The Moons Gift to Vixen
Wails of mothers and pups alike are heard throughout the entirety of this hut known as the birthing center. Females in pairs of two lay on gurneys, both are laid in a way that their feet are close to one another’s breasts. Swollen stomachs are cradled by their own hands, faces are scrunched up in pain and sweat coats their faces. These ones that are left in the halls of this rotting building are still in labor, none of them ready to push out the life they’ve carried for months.
Vixen River is on her back, legs positioned upwards. Naked flesh is completely exposed to the mother that has birthed nine pups and who has helped many females through their own births. She’s the mother of all mother at the age of 87, she is one of the oldest women in the wastelands of Ka’triv. She only knows this woman because she’s always heard the stories of how she continues to help birth pup after pup. Her face has dozens of wrinkles, her eyes are slightly closed as she approaches Vixen. Skin is the color of dried grapes, and eyes are as brown as the muddy waters of this poor city. Everything about her is old, her hair is the color of snow and it’s thinning out, no longer thick like every other female who is at their prime.
The pain that feels as if all her bones are breaking, dozens of females have told her that birthing is a gift but this feels like a curse. “Mother,” The only thing about her that is not old is her voice. It is strong as she speaks to Vixen. “you will push when the next contraction comes, and you push hard don’t scream that you want to die or that you can’t.” Her hands tap Vixen’s knees gently, her hands are oddly soft and smooth against her skin.
Vixen River nods, her thick caramel colored hair clings to her skin from the sweat on her. It’s hard to concentrate because of all the noise that is around her. Mother’s groan in pain from the labor they go through and only a few doors away pups wail and they scream. They want the milk from their mother’s breasts and they cry for their touch. They will be heard by everyone if their mothers do not hurry to attend them.
“Mother!” Vixen’s focus goes to this old mother and she stares at her wide-eyed. “Focus or this will be a much longer night for you.” Vixen nods again, the pain is gone and she is breathing heavily. Doing her best to keep her strength and to not lose any of her air but the next pain comes and she screams as she pushes. Vixen wants to meet the life that has been growing inside of her. “Another push, Mother!”
"Another?” Vixen growls like the savage beast she is, her claws dig into the gown they’ve dressed her in. She bares her canines at the old mother who just glares at her, mud brown eyes hold this dominance that makes her retract her canines. With no warning, the next wave of pain is there and she is pushing, her lips feel dry and her head pounds from the force she uses.
Cries fill the room she is in and then a pup that is slowly turning pink is held up. The cord that connects Vixen to the pup is cut and her soul feels a lost, yet it feels as if it is gaining something the moment the sticky, crying pup is placed against her chest. Hands weakly fall to the pups back, caressing and kissing gentle skin. “There you go mother,” The old mother steps outside and then her students are inside, rolling in another mother and then Vixen is being picked up and put on a gurney. The lights flicker as she taken down to the room where all the other mothers are. Several beds are lined up, small concrete walls separate sections of the beds. Rows are numbered and Vixen is placed in the seventh, towards the end besides other new mothers. A new gown is placed on her and a diaper on the pup, a small blanket placed over the pup and then a tag on its foot.
“You’ve had a girl, mother.” An apprentice with short blonde hair smiles at me, her teeth are slightly crooked and her nose is small on her face. “Every mother is processed here, the overnight stay is mandatory. When you leave you have to pay the bill.” Vixen can only stare, everything here is quick. There is no time for the mothers to linger and walk Vixen through everything.
Ka’triv is the poorest city known on this side of the world. But even though it is the poorest, payment is still demanded and if you can’t pay up then you’re shit out of luck. “Okay,” Vixen whispers softly, hoping to the goddess that her mate is able to get the payment. Because she did not want to give up their pup.
“Have either of you thought of preventative measures?” Vixen sits beside her mate, Jackson, his hand is over hers holding it. The swollen stomach of hers is there no longer, but the pain of birthing the female that is strapped to her chest by a blanket is still there. Her hair is the similar color of caramel but it has hints of gold in it. Her skin is brown like Vixen’s but it is a much lighter tint of brown. As if milk has been stained with the smallest amount of chocolate. Her eyes are the brightest green.
“Preventative?” Vixen wants to slap this female in the face, to tell her she is psychotic.
“As in removing your-”
“No.” She growls out, baring her teeth at this idiotic female who dares to ask her to remove the part of her that can grow life. “The goddess gave me this opportunity for a reason. Why would I destroy what she’s given to me?”
“The goddess gave you the opportunity but from what I can see, mother. You are living in Ka’triv under our Alpha’s rule. You and your mate can not afford the costs that come with a pup. The Alpha has issued a command, a law, that we must all follow. If you can not provide with either livestock, furs, or vegetation what good are you to the pack? There are hundreds of wolves on these lands, if you struggle to simply pay the medicinal herb fee to take your pup then you should be thinking about preventing any further pregnancies.”
