Stella examined her surroundings. It was dark, very very dark. Everything was all black. The only source of light was a mysterious green glow off somewhere in the distance. There was a thick fog starting to surround her. Stella knew she wasn’t safe just standing there. She knew she had to get away. But where would she go? There was nothing but darkness and that haunting green glow that seemed to follow Stella wherever she went. In the distance she heard a faint cry, but this wasn’t just anyone crying. Stella’s stomach dropped when she heard her baby cry.
They were only a few days old, but Stella immediately recognized the sound of Lincoln’s cry. Like a cheetah Stella took off running desperately trying to find her son. But no matter how hard she ran, she couldn’t find him.
Stella stopped to catch her breathe when she heard Autumn cry out. Stella felt like she was running in circles. Now matter how far or how fast she sprinted Stella was going nowhere. And that damn green glowing light seemed to taunt her.
The fog was growing thicker, yet Stella still ran. The green light glowed brighter, yet Stella still ran. Her babies’ cries grew louder, and she ran even faster. A sense of hopeless fell over Stella thicker than fog surrounding her. The fog has gotten so thick that now it was hard to breathe. Panting turned into hyperventilating as she desperately grasped for air. Stella fell to the floor in a coughing fit. As she laid on the floor, struggling for air, the sounds of her babies’ crying was replaced with laughter. No, not really a laugh. It was more like a cackle. The most evil sound Stella had ever heard. A cackle filled with all the evil and hatred in the world. Before Stella took her last breathe, a single word escaped her chapped lips: Maleficent.
Like a bolt of lightning, Stella shot up in her bed. She looked around the room, assessing where she was. She was in the hospital bed with Brandon quietly asleep in the chair next to her. Stella came to the realization that it was all just a terrible nightmare. The fog wasn’t real. The sound of her babies crying wasn’t real. Or was it?!
Maleficent’s demonic laugh was too frightening, and all too real, that Stella still had goose bumps. The terror consumed Stella as she had the desperate urge to see her babies. More than anything she had to make sure that they were okay.
Stella tried to get out of bed, but the blankets were wrapped around her legs tighter than a sailor’s knot.
“What is gong on?” Brandon woke to the sound of Stella struggling like a trapped rat. She was thrashing so had that Brandon feared Stella may hurt herself.
“I have to see my babies,” Stella desperately cried out. “I need to make sure that they are safe.”
“They are fine.” Brandon gently put his hands on Stella to try to stop her. “Lincoln and Autumn are perfectly safe in the NICU. They are strong, and healthy, and safe, and we are going to be able to take them home very soon.”
“I have to know that my babies are safe,” Stella wouldn’t listen to reason. “”What if Maleficent comes back? We don’t even know where Anastasis is!”
Stella knew that she was being paranoid. She knew each and every doctor or nurse in the NICU and she knew that Lincoln and Autumn were in the best care possible. So, why couldn’t she shake this impending fear that at any moment it would all be taken away?
Things didn’t get better after everyone was finally able to return home. Even in her own home, surrounded by the family that loves and protects her, Stella couldn’t shake the feelings of fear. Life in the Charming household soon became a coin toss to see which Stella would wake in the morning. Happy Stella was joking, smiling, and eating her meals in the dining room with the rest of her family. She was affectionate towards Brandon. She was welcoming of her family’s visits and Happy Stella was excited to show off Lincoln and Autumn. This was the Stella that everyone was used to seeing.
Depressed Stella was the bipolar opposite. She even looked different. Terror consumed Depressed Stella, taking over every aspect of her life. Depressed Stella still refused to believe that her babies were safe. She wouldn’t let anyone anywhere near her or the babies. She wouldn’t even let Brandon or Cindy set foot in the nursery. This Stella was short tempered and easily angered. Depressed Stella was like a category 5 hurricane spreading chaos in her wake.
“What do you want?” Stella snapped at Brandon the second he stepped foot in the nursery. Brandon knew instantly that he would be dealing with Depressed Stella this morning. He had to step lightly and choose his words carefully.
