The back county lane was almost knee-deep with rain water, washed up gravel, mud, and all sorts of busted weeds, twigs and other debris. Jill had to get the alpacas off the southern field though, so this was her only means to get them to the raised western portion of her property before the weather kicked up again and completely blocked the pass for safe movement.
Jill was worried, because one of the alpacas was due any day now, and that wouldn’t bode well to get her all riled up and send her into early labour before she was out of danger. It had already taken Jill and Scout, her faithful Anatolian Shepherd the better part of the day to round up all the hidden alpacas in the forest that hadn’t already flooded near the south pasture, so she was exhausted, worried, and fearful that they wouldn’t get them all shifted in time before the next onslaught of weather.
She was glad for the rain; there was no doubt of that at all. Her hobby farm was spread out over her ancestral land, and each section had been desperately needing a sufficient watering all summer. Five days into this mini monsoon though, the land had gone from hydrophobic to sponge to now-growing-moor. The old lake she had swum in as a young child – the lake that had dried up and never fully replenished more than to home a colony of new frogs each spring – was now so full, Jill was convinced it was going to overflow and head toward her homestead.
“Scout, Madam Fleecy is…” She pointed, but her voice was cut off by a tremendous crash of thunder. The alpacas all cried out in fear, and Scout’s bark was just ending when the crack from the sky ceased. Lightning forked over the area, and Jill had this crazy notion she’d be burying one of her creatures before nightfall. “C’mon, run babies, run!” She smacked Colonel Fuzzybritches in the hind rump, and sent him wading through the uneven watery muck faster. Scout’s barking intensified, and the alpacas were finally starting to get the hint to speed up. Captain Tenderfluff was stuck. Jill raced to the female’s side, gently caressing her, kissing the still damp muzzle from the previous rain less than an hour before, and calmly tried to pull her hoof out of the muck. Fourth pull, Captain was free, and Jill eased her forward, away from the mud hole she had sunken into.
The next crack of thunder was close to the herd, and seconds later, the lightning hit the tree behind them in the field they had all finally managed to leave, and the sparks ignited, sending tiny flames down the tree as they lit on and lit up the leaves bright yellow orange in the afternoon’s grey light.
“Cheeeeee’ah!” Jill yelled, and the alpacas cried out again, Scout momentarily over his head in the water as he had slipped into a hidden pothole. He came out, gasping and spitting muddy twiggy water all over the place. That above all else in that crazy moment was what scared Jill more than anything. “Scout!” She screamed, but it just looked like a silent shout with the thunder competing with her.
Lady Godiva let out a shuttering cry, and Jill knew she was going into labour. Hollering for Scout to get the off the road faster, she waded through the muck to Lady and tried to reassure the frightened beast that she was safe. The rain came hard and fast on Lady’s head, and the mournful cry of pain and fear was absolute for the poor animal.
Three of the alpacas were already bouncing onto the western shoulder of the road, and the open gateway into the higher ground. Realising where they were, they bounded off toward the top of the hill, where the barn, dryness, food, shelter, and protection lay silently waiting for them. Five, now six were safely on that side of the road, but Jill was still midway, waiting for Lady Godiva to move or deliver.
Scout had chased them all up to the barn and pulled the lever on the gate, so it would enclose the alpacas inside, and raced back to see Jill helping Lady deliver the tiny sopping wet baby. With a massive crashing of the thunder, a final “plop” was unheard as the newborn was completely out and splashed into the muddy water below, head submerged for nigh on a moment before Jill’s hands had the infant in her arms, figuring by the heft, about the size of two ten pound bags of potatoes.
Lady Godiva turned her head licked her newborn, and tried to take a step. She had been standing in the same place for too long and was now in a mini quicksand issue! Jill could see the rising fear in Lady’s eyes, but stayed as calm as she could, walking to the west embankment, placing the newborn down and telling Scout to stay, and went back to get Lady out. The rain was pounding harder, and the thunder and lightning rented the sky in sight and sound without relent. Lady was becoming more agitated, now seeing her baby on the side of the road, laying there, motionless. She began to cry out for her baby, and Jill took that opportunity to do something she’d never thought possible; she bent low, tucked her head under Lady Godiva’s underbelly, wrapped her left arm around Lady’s front two legs, her right around Lady’s back two, and shoved herself and the alpaca skyward, Lady securely protected on Jill’s shoulders and neck. She’d thoroughly enjoy the soothing bath later, but for now, getting new mama and baby off the horrible roadway was paramount. Scout seemed to understand that he had to mimic Jill’s actions, and the large beast, ever steady and proudly reliable, nuzzled his muzzle under the baby alpaca’s midsection, and easily matched pace with Jill. Home, rested, and safe, two hours later, she was casually telling her best friend over the phone how the thunderstorm had helped birth the cutest baby alpaca ever. “I’m naming him Sir Thundersplasher.”