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TITLE: Tanya's Journey
By mary wolf

Tanya is an eleven-year-old, alone in the world after her mother died.
She makes a trip, to find the place her Mother had given instruction to go, before dying.

Having only the assurance and trust of her Mothers words, she steps into the unknown world.
Finding many supprises along the way, she deals with each one and finds a happy ending.

I would like to continue to write a series about her life growing up.
Chapter one

The long Trip
by; Mary Wolf

Running as fast as her legs could carry her, Tanya finally reached the edge of the clearing.
She knew the cabin was only about a half mile from the wooded area, but it would mean running through an open field, until she reached that small bridge which covered the creek.
Should she wait until dark, or just take a chance and run now?

Her heart beating hard enough to sound like an African drum, she dashed out into the open field. With the sound of her heart pounding in her ears, she could only think of one thing. Someone was after her. She had to keep moving.

Even in her concentration, memories of that last night flashed across her mind. She could still hear her Mother as she coughed until she could no longer draw another breath. Sometimes she tried to hide the rag she used to cover her mouth, because it was full of blood.

Tanya had just turned twelve and her Mother had been her whole life.
As they had lived in there small room above the Bar, her Mother told her that her daddy had left a long time ago, and that now she was not very well.

“Tanya please remembers. Her mother had gasp, if anything happens to me, there is a cabin you can go to in Missouri."
"'An old man lives there and he will give you a home. When you get there, tell him you're my daughter, and show him your papers.”

Mother had often told her of another man, a man named Jesus that loved her.
Every night as long as she could remember they would read stories from His book.
Mother had called it, The Good Book
She had wondered if this was the man who lived in a cabin but then she knew that Jesus was the only son of God, and the other man was just someone mother knew from the past.
“In the GoodBook, there is a note, and your birth paper.” She had explained.
“I also put a map and a little bit of money there, Just in case you ever have to leave me here.”

Tanya had cried and said she would never leave her Mother.

There were only a few times when her mother had been so firm with her. but she would never forget that day.

“Now remember." using her most unyielding tone“, when that day comes, get the good book, and your things. Inside the back page is the money, I pasted the page down so just tear it open and take out what you need, then pin the rest to your under clothes: It is not much but it should help get you food and a ticket to Rolla, Missouri. There is also a map with directions to the farm, where the cabin is located.

Leave here quickly honey, and never look back. Do not talk to anyone!”

Giving these instructions seemed to have worn her out. She coughed some more then she added, “If an officer or some one else asks, just politely tell them you are going to visit a relative.'

How could she think about all of this and still keep running. She had made it to the Bridge, but simply could not face what might be in the cabin. Carefully working her way under the edge of the bridge she sat on the backside of a large rock. Satisfyed she was conceal, quietly she waited and watching for others to come, but when there were no sighs of anyone or noise she reach into her pack and took out the bottle of water.
Taking a drink, her mind went back to the night that had separated them forever.

Wiping a tear from her eyes she could still hear her mothers' words. Tenderly she had hugged Tanya and told her,
“Honey I know you want to be with me, but if I ever have to go, I will be in a better place."
Don’t forget, one day you can come live with me again because you ask Jesus to save you when you were only six and he is up there right now working on our place.”

Tears falling down her cheeks she could recall asking, “Why can’t you take me with you when you leave?”

Her Mother explained, “Honey in this life my work is done, but Jesus has a plan for your life. He is not finished with you yet.”

Gently she had kissed her good night and reminded her again how she must trust Jesus with everything.

“Honey you are so pure and wonderful, and Jesus says, “The steps of the righteous are order by the Lord”

Not long after she told Tanya she must rest, Tanya had checked on her. Only to find she had left her earthly home behind.
No tears would come, only fear and numbness Tanya could not recognize.

She covered her mother’s body with the thin sheet and silently gathered her things.
Checking off the mental list, she picked up the Bible and kissed her mother on the cheek.
Engulfed with grief, she had slipped out of the room.
Realizing that someone would have to take care of her mother’s burial, she did not know whom to tell. Fearing her own safety she took one last glance at her mothers' room and she silently slipped out the door, wanting to adhere to her mother’s last words.

