Chapter 1 of Worlds Between
Especially for those of you who read the first book, ‘The 53rd Parallel.’ I hope you enjoy it.
Chapter 1: A child is born
This Man stood on the alert outside the door of the large wigwam, his flintlock primed and at the ready; he had tied a sprig of cedar together with a hawk feather near the muzzle of the barrel of his gun. The people of the village and their visitors were gathering around the wigwam and two of the men carried rifles; Brian Burke had his recently purchased Marlin 336 and Albert Loon carried the old Winchester that had been in his clan for as long as he could remember; both rifles were lever-action, both 30-30’s.
From inside the wigwam a woman’s hard moans and deep groans suddenly became sharp cries. The cries grew and grew into calls of the purest pain that lasted, the men thought, much too long until a sharp bark of agony was followed by a moment of silence, inside the wigwam and outside, and then by the baby’s first wail, greeted by the joyous relief of many voices, from inside the wigwam and then outside.
Brian watched for Albert’s indication to fire their rifles as he listened for news from inside and hoped to hear his invitation to enter.
Inside the wigwam Maureen received her new born baby from the Nokomis who had received it from the Ojibway midwife who had attended Maureen throughout the later stages of her pregnancy and presided over the delivery, observed by the nurse from the hospital in Kenora that Brian insisted at least be present.
Mary Fobister, Maureen’s closest friend, was the other woman attending; she had supported Maureen, propping and balancing her, holding her up, stroking her and comforting her, during what became a furiously fast delivery.
From inside Maureen called out to her husband “Brian, it’s—” just as This Man raised his gun to his shoulder and aimed high above the trees out over the River, the talisman at the tip of his gun twirling it’s magic in the breeze, and Brian and Albert raised their rifles together, so that in the same moment Maureen’s voice called she was greeted by the thunder of the rifles proclaiming a child is born.
Brian exchanged handshakes with his closest friends and everyone stepped forward to touch him and offer blessings, and Maureen was calling him in as the nurse from Kenora emerged from the wigwam door with a sweet smile of wonder on her face and assurances in her voice; Brian handed his rifle to Albert and knelt to enter.
Maureen looked up at him, exhausted, her hair sweated to her face, and gave her husband a smile; Mary moved back to make way for Brian who crouched in next to his wife and baby. Maureen whispered “Grace O’Malley Burke has come to live with us.”
He patted his wife’s shoulder, studying her status, then touched the little one’s shoulder with his finger. “You knew. You were right.”
“I never doubted.”
“That sound she made. It was grand, yeah.”
“You should have felt her fightin’ her way out into the world.”
Brian looked around at the interior of the wigwam and shook his head.
“An’ you were right about all of this as well.”
“I was glad you brought the nurse in. It was comfortin’ to see her there.”
“But you didn’t need her.”
“We didn’t need her.”
“All because you wanted our daughter to be born in a wigwam.”
“No, because I wanted our daughter to be born with her people gathered ‘round.”