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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Winter (the season) (08/13/09)

TITLE: Directional finder
By larry troxell


“Mommy needs you to be a brave little girl.”

Mother Winter had surprised me with a light falling snow when I opened the garage door a few minutes ago. I had carried my barely awake four-year-old to my car parked at the base of our very long and steep gravel drive. Since Father Fall started dumping occasional icy snowfalls in late November, it had been almost impossible to drive my old station wagon to our home atop the hill.

“How would you like to stay home and help Mommy bake cookies today?”

Our two distant neighbors who shared the country lane were obviously still asleep this early dark January morning. As I had waited for the car to warm up, Mother Winter had howled its displeasure in awakening at such an early hour. My husband was in Eastern Kentucky helping his brother construct a log cabin. They had a four-wheel-drive truck to maneuver slick roads but I did not.

“Listen to me carefully. We’re going back to the house now instead of spending the day with Grandma. Mommy’s taking the day off from work and we’ll bake lots and lots of cookies and surprise Daddy when he gets home tonight.”

I tried to sound as cheerful as possible for my daughter, but I was fearful we were facing a sudden blizzard. I had my daughter wrap her legs around my waist and grip her little arms around my neck. I kissed her heavenly face inside her furry hooded pink snowsuit as I brought my black coat around her and snuggled her to me as tightly as possible.

“Mommy, it’s cold.”

“Yes, but we’re going to have hot chocolate, and you can play with your kitty and we can bake cookies,” I rambled on trying to keep my brave little girl calm. I started walking back to our house guided only by faith.

I prayed to God for his helping hand as I trudged through the ever increasing snowfall and howling winds. Mother Winter had her beautiful moments like deer skipping across snow covered fields and scenes such as frozen icicles hanging from barren tree limbs. This morning, however, Mother Winter got up on the wrong side of heaven with a treacherous blizzard.


I screamed as thorns ripped through my pants leg between my snow boots and long coat. Stunned, I told my daughter everything would be okay but I realized I had strayed into the blackberry patch more than 150 feet off our drive. I was becoming more disoriented in the dark, the drifting snow, and the bone-chilling wind.

“Lord, I need your guiding hand, a guiding light. Protect my baby, please.”

Straightening my body from the near fall into the blackberry briars, I started off at a new angle where I thought the garage was. I slipped my hand into my left coat pocket for warmth and discovered instead, the garage door remote. I did not recall removing it from the car visor, but I thanked God he knew I could use it as a directional finder!

I gripped my daughter tighter, trudging upwards as quickly as my body and the snowdrifts allowed. Pushing, pushing, pushing the remote button.

“We’re almost there baby. Mommy loves you,” I reassured my daughter, who was whimpering from the cold and the fear of the unknown.

I suddenly heard clanking chains as I continued pressing the garage door opener. It was my daughter’s swing her daddy had hung for her on the oak tree near the end of our house. I altered my path slightly and as I kept pushing the remote, the opener connected, raising the garage door and flooding the morning darkness with a floodlight from heaven!

God had answered my prayers. Now, we could enjoy Mother Winter from the safety and warmth of our home.

“Baby, we’re home. Let’s have hot chocolate!”

“And cookies,” my daughter added, her fears wiped away with a cheerful smile.

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This article has been read 515 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Valarie Sullivan08/21/09
How original! That was genius using the garage door opener! Who'd a thought?
Mona Purvis08/24/09
I don't miss those early, dark cold mornings. Good story. Suspense and resolution. Good job.
Virgil Youngblood 08/24/09
A good story with suspense, satisfactorily resolved. I pictured the long and steep gravel drive as being more-or-less straight and wondered how she got off track. Of course, it could have wound around the hill. A little direction would have kept me on track, but that is a minor suggestion.
Beth LaBuff 08/24/09
I had to smile at the "Mother Winter got up on the wrong side of heaven." :) I loved the resourcefulness of you MC and your title in relation to your ending!
Colin Swann08/25/09
Very interesting story with an unexpected way of finding a solution, to finding one's way when lost in the snow on a dangerous dark.... (almost got carried away there). Col
Laura Manley08/25/09
I like the ingenius idea of your mc using her garage remote to give her light; however, I have to admit I'm totally confused as to why she was out there in the first place. At first, I thought she was perhaps in a bad marriage and was trying to flee from the home. I apologize, but I found the introduction of your mc's circumstances unclear. Laura
Jan Ackerson 08/25/09
Great job with the suspense and chill.

I'd found the unexplained garage door opener a bit of a stretch...who puts those in their pockets?

Your writing is very good! You put your readers right on the scene, and the Man vs. Nature conflict is superb for this week.
Catrina Bradley 08/25/09
Those sudden blizzards can be so frightening! Lots of tension and suspense as mom finds her way back to the house. Of course she had the remote in her pocket - how else would she get in the garage after parking her car at the foot of the drive? :)
Ada Nett08/25/09
Suspenseful ...I was right there in the storm with them! Glad we made it home!