Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: HEALTH (10/13/16)
By Jeremy Kirby
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Up ran to her rescue. He didn’t have to move far in the small apartment, for he was an immense animal, even for a polar bear.
He playfully kissed her cheeks; she giggled and buried her face in his soft white fur.
Her mother walked toward her, picking the binoculars up from the carpeted floor. She handed them to her as she felt Evie’s forehead.
“Awe, baby, you’re burning up.”
Evie searched the sky, hiding behind lenses that were a bit too large for her small face.
No, I’m fine she mumbled.
“I’m sorry Evie. I know how much you hate it but we have to take you.”
An hour later, the three of them walked down the sidewalk, toward the entrance. Evie looked down at a leaf imprint on the newly poured sidewalk. She knelt down, pulled up the leaf, and tossed it into the air. She beamed as it twisted and flipped in the breeze. Her smile faded as she saw past the floating leaf to the sign – Helen Devos Children’s Hospital.
She stroked her thin hair, remembering that only a few short months ago, she lived here. “Evie, you’re a strong one,” the nurses told her. Now, coming back, she was afraid that she might be stuck here again. She didn’t want to have be strong again.
They settled into a sterile hospital room. Evie’s eyes grew dark, her face drawn. She shivered through the night. Up stayed by her side, and Red Fox lay in a curl, keeping her feet warm. Her mom still dozed in the vinyl hospital chair.
Early in the morning, Evie listened to the soft snoring of her family as she peered out the window. She could see far away from her high window. Peering curiously into a strange neighborhood, she saw a tall white dog bolt across the street. She could almost hear the screeching tires as a car ran the poor thing over.
Without thought, she pulled the IV from her wrist and gathered her jacket and rubber boots that still lay in the corner. Not one nurse, doctor or even her mother noticed her absence as she and her wild companions walked out of the hospital.
Evie wandered for what seemed like hours. She tightened her coat and turned her face against the cold, stinging rain. The hospital was out of sight now and she was lost. As magical and confident as Evie was, she could not help the sickening feeling that began to creep over her. It felt like the cancer that she fought so hard against.
“Red Fox, where is the dog?”
At her question, the little fox ran ahead as she and Up followed. A beautiful house stood out from the others. It must belong to the dog.
Just then, an elderly woman with a long dress opened the door.
“Dear child, won’t you come in out of the cold?”
Evie excitedly accepted her gracious invitation. She was welcomed with thick hot chocolate and warm clothes. They sat next to a roaring fireplace in tall comfortable chairs.
“What are your friends’ names?” the woman asked.
This is Up, because he’s from up north and he is so tall I always have to look up at him. And this is Red Fox, because well, he’s a red fox.
At this, the woman chuckled.
“Do you know that they were my friends before they were yours?”
Evie listened intently.
With a sparkle in her eye, the woman began her story…
Evie awoke to the dimming light and the woman adding more logs to the fire, but then something at the front door grabbed her attention.
The police pushed their way through the front door with her parents behind them. As she stood facing the door, they ran right through her.
They ran past a cold, blackened fireplace and rotted furniture, to the back corner of the room. Lying among piles of garbage, still gripping a stuffed bear and a little toy fox, was their lifeless daughter. They pulled her body close to theirs and cried great, grievous sobs.
Evie looked back into a room that was beginning to blur. As she walked through the open door, the warmth and brightness of the Son greeted her. Up and Red Fox were there, and a playful, white dog.
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