Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: FAMOUS (02/27/20)
TITLE: For the Sake of A Name
By Debra Brand
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Again, I heard the noise. Oh, it’s the front door. At this hour! Who would be pounding on my door this late?
I stepped with caution down the stairs, the creaking and cracking of my knees, as well as the treads, added to my discomfort.
Nearing the door, I glanced through the window to find only dark moving shadows on the porch, blending in with the moonless yard. Living in the country on this lonely dirt road has its benefits and liabilities. Neighbors are few, far between, and travelers are uncommon.
The repetitive knocking on the door matched the intense beating of my heart as I flicked the wall switch to bathe the porch in light. There were frantic calls of my name.
“Mr. Ben! Mr. Ben! Are you in there?” they yelled.
“Who is it?”
“You don’t know us, but we were told to come and see you. We’re in desperate need and nowhere else to turn.”
Continuing to talk through the door, I asked, “Who recommended me?”
“A scratchy-voiced waitress named Sandy, at The Hammered Lamb in town, mentioned your name and gave us directions to get here. You sure do live out in the country. Good thing your name was on the mailbox.”
Cracking the door an inch, Ben peeked out and saw the family. Two small children with squinted eyes, from the bright light, and young parents waited with bated breath watching and hoping for a positive response.
The image moved my heart and I opened wide the door to let them in. The children shuffled in hesitantly, their eyes big as saucers surveying the room. I caught sight of a very round belly and met the mother’s fearful stare. The father addressed me with a nervous stutter.
“Wwwwe are in dddesperate nnneed.”
“Let’s go and sit in the front room,” I said. I took time to light the fire in the parlor stove and lit a few lamps to brighten the surroundings. The warmth enveloped the family and brought a relaxing of shoulders and calm.
“What can I do for you?”
The mother blurted, “We lost our home!”
“I don’t understand. How did you lose your home?”
The father sighed and began their story.
They had decided to sell everything they owned, except for necessities, and purchase a tiny home to draw behind their pickup. Traveling throughout the countryside nearby, they had stopped at a rest area for the night. A group of degenerates raided them as they slept and forced them out of their tiny home. Leaving the family with only the truck, they took off, dragging the home and all their possessions.
“So, why did you come to me?”
“It was your name.”
I just nodded.
After providing them with warm cocoa and some fresh muffins, the little family hunkered down on my couches to catch some rest. I had plenty of blankets for the little ones to snuggle in the recliners.
I said, “We will decide what is best for you in the morning. Rest, now, and sleep in peace.”
Softly, I treaded back upstairs, careful to avoid the noisier steps, and made my way back to my room. I lay down in confidence knowing all would be well.
My last thought before closing my eyes was, “I need to change my name on the mailbox.”
Ben E. Volence, Author
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