On a rainy night in Georgia, Ezekiel Neary lights a fire in the old hunting cabin in the mountains where he, his two brothers and father would come to get away from it. Healing from a gun shot wound, the post traumatic stress has left him less than fit for human company. Company was more than he bargained for when a naked pregnant woman in labor shows up on his doorstep.
The roads are washed out and Aisha Miller has no choice but to run from her captor or risk bringing her child into the world in a dark cabin. Praying, she runs wildly through the woods, ending on a washed out road. The only glimmer of hope is a blue mailbox, partially rusted, halfway sticking out under the sparse moonlight.
The lone cabin sits on a hill, with two large windows looking down on her as if to pity her circumstance. Half crawling, the contractions are one minute apart and she prays that the figure in the window will be a Godsend versus the nightmare she just escape.
Join me as we head to Georgia for a new twist in the happily ever after of Ezekiel and Aisha.
It had been three days since he’d left her in the raggedy termite-eaten shack. Three soggy, wet days later, the fire was waning, but the rain was not. The last lonely embers sat in the fireplace beginning a slow death of the last log of dry firewood. If she didn’t move soon, it would also be her fate. I am not going to die here. My life is not forfeit.
The chain around her ankle was loose now that she’d lost a great deal of weight in the past month. A coldness seeped into her bones from the minimal heat generated by the last log of firewood warmth. As well as being skimpy on wood and coal, her captor didn’t feed her very much. The little food he did leave for her dining pleasure in her estimation, wasn’t fit for a dog to eat. The scraps were all she had to sustain her body and she rationed as much as she could, as often as she could. Most days she didn’t want to eat the constant diet of French fries, high sodium, and fatty foods, however, she was eating for two. Her captor had tried to better her meal choices once he saw the changes in her body. The bastard hadn’t been back in four days, and it had been raining for three.
The constant downpour for three days straight did not appear to be letting up. The leaky roof dripped rain onto the cold wooden floor which held craters of cracks and crevices allowing in varying insects and on one cold night, a black snake which came in from the rain to warm itself by the fire. The snake didn’t stay long. The shack was too cold for it. She too was cold. Naked. Cold. Scared. As much as she didn’t want to admit it, for the second time in eleven months, fear of her pending death in a shack in the butt crack of a mountain in Georgia sat beside her like a silent friend.
A pain shot low and deep across her belly.
“No, no, no,” she wailed as another pain hit her, crumpling her body. An involuntary moisture seeped from her body causing another wave of dread. Dirt-covered hands reached between her legs to feel where the pressure was building. In the low light of the shack, in her hand, she saw the yellow mucus.
The mucus plug has come out.
This was about to happen.
This is happening.
I will not die.
My life is not forfeit.
“Father, hear my prayer,” she said softly, setting to work to free herself.
The handful of yellow mucus she rubbed around the chain on her ankle, adding enough lubricant, with some effort, to wiggle the chain off her leg. Free. I am free. She stood, trying to get her legs under her, grateful, that when she’d been alone, meticulous exercise routines were enacted to maintain her muscle tone, just in case this day ever came.
She was naked as a newborn babe, but her newborn was not going to arrive in that cold prison where he’d kept her. On a hook on the wall hung an old, weathered rain slicker. Grabbing the fabric, she shook it hard, attempting to free it of any guests which may have taken up residence in the material. Pulling it over her head, she yanked the unlocked rear door open, stepping barefoot onto the splintered back porch. Grateful the arrogant prick didn’t bother to lock the door because he never thought she’d get free, she stepped off the porch and made her way around the house.
The rain hit her in the face like so many of her bad decisions which, thus far, had led her to this fate. My life is not forfeit. Cold fingers touched her belly, gripping it low as she set out at a steady pace, running down the hill on the driven pathway. Uncertain of where she was running. Not knowing where she was going. Not really caring. All she knew was that she had to get away.
Branches slapped her in the face as she ran through the dense foliage of the woods where the driven path came to a muddy end in a deep red clay pool. She lost her footage, slipping, protecting her belly by landing on her side, her face in the dirt, her skin soaked. Turning, scrambling, struggling to get back on her feet, the aggressive rain washed the dirt from her face, but the hood kept her head dry. The pain in her feet was all but ignored since they had gone numb some time ago; she got back up and continued to run downhill. Downhill meant a road should be coming up soon. The pains in her belly were intensifying, signaling she was almost out of time.
“Hold on, Baby,” she said, breaking through the foliage into a clearing.
I made it to the road.
