"Pregnant woman and cravings," David muttered as he glanced at his wife’s pregnant figure outlined by the bright street lights. She wiggled in her seat by the passenger door.
"Just something small sweetheart." Renee turned from her car window with a weary smile from a barely visible face in the dark car interior. "Been a good time to travel, baby isn’t due for another month."
"Wouldn’t bet on that." He turned his eyes from her pleading look to scan the misty car window, the heavy mist turning to rain on a dark night, in search of an open food store. "Next thing we know I’ll be heading toward a hospital in this crappy stuff." He scratched his neck nervously, "I don’t my way around the area yet. I have never been off this exit one hundred before. I’d better ask someone where we are."
The rain had turned into slush quickly on the side streets, he continued cruising the wet streets that reflected the orange and shimmering lights of streetlights and store windows that were closed at the very late hour. He put the blackened windows of the Piggly Wiggly behind him.
"We should be somewhere near home." A patron staggered out of a small bar on one side of the road covering his head against the pelting sleet. "Better pass on him, don’t think he will see me coming up to him." A continuous uncontrollable urge to sleep kept him wiping his eyes. His hand felt shaky as he stroked his long narrow face. The midnight stubble felt like sandpaper tearing at his fingers. "I really want to get home and sleep." he groaned. "Glad I don’t make that trip very often, ten hours behind the wheel is enough for anybody."
Renee turned her head outward again. "Got to be a convenience store around here somewhere." she thumped her pursed impatiently. "this is a suburb isnt it?"
"I believe so."
She had already tightened her thermal coat around her neck. "I also need a warm hat as soon as possible. Too much of change from Arizona to this tundra.
"We will take care of that soon. Figures, I get caught on the edge of a late March storm, then get us home by midnight."
"There’s 24 hour store right now." She pointed.
"Okay, here we go." A bright orange sign with black lettering and flashing rim of white lights caught his hurting eyes as he turned into the parking lot.
"Oh my god !" both screamed and shifted and shook. The car had dipped with a loud crack on the sound of metal, they hit something very solid. David stepped on the brakes and slide on the accumulating sleet.
"Geez, I’m so sorry, must hit a speed bump too fast." He could see her holding her stomach tighter with a winch on her face.
"You alright?" He put his hand gently on hers.
She nodded briefly.
Moments later he opened a round package of cheese balls. Her hand started shaking as she took it. "Hey, you’re going to spill it. What is the problem, though you said you are ok?’
"No, I changed my mind, I’m not okay" she said with fingers near a yellow morsel then pointed between her legs, "I think baby is coming." Her moistened eyes stared back at her husband. "The water broke, I’m wet."
"Of all the…!" he slapped his hand on his thigh not knowing if he should smile or cry. "that speed bump did it. Wouldn’t you know it? Just like i said earlier." He jumped into the car and slammed the door shaking the car. "The hospital is who knows how far from here and I am loosing it."
"Well, we still have to get it check out no matter what the outcome?" Her voice shook. The carton dropped next to her. "I feel a contraction."
"What?" He fixed his gaze on the teetering carton. "You didn’t want that after all?" he leaned over the wheel to start the car. "I thought you craved cheese balls?. You had one in your hand and one near your mouth."
"Not right now," her body stiffed as she held her stomach.
"I will go in ask my way out of this area." David left the car went back into the store. Moments late he cruised down quiet streets picking up his pace quickly..
"You’d better stop for the light!" she yelled and squirmed as he picked up even more speed heading for the edge of the small town. He could feel the seat buckle tighten on him as the car started to sway on the slush road. The cheesed ball can spilled in the dark. "Another contraction!"
"Oh great!" he reached for the can to pull it back from the edge of the seat. He bumped it over instead knocking it completely over the edge.
"Now we got a mess in here as well and I have no time to clean it up! he said. "Did you say more contractions?."
"Yes, I did!" she started blowing again as he zipped through a light.
"Only one car cruising around right now anyway," he sighed with relief.
She started breathing normal again. "I looked at that car. :Lucky for us it was a cop car.."
"Lucky, are you kidding, that won’t be good, I was speeding through a red light.!" he snarled.
"A police escort, you bozo!" she shot back.