“I was just checking to see if you needed anything before I go to work,” Brandon spoke in a loving, calm tone of voice.
“Why would I need anything from you?” Depressed Stella took everything as a personal attack. “I am perfectly capable of taking care of my babies on my own. I don’t want, or need, your help.”
“I was just offering.” Brandon knew that there was no sense is reasoning with Depressed Stella, but he knew deep inside was the happy loving Stella that he married. He was determined to get that Stella back.
“Well, I just said that I don’t need your help.” Stella shouted back at him. “Just go to work, and leave me alone!”
Stella’s yelling woke up Autumn, who immediately started crying for her bottle. Hearing his twin start to cry, Lincoln woke up and began to duet of sobbing.
“Well, this is just great!” Stella’s words were soaked in venom and dropping with sarcasm. “Now look what you have done. Just get out and don’t ever come back!”
Brandon just stood there dumbfounded. Did his wife really just tell him to never come back?! There was nothing more he could do; saying anything in response would have only angered Stella more. So, he just left the nursery in defeat.
When Depressed Stella was in a rage the only one who seemed to calm her was Cindy. She knew what Stella was going though because she had lived it herself.
“Let me see my beautiful grandbaby.” Cindy cooed as she picked up a crying Lincoln from his crib.
Cindy spoke with a calming tone, that not only stopped Lincoln and Autumn from crying, but had Stella hypnotized as well. Cindy’s words cast some sort of relaxation spell over Stella, and she gave Lincoln over without a fuss.
“Why don’t you go take a hot shower?” Cindy suggested “I can watch these sweet little babies for you.“
Stella snapped out of her exhaustion induced trance long enough to put up a fight, but Cindy wouldn’t back down so easily.
“I am their grandmother,” Cindy made sure her voice remained soft and calm, “I will make sure that they remain safe with me.”
Cindy was hard to argue with, especially since Stella was too exhausted to even try. Like a robot under control, and without saying a word, Stella got up from her rocking chair and headed towards the bathroom to take a long hot shower.
Stella didn’t say anything to Brandon as she passed him in the kitchen, she just shuffled off like a zombie into the bathroom. He was in shock to see Stella leave the nursery.
“Stella seems to be suffering from postpartum depression.” Cindy explained everything to Brandon. He was desperate to learn Cindy’s secret for calming down an a hysterical Stella. “Plus, she is overcome with the fear that what happened to her as a baby will happen again.”
“What can we do to make her feel better?” Brandon was desperate for answers to find the key to get back his happy go-lucky wife back.
“I went through something very similar when I first lost Stella. There were days when I wouldn’t even get out of bed,” Cindy confessed. It was still very hard for her to talk about it, but if it would Stella then Cindy would share her story. “What helped me was having someone to talk about it.”
“That could work,” Brandon enthused, “When Stella comes out of the shower we should tell her that she should go see a therapist.”
“I’m not sure that will work.” Cindy replied. “When have you ever known Stella to do exactly what you say?”
Brandon smiled since he knew his wife’s stubbornness all too well.
“We need to wait for Stella to come up with the idea on her own.”
Stella examined herself in the mirror and didn’t recognize the face staring back at her. Her purple hair was a tangled oily mess pulled in a tight ponytail. The bags under her eyes had gotten darker that they almost matched her dark hair. Stella traced the lines and the wrinkles around her face. Her skin was a translucent color, she looked like a ghost. She looked as if she had ages 20 years.
As she showered Stella thought about that had taken place back at the nursery. It was like an out of body experience. She could see herself yelling at Brandon, but Stella couldn’t control herself. The part of her brain urging her to stop was over shadowed by the depressed, scared part that urged her to continue her verbal diarrhea.
It hasn’t been only Brandon that she has hurt. Cindy and Ryan have been so helpful, and in return Stella has treated them like dirt. She pushed away Aunt April, Aunt May, and Aunt June with her nasty attitude and hurtful comments. It had been so long since she had seen Sarah, her suppose to be best friend.
At that moment Stella knew what she had to do. She knew she needed to get some help.