Nathan’s Private E-Journal – February 16, 2014 “My Odd Valentine’s Day Adventure” Part- IV

     tromso2

      For those not familiar with foaling or the term “red-bagging”, normally the foal is encased in the amniotic sac which comes out first.   Once this has cleared the womb, there is a second expulsion from the mother which involves the placenta which has been providing the foal with oxygen and nutrition up to this point.  But in this case, both placenta and baby were coming out simultaneously meaning no oxygen was getting to the foal.

       So you can understand why in spite of my anxiety about the approaching hunters, my first concern had to be breaking the sac so the foal could take in his/her first breaths of real air.  As I quickly started making my way back to the scene of the delivery I could tell the baby’s head had already cleared mom’s womb and was moving.  Starving for air, no doubt.  But then I noticed a curious stub-shape emanating from the forehead area of the unseen foal.  A second later it pierced the sac releasing fluids and other unmentionable things.

        I paused to marvel at the realization that the foal was born with the beginnings of what would eventually be a magnificent horn like its mother.  And unlike in some species where horns or coloration was part of attracting a mate, it served an important purpose in birth.  No doubt, red-bagging was common among their kind and the horn had been an evolutionary development to help them survive.

        Yet, in spite of the having pierced the sac the foal was still struggling so I quickly lent a hand and ripped the opening wider until the animal’s nose was clear and taking in air.  From there things moved quickly.  I wound up helping guide the rest of the foal out of mom and helped free it from the rest of the protective membrane.

        After positioning him closer to his mother, I returned my attentions to our unwanted guests only to find they had cleared the deeper snow and could clearly see us.

         “Look, someone’s found her already, Don!” said the one who must’ve been Eric.

     “Yeah, but we have guns and he doesn’t,” the other replied, cocking his gun and quickened his pace.

        Although I knew I could easily shape-shift and take them both down, a confrontation would mean gunfire.  And even a stray shot could hit mom or her newborn.  So instead, I resorted to another of my abilities.  Down by my feet a greenish mist began to cover the ground and make its way toward the pair.

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         I made the layer thin and close to the ground so as not to alert them to its presence.  As soon as their snowshoed feet touched the edges of the miasma, it quickly worked its way up their pants legs and into their clothing.  By the time they were within twenty feet of me, it snaked into their mouths and noses.

           Now I had them.

        Smiling, I drew upon my years of studying in Tromso, and called out to them in a very convincing Norwegian accent.  “Hullo!  Oh am I glad to see you.  My mare, she has just given birth and I need to get her and her baby back to the stables.”

        The brothers, paused in mid-step eyeing me warily.  They either thought I was drunk or stoned, which is why they hadn’t lowered their guns at this point.

     Finally, the one called Donnie stepped forward saying, “You got a mare that’s just given birth?  Must be pretty special.”

      “Oh, she is,” I nodded eagerly, using the unassuming almost clownish manner that I had seen Otto use on many an occasion to make people think he wasn’t nearly as clever as them.  “At least to me.  I raise her from a baby and now she has given birth to her own.”

       “Really?” Donnie said still approaching, “And here I thought she was special because of her being a unicorn.”

        “Unicorn?” I repeated stupidly.  “What makes you think she is a unicorn?”

      Now he was just five feet in front of me, and began pointing the gun at my head.  “Because I can see the horn sticking out of her head from here!” he snapped impatiently.

        This was the crucial moment and I had to get things just right.  Carefully, a let a smile cross my face.  “The horn sticking…” I began to chuckle. “She get you too, eh?”  Now I doubled up with laughter, slapping my thighs and everything.

      The brothers shared an uneasy glance at one another for a moment.  Then Donnie told his brother to check on the animal, while keeping me under guard.

      As I continued my enjoyment of a good joke, my mind was working furiously to distort Eric’s perception of what he saw.  It was a crucial moment.  If his mind proved more resistant than I’d hoped, then I’d have to take more drastic measures.  One of my hands was already beginning to take the shape of a vicious dog head, when I heard…

        “What the… Oh my God! That is so funny!”

        This was followed by laughter and the sound of Eric joining us. “That’s not a unicorn, Donnie!  It’s a horse with a big icicle caught in the hair covering her forehead.”

       “WHAT?” Donnie exploded and marched past me to see for himself.

      While Eric and I enjoyed a good laugh, I kept my fingers crossed that Donnie was as susceptible to my mist as his brother had been.  After several pregnant moments, he came stomping back towards us looking disgusted.  “I don’t believe it.  We came all this way for a stupid horse!” he groused and turned to his sibling, “This is all your fault, Eric!  You’re the one who insisted unicorns were real!”

     “No, I only mentioned it to Jared and our sister so they’d have an excuse to go skiing out this way.”

       As the accusations flew, I quietly wandered back to my charges.

mom and foal

      Mom was giving her offspring a good cleaning off while he enjoyed his first real meal from her.  She paused briefly to shoot me what I can only describe as a look of gratitude.

      I smiled and was about to tell her it was my pleasure when a menacing howl erupted from somewhere nearby.  I call it a howl, but it was more of a call which had come from no creature known to this reality.  The sound was so chilling, even the newborn paused in his feeding to shoot an anxious look at his mother, who in turned a frightened gaze to me.

      I’m not going to insult myself again by saying it didn’t take a genius to figure out what had made that noise.  I already knew.  Whatever had attacked her earlier had caught her scent through the portal and was coming…

TUNE IN NEXT TIME TO MEET THE PARA-EARTH THREAT AND AN AMAZING RESCUE!

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Nathan’s Private E-Journal – February 16, 2014 “My Odd Valentine’s Day Adventure” Part- III

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?

Horse Mane

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.

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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.

horse eye

“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…