#25 Where’s Jack?

by Jeff Ezell

Gusty, frigid winds howled. Bruise-colored, turbulent clouds roiled. Gravity defying, sideways rain pelted the paint-starved, once red barn and drummed the metal roof. Tornadoes often interspersed these Oklahoma storms with death and destruction.

Ginger huddled, trembled and sought shelter in the barn’s straw. She pulled a discarded, soft, raggedy, blue-striped comforter over her, head-to-toes. Lightning crackled. Thunder exploded. She never understood storms, but so far had survived them.

Where’s Jack’s lap?

Her inner spirit warned she needed to get a grip. Ginger always tried everything asked of her. This was different. Was the storm monster causing this? Her heart raced. There’s a primordial energy from within her gut. It growled and convulsed. Ginger arose, moaned, circled; her legs weakened and collapsed. Repositioning brought no comfort. This never experienced pain gnawed her innards. The throbbing started from her stomach, bloated like a three-day roadside possum. Twinges and pain surged her gut down her legs and convulsed between her spreading legs. Pressure from within increased it. She panicked.

So alone, where’s Jack?

The storm horror subsided. Stillness descended like a thick comforting blanket from God. Wind stilled, rain stopped. Air purified. Birds chirped. Ginger’s muscles trembled, out of control. Out squished a squirmy object. She licked it. She didn’t understand.

Nine followed, each less painful. Her first litter birthed ten miracle little Gingers. Chocolate, yellow, and black Labradors blindly clambered for a teat. Ginger hoped her master would be pleased.

Hinges squeaked. “Ginger. You here?”

Ginger yelped a proud greeting to Jack.

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