“The child can’t actually speak to you,” explained the doctor. “Her brain has formed enough to support basic thoughts, but she has no concept of language. This procedure is more of an exchange of images and ideas—you speak with concepts instead of words.”

“Is it dangerous for the baby?” asked my wife.

“No more so than speaking softly to the child or playing music while she’s in your womb.”

My wife looked at me and smiled. “Let’s do it!”

The doctor led us to a room that was labelled “Foetal Communications.” He attached a bunch of wires from a large console along the back wall to my wife’s stomach and our heads, then handed us both sleeping masks.

“You’ll want to wear these for the full effect. Sometimes the images you’ll receive are too weak to compete with the visual stimulus of the room. I’ll turn out the lights, too.”

We both sat down in the large comfortable chairs that were in the room, and watched as the doctor worked at the console for a moment. He continued to talk as he turned dials and pushed buttons.

“Most of the imagery you receive will probably be nonsensical—remember, your daughter has no experience outside of the womb. Even though the images may not make sense, you should be able to sense the emotion and intent behind the images. Your daughter will also sense your thoughts. I usually recommend for parents to keep their emotions warm and loving, and avoid thinking about anything too complicated so that you don’t confuse or frighten the baby.”

My wife looked at me and smiled. I smiled back as we both slipped the sleeping masks over our eyes.

“I’m turning out the lights now. I’ll come back in five minutes to turn off the machine,” said the doctor, followed by a click of the light switch and the soft sound of the door being gently closed.

I waited in the darkness, listening to the soft sounds of my wife breathing next to me. A pin prick of light entered my vision and bounced around. Was this an image from the baby? I heard my wife gasp softly—was she seeing the same thing as me?

The pin prick slowly grew larger, bathing my field of vision in pink light, marked by dark creeping ivy lines that slowly spread upwards. It reminded me of what it looks like to close your eyes and face the sun, seeing the veins of your eyelids.

My wife’s breathing grew faster, and I felt the pace of my heart quicken. The dark lines filling my vision started creeping faster, spreading wider, tangling with one another to form a dark, spiny maze. The lines grew thicker as though filling with fluid, and started pulsating in rhythm with my racing heart. One of the veins burst open, then another, and another, revealing giant red canyons.

Suddenly I was falling, tumbling end over end into an infinite blood-red abyss. The sounds of inhuman wailing filled my ears like the screams of a thousand souls suffering unspeakable tortures. The red vastness swirled with images of mangled people and animals, maggot-ridden corpses, the impossible forms of demons and creatures not of this world, and other horrors of unknowable dread and despair which I dare not recall now for fear of my own sanity.

I spent an eternity in that hellish nightmare world, though the doctor assured me afterwards that he had returned after five minutes as he promised. When it was finally over, and I found myself back in this world sitting next to my sweat-drenched wife, we gave each other a knowing look.

“So, how was it?” asked the doctor with a grin.

“Get this crazy bitch out of me now,” said my wife.