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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Outbreak (04/07/11)

TITLE: Julia's Hope
By Ann Martin


Julia wearily raised her hand to tidy her hair. It had been days since she had even brushed her hair. Nothing else had mattered except caring for her family. Her feet felt leaden as she made her way up the stairway to the bedroom. Was it really only a week ago that her home had been filled with the sounds of laughter and the pitter-patter of little feet? Her heart felt like it was breaking as she looked down at the still figure of her little daughter Isabella. Her soft baby hair was damp with fever. Her chubby little cheeks flushed and her beautiful big blue eyes were closed.

It was hard to believe that in the 21st century an outbreak could actually invade the lives of so many. Already many had died and according to media reports, many remained critically ill. The hospitals were unable to take any more patients and instead were handing out instruction pamphlets on how to care for family members at home. People were frightened and the streets were eerily deserted. Those that had ventured out had masks on as they hurried back to the safety of their homes. It seemed there were no medications specific enough to kill the virus. Scientists and physicians were frantically working around the clock to perfect an effective vaccine. The virus was spreading so quickly that many feared the death toll would be of epidemic proportions. The media reports were suggesting the virus had started with a group of short-term missionaries who had visited Angola and upon returning to Canada had unknowingly spread the virus.

Julia was a nurse and had come in direct contact with the virus at the hospital and had become very ill. Although she had recovered, she was still extremely weak. The disease had then attacked her husband and now their daughter Isabella. Little Isabella was fighting for her life. It would take a miracle for her to pull through this. Oh God, please heal my baby. I cannot bear to lose her, sobbed Julia as she fell to her knees by her daughter’s bedside. She felt the touch of a hand on her shoulder and turned, fully expecting to see her husband standing there. But, he was not there. Nobody was there. Her beloved husband Robert had slipped away a few days ago as he had succumbed to the illness. Her best friend, the dearest person on earth to her, was gone. Now little Isabella, the fruit of their love, was fighting for her life.

Suddenly she became very aware of the presence of God in the bedroom. God has promised to never leave me nor forsake me she reminded herself. He would give her the grace and strength one moment at a time. Isabella stirred and opened her beautiful blue eyes and looked up at her mommy. Just as quickly, she closed her eyes, a little sigh escaping her parched lips. Julia tenderly reached out to touch her. Her forehead felt cool to touch. Could she dare to hope?

Julia lay down beside Isabella, cradling her gently in her arms. As she kissed her lightly on the forehead, Isabella snuggled closer. In the distance Julia could hear a siren echoing through the stillness of the night.

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This article has been read 438 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/14/11
Though the fear and panic are quite clear, it was told softly andI could feel the love and desperate need for the baby-ho get better.
Catrina Bradley 04/14/11
The first paragraph made me think this was historical, and the realization that this was a possible near-future was an eye-opener. The despair and hope both come through strongly in your writing. A captivating slice-of-life story.
Debra Hindman04/17/11
A beautiful painting...my eyes devoured your artful words!
Christine Rhee04/17/11
Well written--you kept my interest throughout.