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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Shopping (03/01/07)

By Kathleen Morris


The wind howled and hissed through the rickety door that served as an entrance to the soddy she and Matthew had built when they first arrived in the prairie valley known as Eagle creek. At first Becky looked forward to the adventure with her new husband, but not now, not with the frozen March wind threatening their meagre existence.

They had run out of food three days ago and her very pregnant stomach was growling more than ever. The baby inside of her wasn’t moving very much any more and she couldn’t even feel her toes even though she’d been huddling by the fire all day.

With a cough, her breath fogged the air in front of her. She pressed her trembling palm to her forehead to check if her fever had lifted, but it hadn’t.

Why did they stay? When the Muller’s decided to call it quits and go back to England in November, they should have done the same. But no, Matthew and his big ideas, his pride actually, kept them there against her better judgement.

It was going to take a miracle to survive this. Even if Matthew did manage to get to town for supplies, the weather had already turned bad enough to hold him there until it passed. By then, it would be too late.

Becky tried to remember the fall trip. It warmed her as she thought of the many purchases they made at the general store. It was embarrassing loading up the wagon the way her silly husband behaved. And she thought they had enough to last the winter.

Who would have known the Indians would come so often to help themselves.

Licking her dry chapped lips, she could practically taste the last baking powder biscuit she ate. It was heaven imagining it. In fact, pretending she went along with Matthew shopping for supplies was exactly what she needed.

She would buy the best bolt of fabric she could find for the baby. Yes, she’d make the child a bonnet and christening gown out of lace, the finest lace to be had. Then, out of a pretty yellow fabric she’d make herself a new dress and a matching bonnet of her own.

Becky closed her eyes imagining it, but as much as she wanted the finest fabric, she found herself still aching for food.

No, she’d have to envision something else, something like liquorish. Yum, she’d buy a handful of the tastiest candy ever to grace Lucky’s general store. Flour, sugar, and baking powder would be sure to be added to her list. And oh, she’d bake up a storm with all the ingredients and decorate the table with all the salt pork available.

Suddenly, just as she smiled at the idea, a coughing fit attacked her once again. This time, the reality of what was going on hit her hard as she surveyed the blood in her cupped hand. This sickness had hung on for a month, confusing her as to what it was. But the others from their group had passed on from something similar, and now she was sure it was happening to her.

“Oh God in heaven!” she moaned in a state of hopelessness. But only the howling wind echoed back, that, and the nearing wolves in the night.

With her Bible in hand, she flipped through the thin pages until she came to her favourite verse: Psalm 23: 4 “Yeah though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”

It was a verse that gave her hope and made her long for spring. God had always awakened hope like a new spring flower. She had no reason to assume he wouldn’t be there for her now.

As the fire crackled before her and the wild wind whistled about, she was sure she heard a gunshot in the distance. It made her sit upright, perked and waiting.

Then, through the door, two men bolted in with the blowing snow. Her man had returned with caked icicles covering his beard, holding something in his arms.

“God is good, my lovely!” he grinned with a sparkle in his weathered eye, holding up the carcass of a very large rabbit. “I caught us some supper, did the shopping, and even brought you the doc.”

It was then that she realized that spring had come to the valley.

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Member Comments
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Terry R A Eissfeldt 03/08/07
Great story telling. You had my attention from the start. The romantic in me was hoping.....Thank you for sharing!
Jacquelyn Horne03/12/07
Very intriguing story. Wonderful account of squatter days. Kept me all the way through. Good writing.
Bonnie Way03/13/07
Great story! You really kept the interest going.
Joanne Sher 03/14/07
Lovely description - I was right there with you. I absolutely LOVE your last sentence especially.
cindy yarger03/15/07
I liked this. I liked the tone of the entire story and the end just made it come together wonderfully. Good job.