Down the stairs and into the bar room she slipped passed the tables.
She noticed the man who owned the Bar. He was not overly friendly but always nodded to her so, when he did she cleared her throat, pulling together every ounce of nerve she had left,
"Mr. Consousky, I have to leave for awhile, would you mind going up to check on mother, in a little while?

He had known very little about them, but he did know her mother had been pretty sick from time to time.
He stopped to look at her. she shore was a shy little thing.
As he began sweeping again he mumbled,
"I s'pose I could do that for ya. I'll have ta finish cleaning this place so I can open it soon first thought."

She thanked him and hurried out the door waving good-bye.

As she passed from one street to another some of the street people called after her,
How about asking your mom to fix us a bite to eat?”

Her Mother had been kind to many of them, and from time to time she would take them food. Not wanting to be rude she simply told them her Mother wasn’t available tonight.
At the same time as innocently possible, she waved and kept walking.

It was about a twenty minute walk to the bus station. When she entered the building she slipped into the ladies room. While she sat on the toilet stool in the little booth, she wept her heart beating with fear and grief.
Her hands shook as she read again her mother's instructions, and looked in the Bible for the hidden money and papers. Inside an envelope were five, fifty-dollar bills.
She had never seen so much money.
Quickly she took one bill out folded the rest and pinned the remainder inside her waistband.
Drying her eyes she replaced the Bible in her small knapsack with all she owned in the world.
She then headed for the ticket window.

“Hello, young lady. What can I do for you today?”

“Well sir, I want to visit a relative, so can you sell me a ticket to Rolla, Missouri?”

He grinned, “Way up to Missouri from Texas?”

“That is a mighty long trip for such a young lady like you?”

Tanya was so scared, she was sure he could hear her heart beating.

“Yes sir, how much would that cost?”

“Well if you are under 12, it would just be a child’s fee."
"That would be thirty five dollars."
"Are your parents here with you?”

Now she was really alarmed, she then remembered the extra note mother had written.

“No sir, but I have a note and my birth papers if you need to see them?”

“OK, I thank that might explain a lot.”

He took the papers and read aloud,
“Please allow my daughter to travel alone. I am sick and so I am sending her to a relative in Rolla, Missouri.”
Her Mother signature was at the bottom.

“Well, little lady, I am sorry your mommy is sick. I’ll fix you right up!”

He handed her the papers back and a ticket explaining the bus stop in Oklahoma on the way.
He said he would tell the driver to help her get on the right bus there, and from then on the trip should be a breeze.

The driver was a kind man and when she boarded the bus he motioned to a seat about half way back.
There was an older lady sitting on one side and he called to her.
“Mrs. White, this young lady is going all the way to Missouri, just like you are; perhaps you two could keep each other company.”

She smiled and motioned to Tanya “Sure thing! "Honey you just set yourself right down here beside granny and well will be just fine.”

While Tanya felt safer with another lady near, she did not want to talk.
Not sure how to control the situation, she sat down, mumbled a shy thank you, and closed her eyes, pretending to be sleepy.

“Well this must be more than you can handle darling, you are plum wore out.” she patted her arm,
“You just catch a little nap and I will tell you when we are in Oklahoma."
"You'll probably want a bite to eat and need to refresh yourself at that stop anyway." We'll visit later.”
Truly being more exsusted than she realized she had fallen into a sound sleep and rested until mars White was patting her on the arm As the Bus pulled into the small station at Oklahoma City.
Tanya's heart raced as she tried to get her demeanor while Mrs. White was talking to her.
“Darl'n, we have to change busses now, but we have about fifteen minutes to grab a bite and use the facilities. I’m gonna get a sandwich and drink to go.''
Looking at her doubtfully, she asks",'Do you have enough money to get yourself a bite?”

“Yes, thank you Mrs White. I’ll be fine. Which bus will we be getting on next?”

The driver spoke up, “You will want the one that reads St Louis on the front. It stops in Rolla.”
She had allowed herself to buy a bottle of water at the last station. As they entered the station she saw a drinking fountain. Excusing herself she motioned to Mars White and began filling her empty bottle with water from the drinking fountain.

“I ain't ever seen ya around these parts girlie, what’s your name anyway.”

