Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Evangelism (11/01/07)
TITLE: The Gift of a Cross
By Judy Traffie
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She watched as the girl laughed softly at a couple of quarreling chipmunks, her teeth shining white against her bronze skin. Quietly she spoke to the pair in a lilting, musical language as if scolding them. Fascinated Heather leaned closer, straining to hear and abruptly lost her balance falling over in a whoosh of flying petticoats.
Instantly the Indian girl froze, her eyes trained on the spot that Heather was hiding. Heather lay very still, not daring to move a muscle as an Indian brave materialized next to the girl. Her heart beat furiously in her chest filling her ears with a boom, masking all the other sounds. The Indian brave quickly scanned the field, once brushing over the spot where Heather lay and then relaxed. He said something to the girl and they turned to leave.
Sitting up slowly her cheeks growing hot at the thought of the young brave’s bare chest and strange leggings, she let out her held breath in a rush. Just then noticing how badly she was shaking, she thought of how her father would skin her alive if he knew she were anywhere near the Indians. Cautiously she stood up, peering in the direction the Indians had gone and set off on still unsteady legs towards home.
Later that evening as she dozed before the warm fire, Heather heard her father speaking in hushed tones to her mother about an Indian raid on a settlement. Awareness and guilt pricked along her skin as she realized how close she had come to being discovered. She knew she should stay away but the memory of the pretty girl called to her enticingly, and she knew she would go back. ‘Just one more time, then I will stay away’, she told herself.
A few days later on a warm afternoon, Heather was walking towards the brook to cool off when she became aware of another presence. Her skin prickling along the back of her neck she turned slowly around and froze. The Indian brave she had seen a couple of days before was standing in a shaft of sunlight. He stood proudly, looking very fierce and solemn. Heather clenched her shaking fists in an effort not to scream, as his dark eyes regarded her seriously.
She tensed, ready to turn and run knowing that she wouldn’t get far. Stepping delicately around him the young Indian girl appeared. She approached Heather hesitantly as if she were some strange apparition. Stopping a couple of feet away she stood her eyes like marbles looking at Heather’s bright red hair. Heather stood motionless as the girl reached out a hand and softly touched it. Instantly she turned and started chattering excitedly to the man behind them, as Heather’s heart beat an erratic rhythm.
Once more the girl reached towards her but this time she looked at Heather inquiringly before picking up the finely wrought cross she wore on a piece of ribbon around her neck. Giving her an unsteady smile, Heather said, ‘It’s for my Lord’, and pointed towards the sky.
Quizzically the girl looked up into the sky as if she expected to see something and then back at Heather. Again Heather said, ‘Lord’, but this time she brought her palms together and bowed her head.
Comprehension flooded into the girl’s eyes as she too folded her hands and bowed, chattering away in her musical language. Reverently she touched the cross again and said something in an awed voice.
Instantly Heather knew that she was supposed to give this girl her cross. Reaching up with a twinge of sadness she untied it and held it out to the Indian girl, a sense of joy filling her. Heather watched as the girl took it with both hands showing it to the brave behind her before tying it around her wrist. Heather knew beyond a doubt that this girl would become an important part of her life.
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