Born of Fire is the story of the night Aiden was born. I have to admit that I have no idea who Aiden is aside from the main character of the Channeler novels. Born of Fire was also my introduction to him. Being present at a person’s birth isn’t the worst way to get to know a person. Talk about a dramatic entrance.
Me, I’m all for being in a hospital having people ready just in case something goes wrong. Aiden’s parents, on the other hand, tried to run away from a bunch of people called Hunters. I can’t imagine being about to pop when the bad guys catch up to you, because let me tell you, giving birth really hurts and you have no control over when the pain hits. Not a good time to be in the middle of a car chase.
McCorkle brought plenty of drama into her short story and writes that drama well. Good job!
Betsy, a grammar-school teacher from Miami, remembers this Oscar-worthy birth tableau from one of her students… I’ve been teaching now for about fifteen years. I have two kids myself, but the best birth story I know is the one I saw in my own second-grade classroom a few years back.
When I was a kid, I loved show-and-tell. So I always have a few sessions with my students. It helps them get over shyness and experience a little public speaking. And it gives me a break and some guaranteed entertainment. Usually, show-and-tell is pretty tame. Kids bring in pet turtles, model airplanes, pictures of fish they catch, stuff like that. And I never, ever place any boundaries or limitations on them. If they want to lug it to school and talk about it, they’re welcome.
Well, one day this little girl, Erica, a very bright, very out-going kid, takes her turn and waddles up to the front of the class with a pillow stuffed under her sweater. She holds up a snapshot of an infant. “This is Luke, my baby brother … and I’m going to tell you about his birthday.
First, Mommy and Daddy made him as a symbol of their love, and then Daddy put a seed in my mother’s stomach, and Luke grew in there. He ate for nine months through an umbrella cord.” She’s standing there with her hands on the pillow, and I’m trying not to laugh and wishing I had a video camera rolling. The kids are watching her in amazement. “Then, about two Saturdays ago, my mother starts going, ‘Oh, oh, oh!'” Erica puts a hand behind her back and groans. Ohhhhhhh “She walked around the house for … like an hour, “Oh, oh, oh!'”
Now the kid is doing this hysterical duck-walk, holding her back and groaning. “My father called the middle wife. She delivers babies, but she doesn’t have a sign on the car like the Domino’s man. They got my mother to lie down in bed like this.” Erica lies down with her back against the wall. “And then, pop! My mother had this bag of water she kept in there in case he got thirsty, and it just blew up and spilled all over the bed … like psshhheew!”
The kid has her legs spread and with her little hands is miming water flowing away. It was too much! “Then the middle wife starts going push, push, and breathe, breathe. They start counting, but they never even got past ten. Then, all of a sudden, out comes my brother. He was covered in yucky stuff they said was from the play-center, so there must be a lot of stuff inside there.” Then Erica stood up, took a big theatrical bow and returned to her seat.
I’m sure I applauded the loudest. Ever since then, if it’s show-and-tell day, I bring my camcorder … just in case another Erica comes along.