It was just a couple of young teenage boys teasing her but she rushed over to Mrs. White and pretended to be with her so they turned and went the other direction.
The older lady put her arm around her and squeezed, Honey don't let those boys get the best of you, we'll stick together tel' we are back on that buss to Rolla.

Once again she really understood her Mother's words about God having a plan for her; she just wished it had included being together...
When they were on the road again Mrs. White insisted Tanya eats the extra burger she bought, thinking she was so hungry, and could not eat now.

They sat quietly for a short distance then they both started talking at the same time.
Tanya remembered, she was not supposed to talk to anyone, but Mrs. White had been such a help and comfort to her. She was sure she was on danger to her, so she told her she was on her way to live on a farm.

That gave Mrs. White just the right subject to talk about, and she spent the rest of the time talking about her childhood on the farm.
The driver slowed and turned into the station announcing to his passengers' they had arrived at their destination in Rolla Missouri...

"Why look what I've done! ´
Just talked your leg off and now we are here."
"Let me give you my phone number and address and if you need anything you just call me.
"I really hope you are happy on that farm and we get to see more of each other."
"You're such a fine young lady."

As Tanya thanked her again, she said goodbye to Mrs. White, as they unloaded the bus in Rolla.
No other passengers got off so it was pretty obvious they were probable from Rolla and Tanya was glad they thought that. Attention was not something she needed right now.

She then realized she would have to hurry to find a the cabin before dark.. Frightened by being alone in a strange place, she sprinted past the door and broke into a run down the street.
. Few even noticed her but four boys were standing on the corner talking and laughing as she started down the dirt road out of town.

She could not see them because of some hedge growing on each side of the road for about a block but was sure they had followed her out of town.

The space before her seems to grow larger with every stride. Still no sign of the boys but she would have to hurry so they would not catch her.

Running for almost twenty minutes into a field just beyond her saw another trail. Running any further, and trying to carry her bag, was impossible. Breathless, she stopped. Looking around her. Seeing no one following close, she slowed her pace to a walk.

Praying for help, Tanya looked and there was a group large bushes moving up the trail it led directly behind them and beyond that, was a large rock. It higher than her building at home.
Walking a little farer, she accidentally found a small cave. Bending down to tie her shoe, she saw an opening near another shrub, in the lower part of the rock.
It was hidden with just enough opening for someone small to crawl through.

Trembling, she took her pack off and carried it as she went inside. Just far enough to be out of sight but still not into the darkness.
Alert, she could detect the boys laughing not far from the opening.
Then one of them spoke, “Well she is a slippery little thing, I was sure she came this way.”
Holding her breath she slid down to the ground, and waited inside her shelter.

For a long time there had been utter stillness. Once a bat flew toward her, she almost screamed. Covering her mouth she put her head o her knees. She used all of the courage that had been humanly possible.

Knowing daylight was running out, she had to leave the safety of her cave and continue if she was going to find a home before dark.

Setting on the cold ground of the cave, she dug out the map her mother had given her.

Squinting from the only light, as it streamed into the cave opening, she knew the cabin was not far from here. Feeling for certain the boys had given up, she had to continue.
She left the cave and started to the edge of the forest.

Distance had a way of fooling you when there were no sidewalks or blocks to measure by. The woods also left her a bit confused about direction, but the Sunset was so beautiful. So if she just continued in that direction she was sure she could find the cabin.

Coming out of the woods she knew Mother had drawn a picture of on he map, there was also a small creek and a bridge crossing it.
If she cold just makes it to the Bridge across the field she could rest and eat a bite.
Tanya listened, while the squirrels chattered. She had not been out of the city many times, and except for being so alone, she liked the quiet stillness of the woods.

. She simply could not face what might be in the cabin right now so she listened to the birds and tree frogs and found peace in the stillness of nature.

Carefully working her way across the field in under the edge of the bridge, she sat on the backside of a large rock.

. Exhausted and hungry she searched in her bag for her sandwich and water. As soon as she prayed she ate slowly, noticing a turtle climbing up the bank. A smile fell across her face. Reaching out, offering a small piece of bread to him, he stopped, took it, and began to share lunch.
“Hey little fellow, you are the only friend I have right now. I am glad you could join me for lunch.”

