The Inklings: Chapter 22

An hour later Ark and Jinabu still hadn’t reached a town and Jinabu wasn’t in a good way. She was pale, covered with sweat and couldn’t help bracing herself and gritting her teeth with every contraction.

“What’s wrong?” asked Ark, but Jinabu couldn’t answer. She just glared at him and tried to breathe deeply.

“Oh no!” said Ark and he stopped the truck in a shady spot on the side of the road, got out of the truck and opened the door on Jinabu’s side. Jinabu lay down across the seats and concentrated on her breathing. Ark felt like fainting and so he lay down on the ground saying “I’ll just be a minute”.

Ark woke up sometime later. He sat up. It took him a couple of seconds to remember what he had been doing. Then he noticed the silence and jumped up in fright. Jinabu was sitting up in the truck holding a sleeping baby and smiling. Jinabu and the baby were both covered in blood and Ark could smell vomit. The umbilical cord, still joined to the baby, disappeared over the edge of the seat. Ark imagined that the placenta was lurking somewhere on the truck floor and averted his eyes before he could confirm his suspicion. He went round to the driver’s side and saw that there was a pool of blood on the floor right next to the pedals, and that a line of ants was marching in.

“Are you both ok?” asked Ark. “Yeah” answered Jinabu. She looked tired but seemed happy and healthy. The baby stirred and made a few squawking sounds.

They had to get to a hospital so Ark took a deep breath and climbed into the truck. He tried not to think about what he was putting his feet in and started the truck. Jinabu couldn’t help laughing when she saw Ark’s face.

“Sorry about making a mess” she said, between giggles.

“Yeah, you really sound sorry” said Ark. He was annoyed, but that just made Jinabu laugh even more.

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