For a brief moment, I simply gawked at the mare, for that’s what she was, and a beauty at that. She had a gorgeous white coat and a long mane that I could brush for hours if given the chance. But since I didn’t have a brush, I simply ran my hand through it. Hey, I’m a sucker for long hair, okay?
Anyway, as I continued to stroke her I remembered the legends about unicorns and quickly looked down my shirt to make sure nothing had changed there. My pecs were perfectly normal. Still I carefully reached down to make sure the rest of my privates were still intact. Once I was satisfied that nothing was amiss, I gently told my visitor, “I hate to be the one to break this to you, but I am in not any way shape or form a maiden. And as for my purity and innocence, you’re about a 150 years too late. So either your radar is really out of whack, or you… need my help.”
Those last three words came out much slower than the rest, as the scent of dried blood reached my nostrils. Craning my neck took a better look at my visitor and finally spotted several long gashes near her rear flank. It had taken some doing to see that area of her because of how swollen and distended her belly was.
I knew that look all too well, she was pregnant.
Stroking her face reassuringly, I smiled, “Ah, that’s why you came to me. You’re not so innocent yourself anymore. Well I hope he was worth it.”
She gave me a look and suddenly stood up. At first I thought she’d taken offense but then I saw that her swollen abdomen was riding much lower than I’d originally thought. As I started to do some mental calculations she began biting at her sides, while her tail began raising and swishing anxiously.
That put an end to my mathematical exercise. The dried blood, her coming to me, the lying down and getting back up again meant only one thing. She was already in labor and had been for a few hours. No doubt she had been resting someplace safe in the Para-Earth she called home, but then something had tried to get at her. She’d managed to put her labor on hold, a gift shared by horses our reality, long enough to flee the scene and came through the opening Otto had ventured into earlier.
Looking back on things, I suspect she had passed through the portal several times before. This would explain the sightings of strange creatures that had brought me and Otto to this otherwise secluded place. Only this time she had come through slightly injured and in need of assistance.
As I got to my feet, I noticed her staring at the ‘nest’ I’d made myself and knew exactly what she was thinking. I’d helped my father and our stablemen deliver foals enough times, to know that a nest was exactly what she needed. Immediately, I started gathering clean branches and brush, while she moved off a ways to relieve herself. By the time I’d finished her ‘delivery’ bed, she had emptied herself as much as possible. Or so I thought, because there was suddenly a loud splashing sound
“And there goes your water,” I nodded with a groan. Now the clock was really ticking. The baby was coming and there was no stopping it this time. If whatever had gone after her before showed up, it would be up to me to keep her safe, as well as help deliver the foal if necessary.
Immediately I carefully led her over to the nest where she promptly laid down. “Atta girl,” I said soothingly, “Everything’s going to be just fine now, I promise.”
Naturally, as soon as the words had left my mouth my keen ears picked up the sound of movement in the distance.
Glancing upwards into the overhanging trees, through whose branches I could see a few strands of the Aurora Borealis, I said quietly, “Don’t tell me, Lord I want to guess. You got bored with the other 7 billion souls wandering the planet and said to yourself, ‘Hey, let’s check on that vampyre guy Nathan, he’s hysterical. Ooo… lookie there, he’s found himself a unicorn in labor. Now this looks promising. But you know what? It could be a bit more interesting. Let’s give him something more to worry about.’ Am I right?”
As if in answer the sounds in the distance became clearer and I could hear two men talking. “I’m telling you, Donnie, someone saw a unicorn around here,” one was saying.
“Eric, you’re getting as bad as Dad. You believe everything you see in someone’s Twitter feed,” replied the other.
“So what are we doing here with our guns if you weren’t hoping to find a real live unicorn?” asked the first voice.
“Bro, if we spot ourselves a unicorn, it’s not going be alive for very long,” the second voice answered, followed by the distinct sound of a rifle being cocked.
“Great, now I’ve got Elmer Fudd and Yosemite Sam to deal with as well,” I murmured under my breath.
The mare gave me an anxious look.
“Don’t worry, Sweetheart,” I assured her, getting to my feet. “I’ve been watching Bugs Bunny cartoons since they first came out in 1940. I know how to deal with these jokers.”
I started heading towards the source of the voices when she whinnied loudly, making me wince. Not that I could blame her, I mean after all she was in the middle of giving birth. But the Bobsy-Twins had heard her as well, and were now heading towards us. Luckily, they were still outside the edge of the woods where the snow was thick, which was slowing them down but only so much. They’d be able to spot us in mere minutes.
Turning back to my charge, I was about to outline the plan that was forming in my head only to find a new problem had arisen. The amniotic sac that held her foal was already showing. But, instead of the healthy white I’d been hoping for, it was red. Immediately, my heart sank. She was ‘red-bagging’ which meant that the baby’s oxygen supply was getting cut off and it could suffocate before it escaped its mother’s womb if I didn’t act fast.
TO BE CONTINUED…