The sun was beginning to set, as reality was hitting. . Before dark the trip to the cabin had to be made.

As the moon rose, Tanya knocked on the door of the small cabin.
An old man opened it and looked at her, then beyond her as if there might be someone else with her.

“Hello” the voice that came from her sounded like someone else had spoken.

“My name is Tanya and my Mother sent me here to see you.”

“With a chuckle the replied“, Well my, my. Don’t get many callers out here!”

“Is your ma sick or something?” Where bout’s do you live?”

“Sir could I just show you my papers, they will explain better.”

“Well I reckon so, come on in, and have a seat. Ill just light the lamp”.

Quickly she set her bag down and got out the Bible. He watched in disbelief but said nothing until she handed him some papers.

Squinting at the words, he backed up and took the other chair by the small table.

When he had finished reading the note and looking at her birth certificate
Tanya looked at him as if she expected an answer to this mystery.

With moist eyes, he laid the papers on the table and explained, “Little Tanya!”
“Could it be, after all these years?”

“I am sorry sir, but I don’t understand what you are asking me. I really do not even know who you are, but I have come a long way to get here because my mother sent me...
I just want to know if I can stay.”
Then in almost a whisper, “Mostly, I would surly like to have some answers.”
He could see she was so alone and scared. He offered his hand.

“My name is Jebidia Long; I am your uncle, child. Didn't your ma tell you?”

Tanya shook his hand, supprised and unsure. Swallowing the lump in her throat she replied, "My Mother had a brother?”

“Yes, I am quite a bit older than she, but she was a cute little thing and we were close ‘till I moved away.”
"Come on in, Tanya isn't it? And have a chair."

“Well Uncle Jebidia, May I call you that?”

“Sure would like that, just make it Uncle Jeb if that is easier on you.”

“I thank you so much; I do need to tell you that my mommy passed on.”

“No! And her so young... How long ago? And that's why you’re here?"
"Do you want to talk about it?”

“Maybe later, it is kinda hard right now."

Tanya looked at her hands, and sat down,

"I just came as soon as she was gone... cause she told me to. I’m terribly tired.”

“Just look at me with no manners. Have you had a bite to eat?”

“Yes Sir, I stopped at the bridge and ate my sandwich.”

He looked at the child and saw how thin she was.

“Speak up if you get hungry, there is plenty in that cooler over there." He mad a wide motion with his hands, "and the cabinets are busting at the seams with already made food.”

“I only spend spring down here, but you’d think I eat like a bear.”

“You mean you don’t live here all the time?”

With a hardy laugh that made Tanya feel good all over, he replied, “NO, No,
Child, I have this big empty house over cross town on the lake.”

“Come on now I will show you your bed. It is just an extra cot, but we’ll hang this blanket between us, and you can feel safe as a bug in a rug.”

“I know this is rough but there is an out house in the back out doors, and over there on the counter is a bowl and some water, for washing your face and hands."
"It you want more we will heat it up on that little cooker I have.” He pointed to the two burner propane stove on the counter.

“I don’t want to be trouble, and Mother did leave me a little money, I could pay some for my keep.”

Speechless, he rapped his arm around her as a tear slipped down his cheek.

“Tanya, we are family. This will be home from now on and don’t you worry about a thing. We’ll make it just fine.”

Sleeping sounder than she had in months, Tanya awoke early the next morning and looked around trying to get her bearing. She peeked around the hanging blanket to find Uncle Jeb setting at the table.

The table was set with two places. Apple juice and coffee in there place. Sure enough, Uncle Jeb had already fixed buckwheat pancakes with hot maple syrup, and bacon for breakfast. The smell of pancakes, and bacon made her mouth water.

“Good morning sleepyhead. Are you ready to fill that skinny tummy this morning?”

Like living in a fairyland Tanya nodded and sat across from him.

Uncle Jeb bowed his head and thanked God for the day and for her coming to him.

Tanya suddenly knew what Mother meant when she had read, “The steps of the righteous are ordered by the Lord.”

She did not think she was righteous, but mother has been right in telling her what to do. She had always told Tanya that righteous meant, doing the right thing.

Coming to Missouri and Uncle Jeb had truly been the right thing.
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