Samantha’s tiny hands burned like fire. She hung from a tattered rope, tied to a giant oak tree. Her legs dangled beneath her. She didn’t know if she could hold on much longer.
A few hours earlier, she and her best friend, Bryan, darted outdoors to head for Schwan’s Creek. Before they left, Samantha’s mother laid down some rules.
“Remember, Sam. No swinging from that old tire.”
“Aww, Mom. All the other kids do it,” she whined.
“I don’t care what the other kids do, young lady.”
Sam was a beautiful child with golden, blonde hair and sea, blue eyes. She wore navy pedal pushers, a flowered blouse, and white tennis shoes. She was an adventuresome nine-year-old.
“Hey, Mom. I dreamt about that giant hand again, last night,” Sam said.
“Yes, it was my hand coming after you if you don’t obey me.”
“Funny, Mom,” Sam replied. She looked at her friend.
“Come on, Bryan, let’s go.”
The two skipped off and headed towards the creek.
Bryan had a gentler nature, and parted his sandy, brown hair on the side. He sported blue jeans cuffed at the bottom, with a khaki colored shirt, and high top sneakers. Bryan was ten.
Sam and Bryan grew up together and were inseparable. They came to Schwan’s Creek every Saturday to collect rocks. Neither one of them had disobeyed orders before in regards to swinging from the old tire, but for some reason, on this particular day, it was as though a magnetic field tugged at Sam luring her towards the old, oak tree. Her white, tennis shoes squished in the mud, left from the rain the night before.
“Oh look, Bryan,” Sam squealed, walking over towards the tree. “Wouldn’t it be fun to do it just once?” She approached the tire and poked at it with her fingers.
“Sam, you know what your Mom said,” Bryan pleaded.
“I’m not swinging from it, Bryan. I’m just touching it,” she said.
“La, la, la, la.” Sam sung. She pretended to tap the tire with the tip of her sneaker.
“Oh, B-r-y-a-n,” she called. “Look, now I’m touching it with my toes.”
“Sam, stop it!” Bryan yelled. “You’re going to get hurt.”
Sam ignored Bryan’s pleas. She grabbed the rope and tire, and began twirling as though she were a princess dancing at a ball with her imaginary beau. On one of her twirls, she lost her footing and began to slip down the bank. She immediately tightened her grip on the rope, but her white tennis shoes dug deeper into the mud as she continued to slide. Bryan, alarmed by her antics, ran over to help.
“What am I gonna do with you, Sam?” he said, as he approached her.
“Help, Bryan,” she cried.
“Hold on, Sam,” he said.
Sam slid further, which forced her to hoist her legs above the tire. Bryan reached out for her, but lost his footing. He grabbed the bottom of the tire as it began to swing from the bank. He kicked his legs backwards against the bank trying to stay upright but couldn’t get any traction because it was muddy. Sam and Bryan now hung over the creek, in mid-air, 20-feet above the ground.
“Brian, I’m scared,” Sam cried.
Without warning, Sam felt a strange sensation beneath her—a jerk—a snap. Her legs fell straight down. Her hands burned as they slid down the rope, but she managed to hang on. Bryan, along with the tire, plummeted straight down. His screams echoed through the trees. The leaves crunched as his small body hit the ground.
“BRYAN!” Sam screamed. There was silence.
“Oh, God,” Sam cried. “I’m so sorry. Please, help us.”
“BRYAN!” she screamed again, but still no answer.
“G-O-DDDDD!” she wailed from her soul as she sobbed hysterically.
Moments later, the wind began to blow. The leaves started to rustle. Suddenly, a giant hand burst through the clouds and carried Sam back to the bank. She sat on the ground, her teary eyes stunned. Seconds passed before the hand disappeared into the creek and returned with Bryan. Bryan now lay beside her, lifeless.
“What about, Brian?” she asked the Hand.
“The boy is simply sleeping,” the Hand said.
Brian opened his eyes and looked at Sam.
The Hand spoke once more, before it vanished out of sight.
“Obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.”
Sam reached over and hugged her friend.
“Thank you, God,” she cried. “I’ll be obedient to the end.”
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