women saw visions of handicapped or deformed children, and many were willing to live with the accusing look. The proportion of babies born with congenital abnormalities dropped slightly.
This state of affairs lasted exactly one year. Then things got more interesting.
Pauline had gone to bed early. Dealing with a five-year-old and twin two-year-olds all day can make a person tired. Frank came in around midnight and slid into bed beside her. She came to consciousness briefly and gave him a pat as she often did. Frank started relaxing, though visions of the troubles at work kept coming back to him. Half the company had already been laid off, and another round was coming. Pauline stirred. She turned over towards Frank and snuggled up to him. That was nice, he thought. She started running her top hand over his hip and thigh. This was truly unusual, but he was pleased. Their sex life had faded to almost nothing since the twins had been born. Blood surged into his penis and it was soon hard. He turned to her and started kissing her slowly and running his hands lightly over her, preparing for the extended foreplay that was always a part of their lovemaking. But after a much shorter time than usual she took her panties off and whispered "I'm ready." This was truly unusual. He turned over to look in the bedside table for a condom. "No," she said. "No condom." "But what if you get pregnant?" They were both in firm agreement that three children were plenty. She hesitated. "My period is going to start any day, and I'm feeling a little reckless." He considered the extra pleasure he got from sex without a condom, and how long it had been, and the possibility that after a disagreement this mood would pass and she wouldn't want sex at all. So with a surge of excitement he turned over to her, removing his own briefs. She nudged him on top of her and guided his penis inside. He started off slowly, prepared as usual to hold back for her pleasure to build. But she nuzzled his ear and whispered "Any time." This was not like her at all, but he didn't want to argue. He sometimes fantasized about just giving in to his instincts and coming quickly. He started thrusting in a frenzy and came thirty seconds later. As he was coming down from his splendid orgasm he started thinking of how to pleasure her. She pushed him onto his back, smiled, and snuggled up against him, indicating she was through. He was still smiling from his total satisfaction and the love he felt for Pauline, who had arranged this whole thing from start to finish urging him to fulfill a fantasy of his. She was asleep within a minute. Caring for three young children all day can make a person tired.
By morning the vision in her head was clearer. A son. They would have a new son. The experience had been strange for her. As Frank had come into bed, she had had a vision of a child, features indistinct but definitely a small child, and then the child had faded away with that look of betrayal people talked about when considering an abortion. It hadn't occurred to her at the time that images of babies only came after conception, and she was most definitely not pregnant. She tried to go to sleep, but the child kept coming back with the infinitely sad look of desolation. She thought about having sex with Frank, and the baby relaxed. She thought about the condom and the baby started getting fussy. She thought about sex without the condom and the child smiled. She was exhausted, but started seducing Frank, who responded as she hoped he would. She waited only until her vagina was wet enough that it wouldn't hurt. When it came time for the condom, she had said "No", told the lie about her period being due and held her breath, as had the baby in her mind. When he relented the happy baby breathed, and drifted in and out of her mind smiling as she set him loose to have his orgasm. That was all that mattered tonight. He pounded away, and she got a little sore but didn't say anything. After he came her exhaustion came back and she fell asleep against him as soon as she could, though the vision of a happy little baby came to her as she drifted off. His sperm was doing its work inside her.
Quinn was in 10th grade, an evangelical Christian, and had taken the pledge to remain chaste until she was married. It was the right way to do things. But she could go on dates, and on this occasion she was out for ice cream with Luke. She got a little flickering of a baby image but it went away. When they were done Luke drove her home. He was in 11th grade and had just gotten his license. The image flickered again. As they got close to her house and she thought about going inside the tiny child appeared long enough to look wistful and start to disappear. A sense of sadness overtook her too. "Let's go watch the stars up on the ridge" she said. He hadn't really thought she would agree to go out with him at all, but he sure did enjoy her company, and if she wanted to extend the date that was great with him. A friend started texting her on the way up, and she gave a quick reply and shut her phone off, and told him he had to as well.
The ridge had a nice view of the sky but was not all that popular. She had him pull in a little short of the highest point on a seldom-used dirt lane. They got out of the car and looked at the stars. She stood close beside him and took his hand. Then she said "It makes me feel so close to the universe, to God." And she turned to face him and hugged him close, her head against his chest. He returned the hug, surprised but happy. After a little she looked up at him dreamily and closed her eyes. He wasn't experienced with girls, but even he knew this was an invitation to kiss her, so he did, a little awkwardly but by imitating her it was soon gentle enough. His penis was straining to get erect but was pinned downward in his pants. Jesus would not be pleased about the erection. He broke the kiss and pulled away from her, confused. She had a right to feel disoriented by the sudden withdrawal from intimacy, but she felt something more as well. She stood waiting, confused as to why she felt sad. He turned away, trying to collect his thoughts but also surreptitiously adjusting himself so his penis could stand upright in his pants. Sexual arousal wasn't such a bad thing, a minor sin. And then he turned back, took her back in his arms again and kissed her more. After a minute she did something shocking. She slowly moved his hand up so it rested on her sweater over one breast. He broke the kiss to smile at her, then started again, thrilled to be moving his hand over the one breast, then the other. He couldn't stop thinking about what was under her skirt. He moved his hand tentatively to her butt, and she didn't stop him. In fact, she pressed her pelvis against him. After a few minutes of his massaging her butt he started sliding his hand up under her dress. She tugged him towards the car and opened one of the rear doors. She sat down, with her legs out on the ground, and began fussing with the fly on his jeans. Amazed, he helped her, and soon his penis was sticking out, straight, hard, urgent. Maybe she would give him oral sex, something he had heard of -- but was sinful. She ran her hands lightly over it, but instead of oral sex she astounded him by hitching her skirt up and pulling her panties down to her knees. His innards knew exactly what they wanted. Jesus was getting drowned out. "But ... what about the pledge?" he asked. She looked confused for a moment. The baby's face wasn't clear, but the essence of the baby was, and the look of fear and pain on its face pierced her heart. "I just have to have you," she said. He looked around the secluded spot. Arguing that someone might surprise them was not going to ring true. Jesus had a surge of strength. "I'd love to, Quinn, you are so hot, but ... the pledge! And what if you get pregnant?" People who took the pledge never bought condoms, since they could only aid temptation. He turned away. Then she started crying softly, legs still apart, panties down, crotch exposed expectantly. He was so torn. Then she said, in a whisper he could barely hear, "Jesus forgives our sins". Inwardly, she saw the baby and felt that Jesus wanted her to do this, but she didn't dare say that aloud. His heart raced. Refusing would be so humiliating to her, obviously. His penis was near bursting.
And then he was lost. He aligned his body with hers and lowered himself down on her, and she smiled brightly through the tears. She guided his penis to that magical opening between her legs, and he pressed. For someone who had not masturbated in a year, who was a virgin, and was seeing a pretty girl open wide to him and begging him to come in, it was all too much. He barely got his penis halfway into her hot wetness -- he hadn't realized it would feel so good and so right -- before he started coming, spurting, overwhelming pleasure tinged with guilt. The image flashed in her mind. Panting hard, Luke spluttered, "Oh God, Quinn, I'm so sorry" as he pulled out. Quinn reassured him. "It's OK, Luke." "But ... you didn't even get to feel anything..." "It's OK; it's what I wanted." Quinn started to get up. Luke stuffed his penis back in his pants. Quinn considered that she found Luke kind of boring, and after a moment, she realized she was already half an hour late for curfew. The conversation as they drove back to her house was sparse and strained. The next morning as she slowly woke the image was clear as it had never been before. A girl. An adorable little girl.