As they advanced, at a moderate pace, they left behind several other rooms along the sides of the corridor, which was much longer than expected.
Those rooms were very different compared to the one they had entered. Their entrances were strange. While a few were neatly decorated, others were hidden behind broken or tartar-filled doors, and some didn’t even have them. In these last ones, their interiors were visible, and what was inside was… nothing.
Although these had been created by man and not naturally, they were empty and were not even illuminated since only their interiors could be seen thanks to the lamps that the women carried.
However, regardless of that, they continued walking until, minutes later, they reached their destination, where they stopped to wait for the old woman, who was at the back of the group, so that she, once again, could take the lead and open the door to the new room.
Yes, their destination was another room. After all, they have not yet left the cave and apparently do not plan to do so.
With the door now open, they entered the place where they carefully placed the pitiful women they carried in their arms on cold, hard, smooth stone beds.
The place in question was much cleaner than the other parts of the cave. The walls, ceiling, and floor had been smoothed, eliminating the roughness that would be expected of them. In addition, in the center of the room, a large wooden table was on which various objects were laid out, such as scissors, towels, gloves, and a few other items.
When all the women, who had been carried here, were placed in their respective beds, the others, without their leader needing to speak, moved to the side of the walls, where they remained standing, awaiting further instructions.
Meanwhile, the old woman moved slowly towards one of the pregnant women and, upon reaching her side, positioned herself at the bottom of the bed to perform the delivery.
Even though the delivery had already begun, the place remained silent. As before, the pregnant still showed no reaction; not even a moan was coming from her. Moreover, the others standing at the sides were no different either, immobile like statues, only followed with their gazes to that person, to the only woman who was moving busily, with sweat on her forehead and a frown on her face.
It wasn’t until a baby’s cry echoed throughout the room that the awkward silence was broken.
The first of the children had been born.
But although this was a miraculous act that should have relieved some of the tension in the room, the opposite actually happened. The old woman, without even cleaning the dirt that covered him, took him in her arms to check his sex, which she had not noticed before because of the hurry.
As she did so, the sound of swallowing saliva could barely be heard from one of the surrounding women.
In the end, the baby turned out to be a girl.
Seeing this, her actions stopped for a few moments, but after closing her eyes tightly, she went to the table in the center of the room to get a towel to wipe the baby with, and as she moved, for the first time since she arrived here, she spoke aloud.
Even when the meaning of her words is still unrecognizable, thanks to her gestures and the direction of her gaze, it is possible to understand what she wants. She asks one of the women in the corner of the room to approach her, but on this occasion, the woman she is addressing shows no sign of responding.
Upon realizing this, the old woman did not seem surprised, as if it was something to be expected, so, after letting out a resounding sigh, she began to approach that woman while still holding the baby in her arms.
Seeing her approaching, the girl concerned could no longer maintain her firm posture. Her body began to tremble violently as if death was coming to her step by step.
When the old woman arrived at her destination, she extended her arms, which held the baby, indicating to her target to take her. However, she continued without getting the answer she wanted as the woman still refused to obey her order, and the only thing she got from her was that her tremors increased.
Seeing her act like this, the old woman finally became annoyed, and with a grimace that looked terrifying when combined with the scars that adorned her, she kept trying for a while, but seeing no change, she gave up.
After failing in her mission, the old woman walked away from the trembling woman, who collapsed to her knees as she watched the storm move away. Next to her was one of her companions, who quickly approached her to help her to her feet.
When the old woman reached one of the empty beds, she carefully placed the little baby and wrapped her well with the sheets so she would not fall or catch a cold. Then she immediately returned to another of the pregnant women to continue with the deliveries.
Everything seemed to have calmed down. However, this was only the eye of the hurricane.
As she was laboriously preparing to start, she blurted out, as if they were unimportant, some words that made all the women standing inside the room shudder, although the worst affected were the woman she had dealt with before and her companion who was supporting her.
The first of them collapsed again due to the lack of strength in her legs, while the other, with more will in her heart, could barely avoid falling after leaning on the wall with her hands.
Regardless of what her words caused, the old woman began the deliveries, which this time continued without interruption until the end.
The next baby to be born was a boy, and this time, unlike the girl, after checking his gender, the old woman called one of the women standing around her, who took him, cleaned him, covered him, and took him out of the room.
Every time a child was born, one of the women nearby would clean it, cover it, and take it out of the room. Every time a girl was born, the old woman would place it, without even cleaning it, in the same place where the first one had been put.
This was repeated and again until all the pregnant gave birth.
It is incredible that, despite the deplorable state of the now mothers, none of them died during the process, not even when it was done manually, without adequate tools to support it. A true miracle occurred here, or maybe not.
In any case, just as they were brought here by the hooded women, they were taken back in the direction of the chilly place they came from.
In the end, when almost everyone left the room, only three groups of women remained. The first was the newborns sleeping peacefully on a pair of beds; the second was the two girls still shivering in a corner; the third, consisting of only one person, was the old woman sitting on the hard floor in the corner opposite both girls.
As the minutes progressed, one of the girls stopped trembling, yet her nervousness was still noticeable as she held her clothes tightly. However, her companion did not show any sign of improvement. On the contrary, she was worse than before, for beneath the cloth, she was shivering, and her soft sobbing could be heard.
After having rested sufficiently, the old woman got up energetically from where she was sitting and, with steps that belied the age of her face, walked to the table in the center of the room, from where she took three items that were placed it. Then she approached the beds where the newborns were lying.
Seeing what the old woman was holding in her hands, the sobbing girl could not help but let out a gasp, but with trembling steps, she followed her companion, who was also walking towards the babies.
When the three women positioned themselves around the babies, the old woman began to speak, and what she said caused the girls, with slow and reluctant movements, to remove the cloth covering their heads.
Under such covers were two women who looked very different from each other.
The calmer girl seemed to be the older one, with a smooth and beautiful face… or so it would be, but for the large and grotesque scar that covered her face, from her left eyebrow to the right side of her neck, completely disappearing her left eye and nose, while cutting her fleshy lips in half.
On the other hand, the girl next to him was much luckier. Despite having a face that could hardly be described as beautiful, she had no scars covering her, but even without them, she looked terrible because of the mucus that bathed her.
Even with such differences, there was one thing in which they were similar. Both women were young, perhaps no older than thirty, and neither had any hair on their heads.
Not only were their appearances exposed by removing the cloth, but their nervousness also became more evident. While the younger one cried, the older one, despite her efforts, found it impossible to stop the cold sweat that ran down her face.
However, none of that matters to the old woman, as she indifferently handed each girl one of the objects she had previously taken from the table while she kept the last one. After checking that they had both taken them correctly, she again turned to the babies.
Then, suddenly, without a hint of hesitation in her movement, she grabbed one of the babies by the left leg and lifted her into the air.
Whether by chance or not, the baby she held was the first to be born.
As the baby cried at the rough treatment, the old woman began to speak to the two women next to her in a voice that sounded like a teacher teaching her students.
And as she spoke, she also moved her two arms. Arms with which he showed them what they should do with the rest of the babies.