Tick tock. Tick tock.
The sound of the grandfather clock echoed throughout the old farmhouse.
The clock chimed four times.
Was this night ever going to end? Suzanne adjusted herself in the fold-out metal chair. Time held no significance anymore. Not since she received the phone call from her sister-in-law only hours ago . . .
Suzanne stood and walked over to pour herself another cup of coffee. Knowing she was way beyond her daily limit.
Why is this happening, Lord? I thought I could trust You . . .
Shaking her head free of thoughts which would only take her on another downward spiral, she reached for her freshly made energy drink. Wearily, she looked around her and took in the faces of those surrounding her. Her Grandfather stared lifelessly out the window. The only signs of life were coming from the cigar he carelessly smoked. Her mother sat at the table with her head buried in her hands. Tears frozen on her cheeks as she accepted comfort from the arm of her sister, Caroline.
Lord, it’s just not right. My mother has already had to suffer the loss of her husband six months ago when he entered that burning building to save the lives of yet another family in his twenty years of being a firefighter. When will the pain end? Haven’t we suffered enough? It’s not fair . . .
Suzanne was cut off from her desperate prayer with the sound of the doorbell. With eyes wide, everyone stared at one another, each one terrified to answer the door. Petrified of the news they knew was coming. Summoning all her courage, Suzanne walked toward the door, determined to take care of the only family she had ever known. Bravely, she gripped the door knob, swung open the door and braced herself for the frigid winter air.
At the door, a police officer stood with hat in hand. “Good evening, ma’am. We've come to speak with Laurie Murphy. It’s about her son. Is she here?”
Her heart was practically beating out of her chest as she noticed the piercing gaze of the second police officer, John McKaid, her ex-fiancé of only a few days. “Yes,” she whispered. Clearing her voice, she spoke with all the strength she could muster. “She’s in the kitchen. Please, come with me.”
Shaking inside and out, Suzanne marched towards her mother. Placing her hand gingerly on Laurie’s shoulder, she spoke in a gentle tone, “Mother, the policemen are here to see you about Jacob.”
Tick tock. Tick tock.
The grandfather clock was relentless.
An eternity passed by as Suzanne took in the voices of the officers speaking to her mother as they recounted the story of what happened.
Jacob had been sitting on the side of the highway when a drunk driver slammed into his police car. Demolishing Jacob’s car and killing him on impact. The only comfort they had was in knowing he had gone quickly. The driver, of course, survived and was still on the run.
Upon hearing the conformation of what they’d heard from Jill, Suzanne watched as her mother’s body shook with a cry coming from the depths of her soul.
Stepping back, Suzanne’s world suddenly began to close in. Circles passed before her eyes as she allowed herself to disappear into a vast black whole. Warring voices fought for her attention as she slipped away into nothingness.
She heard John as he caught her in his strong and caring arms and whispered, “I’m here, Suzie. You’re going to be okay. I promise.” At the same time, the sound of the grandfather clock seemed to signal an acceptance in her heart that the darkness surrounding her life would never end. And yet another, still and peaceful voice whispered, “Do not be afraid, my child. I’m with you. Even now, when all seems lost. Trust me . . .”
She wanted to trust. Oh, how she wanted to! But as the darkness took over, she wasn't sure if she still knew how or if she even had the strength to try.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” was the last she heard before complete darkness took over.
John carried Suzanne to the couch and began to fervently pray as he waited. “Lord, I need you. Give me the wisdom I need to help her through this crisis. And, please, help her to let me be there for her . . .”
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