Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: rain (10/17/05)
TITLE: A Shelter in the Storm
By Kristin Slavik
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The thunder began minutes later and soon the rain followed. The downpour darkened the sky and quickly saturated the roads around her. As the storm raged the woman kept her post, watching the storm and sipping her coffee.
The country roads were dark and winding. Anna tightened her grip on the steering wheel. Just her luck to be on unfamiliar roads during a storm. Her children whined from the back seat. “Mom, when are we going to be there? I’m hungry!” A loud clap of thunder quieted them for a moment.
“I am trying to get us back to the highway guys, OK? Give me just a minute and I will figure it out.” Anna wished she were not alone out here. The unease created a lump in her throat. Barry, you should be here helping me! Her throat constricted even more as she thought of her deceased husband.
The next turn in the road came up too fast and she overcorrected into deep standing water. The car sputtered to a stop, unwilling to move again. Anna hit the steering wheel in frustration. “Great. Are you two alright back there?”
“Yes, mommy. Why isn’t the car going?”
“I’m afraid we are stuck until after this rain passes. We will just have to make the best of it.” Scanning the area she saw a house a couple hundred feet up the road. The lights were on. “We may be in luck guys, there is a house up there, but we will have to run for it.”
The kids looked at each other and grinned. “OK!” They undid their safety belts and raced for the light in the darkness.
The old woman opened the door just as the children got to the front step. Their eyes grew wide as she greeted them. “Welcome, welcome. Looks like you got stuck in this nasty storm. Come on in and warm up. I have coffee and cocoa if you would like some. Make yourselves at home. Charlie will be out in a minute. He doesn’t like the rain.”
Anna accepted the woman’s kindness as she stepped into the old house. “Thank you for letting us in. I am Anna and these are my boys, Thomas and Jordan. Our car got stuck around the bend.”
“Now don’t you worry, dear. That happens often on this road. Charlie and I make sure we watch for travelers in the storms. Here is your coffee and the cocoa should be done soon.”
“That is very kind of you.” Anna took the mug and looked around the small house. It was sparse, but tidy.
“What brings you out during weather like this?” The kind lady inquired.
“We are moving.” Anna looked down at the ground. “My husband died a few weeks ago. We packed our things and went looking for a new start.”
“I am so sorry to hear about your husband. Perhaps you could stay here in Greenbrier. Ms. Hannah in town is trying to rent her guesthouse. It would be perfect for you!”
“Oh, I don’t know if I could stay here, we are just passing through,” Anna replied quickly.
“But, dear, sometimes storms bring rainbows. A rainbow is a sign; it offers hope.” The woman peered out the window. “My Charlie and I always tried to find the rainbows in life. We believed that Jesus gives us chances to make things new. He has been gone for eight years now, my Charlie. We had 51 beautiful years together. I miss him so.” A single tear fell from her cheek.
For a moment Anna was confused. “But I thought you said that Charlie was…” Her voice trailed off. She understood. Just like her husband Barry was in her heart, Charlie would always be with this woman.
Suddenly, she felt at peace for the first time in weeks. Maybe she would stay in this little town. Maybe Greenbrier was her next rainbow.
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