Vixen couldn’t find the words to argue, she has none to say and this female only speaks the truth. Jackson and Vixen barely get by as it is, now it’ll be worse with a second pup. Animals are scarce in these drylands. “I refuse.” Vixen stands at her small height, glaring down at the female that sits in a chair. “We’ve paid our bill now let us leave.” She wants to growl at her but simply shoves the instinct down, which causes her throat to itch and eyes to tear up at the restraint. It is not in her nature to back off.
This female with condescending silver eyes stares up at her. “Very well.” Is all she says before pushing forward the forms that state Vixen’s female is the daughter of Jackson and Vixen River. It also states that her fee has been paid completely and that her pup will not be sent to a whore house. “You are free to go,” The female hands Jackson the forms we need. Carrying a bag with the towel diapers that we are given and the cloth they give to wrap a newborn pup. “if you change your mind mother the procedure is free and so are other preventative measures.”
Vixen walks away not turning her back because if she did she would lunge at the girl and tear the life from her chest. She would not show mercy, but then she’d be sent to the whore house and be forced to breed. That is something she’d never want nor would she wish on any of her enemies. “Vixen, what’s the name you’ve given our pup?”
She looks to her chosen male, giving him a small smile. “Tell me how you got the herbs first.” She is firm, raising a single hand to brush the dirt off his face. She pretended not to notice the teeth marks on his shoulders and on his arms. Nor the blood that was all over his stomach, the loincloth that covered him is slightly loose on his hips. He hadn’t been eating well since Vixen had been needing all the meat they caught. The pup in her only wanted to eat and eat and if the child wasn’t demanding food it was demanding sleep.
“My father,” His voice is quiet. “but it came at a price.”
“What price is that, son of Raging River.” His father is still of the old ways, named after his personality. Jackson says that his grandmother use to call him a raging wolf, that raging stuck to Mattius River. Now they only call him Raging because he’s always finding a way to rage about everything. Especially the failure of any of his ten pups.
“I had to fight with Virgil, his female needed the medicinal herbs as well.”
“Mattius didn’t give him any did he?” Jackson shakes his head, he looks down at their bare feet. Tears come down his face as he looks to Vixen, absolute distress and guilt evident in his face.
“It’s my fault their pup will be sent away-”
“It was either their pup or ours,” VIxen speaks with a confidence she knows is not real. “or are you saying you wanted our female to be sent to that whore house? To be bred once she’s bled for the first time.”
“Do you think I can live with the fact that their pup will be sent away because of me?”
“Would you have been able to live knowing our pup would have been sent away because of you?” Vixen speaks with rage, knowing damn well that it would have been his fault. “We had our herbs in the icebox, ready for this day but you decided to help your other brother. He could have gone and begged to Mattius, the Raging River! Not you. You should have let Gaunter beg on his knees like a dog.” The slap is quick, hitting Vixen so hard that she can taste her blood in her mouth. She swallows it before licking her lips, eyes move to her male as she bares her teeth at him.
“If you ever,” She pauses, taking the forms from his grip and holding them in her hands. “ever put a hand on me again I will skin you alive, Jackson, the Calm River.” Vixen sneers out his given name, he’s soiled it by being anything but calm. There are plenty of other pairs that have this problem but she never thought she’d have it.
“I didn’t beg.”
“That’s right,” Vixen gives him a smile. “you just sent Virgil’s pup away to be raised in a horror house. Whether it’s a male or female they will suffer.” She can see the rage that brews in her males eyes. Can tell that he fumes with anger with the way his body tenses and he lets out an exasperated sigh.
“I’m sorry, Vixen, the Spitfire Sun.” He uses the name she had before they found each other. She lived in the dirty city of Buda’Vesp, where brown water always flooded homes and mud caked the children. She was in a small hut with six other siblings, as the oldest she had to take care of every single pup that came. Since both her parents worked.
“I am not longer a sun, but a river.” They are walking once again towards the tiny town they call home known as Kalimpura. A town that is the nearest to Moon City, the city where it is said that the goddess was first born and where she brought the first of her children. Where the birth of the wolves first began. It is also the most prosperous city known to all wolves. Where the King of wolves sat on a throne filling his belly with the finest of meats and where he had the finest of clothes and herbs and furs.
“What name have you given our female?” Jackson leans in taking in the smell of their female and kissing her head. She has a thick head of hair already, and long lashes that kiss her cheeks as she sleeps. Lips are pursed in an odd fashion, her tiny hands are curled into fists. She is naked against her mother’s bare chest. The blanket that is wrapped around both of them is tight and it sits beneath the oversized shirt that Jackson brought for Vixen to wear.
“You haven’t seen her eyes but they are the most vibrant green ever, they shine brighter than yours and make your own eyes seem like dull rocks.” Vixen passes a hand over her females head and can only smile. “She will be called Green the Raging River.”
“After Mattius?” He asks and Vixen only looks at her male with a smile full of teeth.
“I believe she will give the name a different meaning than him,” Vixen looks up to the full moon that graces the sky tonight. “but she will be a girl who causes trouble and is a graceful savage.”
“Much like her mother, Vixen the Spitfire River.”