Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Exhale( 08/15/13)
By Sarah Dirk
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He was traumatized.
“Breathe in. Hold it. Then breathe out.” Jen tried to ignore the cries of pain echoing around her, mixed with gun shots, and angry shouts.
“Breathe in. I need you to take a deep breath for me.”
His young eyes were terrified, but he was giving shaky nods. “Okay. We will do it together. Breathe in.” His chest expanded. “Now let it out.” Jen watched as he exhaled. “Good. Lets try it again. Breathe in. Breathe out.”
Slowly his breath calmed down. Jen waited, patiently coaching him. one breath at a time. In. Out.
A bullet whizzed over her shoulder and she winced as it smashed a window.
She had been in the Middle East only one year, coming over from North America to serve as a paramedic on the battlefield. She still hated the sound of gunfire, her stomach still turned as she patched up bullet wounds, and still had to grit her teeth and pray for courage every moment she worked in war zones.
So few people actually realize what the price of war really is. Not money, or land, but lives. Souls.
But they are so bent on revenge, they forget to seek the God of peace. They forget that His solution is different. If only He would be sought...
Picking up the boy in her arms, Jen ducked low and raced toward the “ambulance”, which was simply a large van, with the ambulance symbol plastered on its sides.
Another bullet tore up the ground in front of them, and the boy screamed in terror, clutching her tighter.
The ambulance door flew open and they were yanked into the make-shift vehicle. Jen quickly sat down, holding the sobbing child tightly.
“Shhhh. Shhhh.” She tried to calm his fears. pressing his head tight into her shoulder. It’s okay, hon. It’s okay.”
Rage boiled in her. How long had this war been going on? How cruel could it be that they would use children in their forces? Or was this child used for something else? Entertainment of cruelty? Oh! How could this world be this way?
And while the world lazed about, stuck in their own cares and concerns, the child paid with his blood. He paid with terror, and pain.
His shoulders were still heaving, but his tears had stopped. Jen did not want to let go.
Would she ever get over seeing the harshness of the world?
Bullets splattered in front of the ambulance, and it jerked to life as the driver threw it into gear. Bumping over ruts and holes, the rickety van flew out of the war zone, down toward a hospital.
The boy started screaming in fear, and Jen closed her arms tightly around him, burying his face in her chest. She wanted to scream too. What else could she do? She felt helpless. Why were so few people rising up to help? Why were the volunteers so few to stop the war, and so many to try to finish the war? Why was there such a thirst for revenge, and not peace?
Would God ever be sought out?
The van screeched to a halt, and the doors flew open. Jen waited for several other doctors to unload their patients. Meanwhile, she turned her attention back to the child in her arms.
“Okay son. Remember our exercise? We are going to breathe in, and then out.” She didn’t even know if the child spoke English.
“Ready? Inhale. Exhale.” She demonstrated.
The child tried to mimic her, and they worked together for a few moments, patiently.
“Jen? Get the child in the hospital. Your turn.”
She nodded at the doctor, and he gave her a hand out. Another bullet flew by, and she grit her teeth in rage. Not safe even here?
She made a move toward the large doors. Another bullet. The boy screamed. Blood streamed.
“No!” Jen turned white in fear.
He exhaled slowly.
The price of war.
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