Opening her eyes was painful, but Kayla struggled to get them open enough to evaluate her situation. She could hear water flowing nearby. Blood trickled down her face. She managed to move her right arm, but couldn’t find the seatbelt to release herself. Slowly Kayla turned her head to see if she could figure out what happened. It was still dark, but the moon reflecting on the river provided some light. The steering wheel was pressed firmly against her chest – she was trapped. Kayla wondered what had happened. How did she get like this? Her head filled with pain as everything went completely black.
It was light when Kayla woke again. The morning dew glittered as the sunlight peeked through the forest. She could see more clearly. The road was about 30 feet above the river, so the car must have slid down the embankment. About half way up she could see a large furry figure in the tall grass. It had a fairly large rack – possibly 12 points. She didn’t remember hitting the buck, but surely that is what happened.
Her memory was a little fuzzy, as she couldn’t even remember driving that night. What could she remember: her mom was crying. Kayla struggled to recall the events leading up to the accident.
“You’re grounding me from church?” Kayla asked. “You know, most parents would do the opposite.”
Her father looked at her, “We just feel that church isn’t right for you at this time.”
This wasn’t a new conversation. For some reason her parents thought her church was brainwashing her. Kayla grew up going to church with her family, but only on special occasions. The church Kayla was going to now was different. They believed in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Christianity wasn’t just a twice-a-year obligation, but rather a daily part of one’s life. It was a part of Kayla’s identity. “Why don’t you like it that I am staying out of trouble, unlike Tyler whom you practically praised when you found out he and his friends were drinking?”
“Do you think you are better than the other kids because you go to that off-the-wall church?” asked her father. “What? Do you think the rest of us are going to hell because we don’t go there?” That caught her mother’s attention.
“Yes … I mean no. It isn’t about the church you attend, it is about your relationship with Jesus Christ.”
Her father hesitated, then asked, “So do you think your mother and I are going to hell?”
With a quiver in her voice Kayla answered, “I am sorry, Dad, but yes I do.”
Her mother turned away with tears in her eyes. Kayla didn’t mean to hurt her, but they needed to know the truth. It was because she loved them that she needed to tell them.
Kayla couldn’t take it anymore. She cried as she ran from the house and jumped in her car. The church was only a 15-minute drive, hopefully someone would be there for Kayla to talk to. Tears ran down her face as she drove down the valley. It was dark, and the tears blurred her vision. She didn’t notice the glowing eyes along the road until it was too late.
One by one the hours passed, and the forest gradually grew darker. Tears filled her eyes as she realized she would spend another night trapped and alone. She prayed that God would either rescue her or take her home to heaven. “Lord, please don’t allow for me to spend another night out here,” Kayla pleaded.
Kayla spotted her Bible close by. She felt the book carefully, as she couldn’t see what she was writing.
The darker it grew, the weaker she felt. Kayla was afraid she wouldn’t survive the night. She spent what strength she had left to pray for her parents and brothers, “If I die tonight, let my life and death be a witness to my family.” Her eyelids grew heavy. There was a noise in the distance: a car door, some yelling, footsteps. She fought to open her eyes, but the flashlights blinded her. “I am ready,” she whispered. Kayla felt an overwhelming sense of peace as she drifted from consciousness.
Her parents were handed the book when they arrived at the hospital. Opening it up, they read, “Dear Mom and Dad, I’m sorry, but I’m going home now. Read this. I hope to see you upstairs! Love, Kayla.” They cried.
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