The heavy rain was blinding her since there were no trees on the road to slow its torrential downpour. The sliver of moonlight which lit her way in the night gave no indication of city lights, a nearby residence, or a direction in which to turn. Closing her eyes, she dropped to her knees.
“Father, order my steps,” she prayed.
Rising slowly, a pull to her left suggested she go in that direction. Hands clutched around her belly, which was moving, squirming, and ready to release its incubating inhabitant; she knew she would be in trouble if she didn’t find help soon. A pain shot low, forcing her to stop running. She leaned down, holding her knees, trying desperately to catch her breath. Then another pain hit her a few minutes later.
The contractions were growing closer and closer together.
If her water had broken, she didn’t know. Everything was wet. The poncho had holes in it, but her head stayed dry. That was important. A wet head could mean death before she even had a chance to meet her baby.
Move, Girl. You have to move.
She picked up her pace, running a bit further only to discover more sections of a washed-out road. The gap in it was too large for her to clamber over in her current state. As fast as the water was washing down the mountain, the last thing she needed was to be swept away in the downpour.
I can’t go back. I can’t go back.
Tears started to well in her eyes.
I can’t believe He brought me this far…to leave me here.
Wiping away her tears, she stood in the rain looking around and surveying her surroundings when she spotted a glimmer of hope. A blue mailbox. A neon blue, half rusted mailbox which stuck out in the all the dark, wet nastiness of the night.
“Thank you, Father,” she said aloud.
A mailbox meant a residence. A residence meant potential safety. The mailbox was old, but not too rusted, which meant someone had been maintaining it. She turned towards the red dirt road which sat beside the mailbox. Gratitude shot up her leg at the dirt smoothness of the road versus gravel being used to stop the erosion of the driveway. The gate, which blocked the road, was fortunately unlocked as her cold, tired hands pushed at it, the metal squealing as the space widened just enough to get her body through the opening.
She closed it back once inside.
Follow the road. Follow the road. A voice repeated in her head.
Picking up her pace, she knew time was almost up and she needed, no had to make it to that front door. Whoever was home would be in for a big surprise when they answered the knock. She prayed whoever was inside would be able to lend her a hand.
A sharp pain hit her again, buckling her knees.
My life is not forfeit.
My life is not forfeit.
She began to crawl.
She crawled until the pain subsided, then she was back on her feet. In her head, she counted one one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand, four… continuing to run as best she could. She lumbered part of the way, cried the other part until she rounded the bend coming up the hill. A small cabin sat as if it were looking down at her, encouraging her to continue to its safety, the two front windows appearing as oversized eyes staring down, encouraging her to come to them. To her joy, one of the eyes had a little something in it which moved as if it were pacing.
“Thank you, Father,” she said again.
Running as fast as she could move, the lactic acid burned in her legs and her feet had no feeling, but that figure in the window propelled her forward. She reached the front porch, gasping for air as another pain hit her low. She growled in pain. A small balled up fist tapped at the door.
She hit it harder, banging it with the remaining shards of energy she had left, creating the familiar rhythm of “Shave and a Hair Cut.”
Warm air hit her face as the door opened, revealing a cozy fire and the smell of fresh bread and something delicious to eat. Her mouth watered at the scents, but pressing matters were at hand.
“What in the hell?” the dark figured asked as she pushed her way past him. She moved in front of the fire, pulling the tattered poncho overhead to reveal a dirty, scarred and nude pregnant body.
“Help me,” she said, dropping to her knees. “I have been kidnapped and held against my will by one of the Macklemore brothers. I don’t know which one, but the cops in these parts are lowdown bastards so don’t think of calling them for any aid. My contractions are two minutes apart. I escaped. I ran from wherever that shack is that he kept me locked in for the past…”
A contraction hit her again, forcing her body to fold over as she lay on her side. It took some effort, but she rolled over to lie on her back on the floor, her woman parts pulsing and pointing at him. The dark hair on a tiny head pushed out of the ever-stretching hole and the man had not moved.
“…ten maybe eleven months. Close the damned door! Stop staring at me and help me deliver this child!” she yelled at him.
He jumped, closing the door and running to her side.
“I need to boil some water,” he said, finally finding his voice.
“No, you need to come behind me, sit me up so I can push this child out of my baby maker,” she said with her hoarse voice.
The stranger moved behind her. The strong stench coming from her unwashed body could have been enough to gag a mule. Her hair was matted and filled with moving things which would infect everything in his home, but first thing was first. She was having a baby in the middle of his floor.
He held her upright as she bent her knees.
“On three, breathe then push…one, two, and three,” he said.
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