"I suppose your right," David clicked his he look in his rear view mirror and took his foot off the gas pedal again, flashing red lights approached. His eyes pulsed with the harsh contrast of darkened surroundings.
"Get out there and talk to him right now!" she hissed.
"You should know they don’t like anyone getting out their car anytime. It makes them very nervous." he gritted his teeth.
"This is an emergency," she shoved him to closer to his door. "now get!"
He jumped out of the car and did a little slipping dance on the sleet covered street then put his hands up as he approached the squad car.
A voice came from the car interior. "You shouldn’t be doing this sir." the car door opened the officer got out. "You know you ran and red light and speeding, don’ t you."
"Yes sir, I know." David stammered through nervous lips, a lump in his throat, he kept his hands in the air." I have a wife in the car with a baby coming. Her water broke, can you guide to us to the hospital."
"Follow me. Just don’t go through anymore lights, please." the officer said. The officer took the lead with lights flashing. They followed in the darkness to the full edge of town, the car in front swerved and pulled over to a stop.
"Now what?"David observed as he pulled over.
The office walked around his car slowly then poked at a tire. David could see an angry look on his face as he wiped his hands on his pants. He approached David’s car quickly. "Sorry folks, I have a flat tire. It will take 15 minutes to change it. I have radioed ahead for the hospital to expect you and a doctor will meet you there, so just hang tight, please. I really want you to wait for me, this is dangerous road this time of night. I don’t like driving it my self."
"Yes sir." David responded politely."I will do that."
"And if need be, I can delivery the baby myself." the officer pointed out
"Well, now what?." David held her hand gently.
"I don’t care what he said, go now!" she withdrew her hand and pointed ahead.
She reached back over to squeeze his hand hard. "Just go." she started breathing rhythms again.
"If we.." David stepped on the gas pedal again and whizzed around the officers car. He could hear the officer yelling.
More slush slapped at his wheels while the windshield picked up more rain. "This is the worst driving conditions possible, at least he called ahead." He felt her hand almost crushing his hand and then releasing the grip many times now. "Hang in there baby." he whispered. She became quieter. Scattered houses and trees flew, by then thinned again. He rubbed his sleepy eyes thinking there were sill foggy from lack of sleep. It was not his eyes, it was fog closing in.
"Now what this?" His headlights showed nothing but dense fog as he cruised forward.
"Oh no!" she slapped the dashboard with her hand. "I suppose we should have waited now" Her anxious voice was getting louder. It was obvious a heavy fog absorbed any appearance of road they eased forward. "all i can see is white strips on the side of the road on my side. I will do my best to guide you, sweetheart."
"I know the road a little, new job is somewhere down here. but.." his voice tensed as he slowed to a crawl. The side trip he could see turned, he turned, then it went straight, he went straight.
Headlights approaching him looked like faint twin diamonds as they floated into sharper view becoming larger images moving threw the dense veil. Massive outlines of faintly visible blobs hissed with movement pasted him in the dark.
"Oh god , I can’t see anything but headlights and my eyes hurt …" he moaned trying to control his inner tension Numerous points of lights pierced the darkness from overhead they made him feel like traveling through space. She was breathing heavily again.
"David please," she gasped shifting here weight. "Hold still babe," he groaned, "the road is bad enough."
"I’m trying to, but baby is coming." she sobbed.
"Well, I am sorry but I can’t see anything." his foot slipped off the pedal. "we really should have waited. I have got stop someplace."
"Where in this mess?" she screamed. "all I see is white wall and no stripes anymore!"
Total darkness was on three sides of the car, the headlights did almost nothing. "I can’t find any road!" David moaned, hardly moving and fully expecting to hit a ditch at any time. He popped the emergency flashers on and gripped the wheel tighter. A white strip appeared quickly showing him to go left again and then more bright lights that blinded him even more. "Now which way do I turn?" he asked the dark. An overhead street light pushed through the dark looked like a space craft about to land then, then nothing again.
"Are you even on the road? she asked between breaths.
"I must be." he bit his lip and tasted blood. "the shoulder would be really hard to drive on if was on it." He twisted the wheel from side to side trying to find something. Curves became enemies. "there’s one." he almost felt giddy finding anything that would help as a little strip popped into view on then it would leave quickly, then another one would pop up. A faint light from the rear caught his eye as the fog lifted slightly. A small relief swept his brow, the foggy hell dissolved in the flash of yellow car that screamed around him and quickly gaining speed. Bright red tail lights flashed in his eyes.
