Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: CHILL (10/29/15)
TITLE: Moment of Light
By Hannah Gaudette
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I collapsed under the merciless attack of the snow. The wind whipped brutally through my thin coat as I rose to my feet again and continued, fueled by fear alone. The recurring scenes from that day played like a broken record in my young mind. They threatened to cripple me and paralyze me on the mountain.
It was bitter cold, and growing colder. I barely knew where I was going, and my face was beginning to numb as tears froze on my cheeks.
A small hand touched my arm and I looked down at my little brother. How was it we were the only ones to have escaped? Why did God spare us and not them? I could so clearly hear our mother's words spoken only hours earlier. They were tinged with fear, but strengthened with faith.
“Go to the mountain,” she'd said. “Find your grandfather, and stay with him.” I could still feel her hand touch my cheek. “We will come for you there soon.”
So I'd taken my brother's hand and left the house. We waited, hidden, nearby, and watched as German soldiers raided our home and took the rest of our family away. How unfair it was that they should endure such treatment only because we gave shelter to a few Jews who were trying to escape persecution.
But Mother had promised to come for us. She would, wouldn't she? A frightening doubt sickened my heart.
The wind blasted against us as we stumbled forward. The iciness was beginning to seep through my clothes and into my heart. That was a different kind of coldness. I held on tight to my little brother's hand as we continued. There was nothing to do but trudge onward through the snow, even during one of the worst winters we'd ever seen.
Erik fell again. I stooped down to help him up, but he remained where he was.
“I'm scared,” he whimpered.
“I know. But we have to keep going. We're almost there.”
A steely determination solidified within me. I had to keep going. If not for me, than for him. Erik was so young, and I was now all he had.
We rose to our feet again and plunged forward. Lord, help us, please, I prayed. Show us the way to go.
Suddenly, through the wind and blinding snow, I saw a light. A soft, gentle light, almost like the light of a lantern. I hadn't seen it before, and I didn't see it again. It flashed a couple times, then vanished. My eyes scanned the little of our surroundings that I could see. The temperature had dropped considerably, which had to mean we were rising in elevation. And had that light come from our grandfather's house?
We increased our pace to a near run, which should have been impossible in that storm. Our trek finally led us to where I could see, through the snow, a house. Lights poured from the many windows.
“Is this it?” Erik asked.
“Yes,” I breathed. “We're here.”
The front door opened and a tall, aging man rushed out to meet us. I wondered how he had even seen us, but as he gathered us in his arms and half-carried us into the gloriously warm house, I knew I didn't have to ask. God had shown him through the storm what he needed to see, just as He had for us.
~ ~ ~
It was nearly midnight by the time we were warmed by the fire and given new clothes to wear in place of our wet and cold ones. Erik was asleep on the couch near the fireplace, but I was still sitting up in a chair beside Grandfather.
“How did you know?” I asked.
“I heard a child calling,” he replied quietly. “Even inside, I somehow heard it. Just like you saw the light, even in the snow.”
I felt tears streaming down my cheeks. The fire warmed my body, and I felt God's love warming my heart. The fear that plagued my soul melted away.
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