Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Concentration (07/24/08)
TITLE: Protect My Boys!
By Pat Boone
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"Dad?" said a curious voice from behind him.
"What happens to the stars when there's clouds covering them? Do they move to the other side of the sky?"
I chuckle at the innocence of childhood. "No, Jacob. They stay where they are. The clouds just stop us from seeing them. Their light doesn't reach us."
"Told you!" Jacob sneered at his younger brother. Matt giggled from his toes at the fact he was able to get under his brother's skin one more time. It was all a game to him.
The boys jostled, hitting and kicking each other behind my seat. The noise level was getting to a point that I could no longer stand the distraction. I love my boys, but there comes a time when a father needs to lay down the law. I turn and raise my voice, "Guys! That's enough. Keep it together until we get home."
Driving a small truck with jumper seats that faced each other had its drawbacks.
Suddenly, Matt's eyes widen, "Dad, what's that?!"
I whip my head back around to see what Matt was looking at. A large set of antlers emerges from the driver's side ditch. I stomp on the breaks and cut the wheels hard right, too late.
The smell of burning rubber penetrates my nostrils, and then everything goes black.
<I>Dad...? Dad...? Dad, are you okay...?
Come on Arthur, wake up...wake up. Focus. You have sons to protect...wake up...</I>
"Uhhhh," I moan, barely able to move a muscle.
"Dad!" Jacob and Matt shout hysterically.
"What happened? Are you okay?"
"Dad, you're...all...wet," Matt sobbed. "Did the moose pee on you?"
I manage a tiny chuckle. Children are an endless source of entertainment.
"I'm okay," I lie.
"Are you guys hurt? Are you bleeding?"
"No. We're okay," Matt replies for the both of them.
<I>Thank you, God. Thank you for saving my sons.</I>
I painfully lift my head to survey the damage. One good headlight shone brightly, reflecting its light off a nearby stand of white birch.
The left side of the truck is torn at an angle back to what was left of the door. I glimpse down at my body; something white stuck out of both of my legs and blood flowed freely from the wounds.
I lay my head back on the seat. <I>I just want to sleep. God, let me sleep. When I wake up this will all be gone. Arthur! Concentrate on your sons. They are scared, talk to them, comfort them.</I>
"Dad, can we get out?" asked Jacob.
"No boys, just sit tight. Somebody will be along in a little while, okay?"
I lied again. The road home wasn't busy at all since they put the new highway through.
Between the internal injuries and loss of blood, I didn't have much time at all. Tears well up in my eyes. <I>I am going to miss my sons...</I>
"Guys, I'm going to have to ask you to be strong for me." They detect the quiver in my voice, and each of them grabs a hand I offer. "Daddy is hurt pretty bad, and I don't think I'm going to make it home, so I need you to be strong for me and for mom."
<I>Sleep...just a little sleep.</I> My eyes droop, and my head falls to one side. <I>Arthur! Stay with your boys. Focus man, focus!</I>
Jacob and Matt squeeze my hands, and weep bitterly. "Dad, don't go!"
"Uhhh." I glimpse at Jacob in the rear-view mirror. Tears rain heavily down his cheeks. <I>Little boys shouldn't have to go through this suffering.</I> "I'm still here boys. Let's say a prayer. Matty, will you?"
"Dear God, please save my dad...that's all I can think about right now. Amen."
"That was a good prayer, Matty."
Suddenly, a bright light hit the corner of my eye, but before I can say anything, Jacob speaks up. "Dad there's a man dressed all in white standing outside the truck."
"Tell mom that I love her, and you guys be good, okay?"
I squeeze my sons' hands with all my remaining strength. "Father, please protect my boys."
I drift off into a deep sleep and wait patiently for my family to be with me once again.
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