story revised January 2016
Smith startled from his sleep and felt it in the same moment: something was wrong!
Actually, everything was wrong, he wasn't supposed to be here at all. They had been on their way back to Thunder Mountain — he, Jeremiah, Kurdy and Theo — when the car got stuck in the mud. They could have walked back to the Mountain, but Theo was eight months pregnant. She tried hard to keep pace with them but finally stopped out of breath, her hands covering her belly as if she tried to protect the baby she had never wanted.
So they finally paused at this old shack. Jeremiah and Kurdy decided to do the rest of the way alone while Smith stayed back in the shack with Theo.
"We will send a truck a soon as possible," Kurdy had promised, but then the night fall down and Smith knew no one would come before the next morning. He had made it as comfortable as possible for Theo, she was laying on the old couch in front of the fireplace, covered with the only blanket they owned. Smith had taken place on the floor, with his coat as the only protection from the cold.
He threw his old coat aside and listened. Theo was breathing unsteadily and loud, then she groaned slightly. Smith got up and walked over to the fireplace. When she heard him, she opened her eyes.
“What?!” she snapped.
Smith actually liked Theo, despite her rough and uncaring behavior. She didn’t let anyone get close to her and when she mentioned Smith, she usually called him “the nut.” It didn't bother him much, people had already given him worse names.
She laughed slightly and somehow tense.
“Sure, why not? I’m just delivering a baby."
He stared at her wide-eyed.
“I know, but...”
“Right now, Smith!”
This couldn't be! Not now, not here! But he knew she told the truth. Panic rushed through him though he had left every feeling like this behind ages ago. He was in danger every day and there was nothing that could still scare him. But he wasn‘t prepared for this. And once again God kept quiet, like so often when Smith needed him.
Theo bit her lips, but couldn‘t suppress a loud groan of pain.
Smith turned around and grabbed his coat.
"I‘ll try to find someone to help!”
He almost managed it to reach the door when Theo stopped him.
“Smith! It‘s too late, don’t you get it? No one will come to help me."
Once again she paused because of a labour pain.
“Now we could use your God, couldn't we? But he won't show up here. He doesn't care if I die or live."
Smith briefly closed his eyes. No! No, he wouldn't let this happen. Theo would give birth to her baby and both of them would survive. He would take care of this.
The next hours were more like a dream he couldn't remember clearly later. It was not an easy birth. Theo stubbornly fought against pain and panic that he could hardly endure it, she yelled and cursed all guys of the world, particularly Smith. She tried to kick him away in one moment and squeezed his hand with almost inhuman force.
But finally, it was over. The child, a little girl, screamed loud while he tried to clean her with some warm water. But when he had wrapped the old cover around her and put her into Theo‘s arm, she suddenly became quiet. For a moment, Smith panicked, then he noticed that she was just fallen asleep. A wonderful feeling of peace rushed through him while he was standing there, watching them. Mother and daughter, both of them exhausted but in health. All pains had passed.
Theo opened her eyes, a strange, warm glance was lying in them and she smiled when she noticed Smith.
“Please, will you name her?”
He hesitated for a moment before answering.
“God says, ‘I will protect this child because she brings hope for this world.’”
As expected, Theo's eyes darkened.
“I guess I’ll have to take care of her myself. God is a fucking traitor. Where was he when the Big Death started? Where was he when they raped me? Where was he today? What has he done to save her?"
Smith eyed her thoughtfully, yes, he could understand her feelings. Nevertheless ...
“God says, ‘Her name should be Hope. You don't need to believe in God, Theo, but belief in your daughter.”
Theo had closed her eyes and kept quiet. Smith thought that she might have fallen asleep, but she suddenly reached for his hand and squeezed it.
"Thank you, Smith," she whispered.
"For being there for me ... and for her."