One of our assignments this week was to write an alternate ending to one of the stories we read. Since I was so fascinated by The Postman Always Rings Twice I felt as though writing another ending would suit me well, since I am part of the #frankandcora4ever team. I wanted them to at least make it to the hospital, but what happened afterwards was all up to fate.
As Frank drove as fast as the truck in front of him would allow, Cora screamed in pain. Frank knew he had to get to the hospital as soon as possible. He pulled to the left of the truck ahead, hit the gas full throttle, and sped past it, missing oncoming traffic by inches. By now Cora was not only in pain, but she was also scared for her life. Frank continued driving full speed in order to get to the hospital which was still miles away.
“We’ll make it. It will be okay. You’ll be okay, and so will our baby,” Frank reassured Cora.
When she looked at him, he could see in her eyes how scared she was. He knew she didn’t want to lose this baby, and he didn’t either.
“We’re almost there. Hang in there!” Frank reached for Cora’s hand, but she pulled it away to grab her stomach.
“HURRY!” She screamed.
Frank pushed the gas as hard as he could, and after another 5 minutes, they arrived at the emergency room entrance.
Frank slammed the car in Park and ran around to pick Cora up out of the passenger seat. She felt light as a feather, but Frank could not get her inside fast enough.
She was immediately admitted, and doctors hovered over her poking her with IVs and placing her and the baby on heart monitors for what seemed like years.
“Cora, you know you are about 6 months pregnant, correct?” The doctor asked her.
She looked at him in shock.
“6 months? That cannot be…”
“But it is. We need to run more tests to see what is going on. If we need to take the baby out, there is a good chance that the baby and you will not survive.”
Cora looked at the doctors while tears filled her eyes.
“Where is Frank. I need Frank!” Cora yelled.
Frank heard her yelling and immediately ran to her side and grabbed her hand.
“They’re taking me for tests. I don’t want to die. I don’t want this baby to die.”
“It’ll be okay,” Frank said, but he wasn’t sure if it would be. He had to be strong for her, especially after all the shit they had already been through. He didn’t know what he would do without her.
They decided to take Cora back for more tests, and Frank sat in the waiting room and waited…
2 MONTHS LATER
After two long months of Cora being stabilized in the hospital, Frank felt something wasn’t right. He drove from the small apartment he was renting to the hospital in record time. When he arrived, the unthinkable was happening.
“We need to get this baby out NOW,” one doctor screamed to a nurse
“Her heart rate is dropping, and her blood pressure is through the roof!”
“TELL THE OR WE ARE COMING NOW!”
Frank ran to follow them, but a nurse pulled him back.
“You can’t go with them.”
“I have to. That is my baby!” Frank said, panting from the run.
“It will be okay,” she reassured.
But it wasn’t okay. After 3 hours in the operating room trying to birth the baby via C-Section, Cora died from blood loss.
A doctor came out, with a saddened look on his face.
“I’m sorry, but we couldn’t save her.”
Frank looked at him, while anger filled his body and tears welled up in his eyes. He clenched his fists, and then released them
“What about the baby?” He said with a shaky voice.
The doctor looked at him with a small smile.
“We were able to deliver your baby boy, even at 4 weeks early. However, survival chances are low. You can come see him now if you like.”
Frank was crying now. He lost his girl, and there was a chance he’d lose his son too?
He followed the Doctor to the NICU, which was the fancy name for the baby intensive care space.
There he was. There was the baby he and Cora and created. He was beautiful, and so small. The baby was attached to so many wires and monitors, that it made Frank cry even more. “My baby,” he whispered.
A nurse came over to him, and asked if he had thought of a name with his wife. While they hadn’t discussed names, he thought he knew exactly what he was going to name him.
He thought for a while, and then remembered something Cora had told him.
“All that time I was out there, waiting for the funeral to be over, I thought about it. What it would mean to us. Because we took a life, didn’t we? And now we’re going to give one back.”
And with that Frank knew exactly what to name his child.
“Nicholas. His name is Nicholas”
As you can see, I definitely had a lot of fun writing this alternate ending. I didn’t really have a process on writing it, I just kind of kept typing, and it all came to me. I initially didn’t want to kill off Cora, but I felt as though killing her kept the story feeling Noir. I also considered killing off Frank as well, but that would have left this baby alone, and I could have created a whole book on that baby’s life. I wanted to keep it simple, but still make it interesting. Also, using the quote from earlier in the book was a last minute decision. I was thinking about what to name this baby, and it came to me. I had remembered the conversation Cora and Frank had had when she returned from the funeral, and they were talking about the baby. I think that tying that in and naming the baby Nicholas (after the Greek) felt appropriate.
I think writing alternate endings to stories allows you to make the story end in a way that you want, but it also allows you to build off of what you already know. You can also create more stories after you write an alternate ending. You could build fan fiction, which is growing in popularity. I think that being able to change things is something we as humans wish we could do more often. We can’t change the endings to situations in our lives, but doing it to the lives of characters gives us control and power to make a difference. I think it is important that we have an outlet like that.