"Now did he do that?" David yelled
"Who cares, just keep moving!" Renee yelled waving her arms.
"Now where is that hosptal?" he fought to keep calm, his hand wiped his sweating brown. The car was an unexpected eire silence in the car, his gaze her caught her slumped against her door.
"Sweetheart, you okay?" He reached to touch her.
"Sorry, just resting." she groaned "I hurt so bad." she sat up an looked around. "come on David why aren’t we there yet?"
"You scared me." he jumped and floored it now. A mile later his spotted a square blue sign for "Hospital" along with a nearby bright orange glow in the distance.
"What, that looks like flames!" he gasped. Her eyes opened again and she began to pant to pant.
"What …what is wrong now… isnt that the hospital sign?" she grabbed her stomach tightly. "I can’t wait any longer." she yelled louder and and reached for him.
"That looks very bad, it is car on fire and I dont think we can get by him he is too close to the road. If that car blows we will get hit too." He tried again to settle her down. He was sweating now beyond reason as he pulled far to the right and saw a figure approaching from near the car that was obviously engulfed in flames.
"What are you doing!" her intense voice hurt his ears. "Go now! baby is coming right now, I fell the the head coming out." She tried to reach across to step on the gas pedal.
"Don’t be crazy with me!" he pushed her back. He could feel the heat of the burning car. "that is the same yellow car that passed me awhile ago, somebody needs our help and now, I cant be in two places at the same time."
A very dishelmed man loomed into close view to David’s window screaming for help.
"Are you the driver?" David asked with fear of the unknown wanting to get away from the burning car. His foot on the gas pedal wanting to leave.
A bloody face starred at him. "help me, please!" the ghostly figure slurred and stammered, the face of an older man with bent glasses and shaking his hand toward the wreckage. "I lost control rushing to the hospital to wait for a pregnant woman coming in."
"Your kidding, I do believe I have her next to me.." David sighed with a smile on his face.
"Baby is almost here!" Renee screamed, "Its too late!"
"Ah, my patient on a terrible night to be out. I’m doctor Warner, let’s get this done. But we have to get away from that car right now." he said loudly "Get her in the back seat laying down.I will call for ambulance to come help."
David ran around the car to get her out. He opened the door to find her slumped over the dashboard, "this isn’t good, she is passed out." He eased her light frame toward the door while Cheese balls fell from her coat.
"Now she is really in trouble." he moaned as he looked to see her legs spread far apart and a definite protrusion from her groin
With fiercely chattering teeth he twisted and turned her get her out of the car "My god, my wife, may baby!" he felt his knees weaken. His world went dark as his eyes caught the sight of flashing red and yellow lights and a howl that filled the air.
He felt rocking and rolling, that wail of sirens brought him out of his daze. Where was he, faint twinkling lights and steel walls full of emergency supplies entered his vision. A hand touched him.
"Feeling better sir?’ an unfamiliar voice asked. The rocking came to a halt, the siren went dead. The back door opened and several arms pulled his stretcher as he tried to sit up.
"Don’t move sir, you have been injured, maybe a concousian." a stern voice said. He heard more wheels turning as he turned his now aching head to see what it was.
"You okay now, sweetheart? Renee cheering voice asked him as she held a wiggling bundle in her arms. The wheel chair she was in swayed back and forth as her attended adjusted straps
"I guess," he said flatly "what the …what happened?"
"You fell hard on the pavement while getting me out the car and I fell on top you. Our son was delivered by the doctor right on the spot. They gave you the ambulance instead of me." she giggled.
"Figures I’m the one to pass out." he smiled "I thought you passed out."
"I did pass out." She giggled, "Dr Ward did a wonderful job on both of us at the same time." she put her hand to her mouth again crunching on something.
"Hey, Im really sorry I yelled at you so much." she smiled brightly.
"Did you say son?" he asked.
"Yes, and he looks just like you."
"What are you eating?" he smiled as he reached for the bundle, "Dont tell me," he smirked.
"I finished the can of cheese balls that were still good." she held up the can. "there were a few left.
The emergency door opened with a hiss as both wheeled into brighter lights.