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Authors: Patrick E. Craig

The Road Home (30 page)

BOOK: The Road Home
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Again the peaceful voice came.
Jerusha, how are you going to repair the torn petals? Are you going to take the old ones away and put new ones in?

“No, Lord, I'm going to put the new piece right on top of the old one and sew it on using the same stitch I used before.”

So the new piece will…will what, Jerusha?

“The new piece will completely cover the old one and hide all the torn places and the imperfections of the ruined piece.”

So you are not going to remove it. You are going to…

“I'm going to cover it, Lord. But what…?”

And then like the sun rising over the eastern hills on a quiet spring morning, the answer came.

“Oh! All my sins and imperfections and all of Jenny's, they are… they are covered.”

By what, Jerusha?

“Oh my Lord, by Your blood…by Your blood!”

And then Jerusha knew the answer, and she understood for the first time in her life that the same power that had raised Christ from the dead was in her, and in Reuben, and in Jenny. And the blood that was shed to release that power into the world was fully and absolutely capable of healing her daughter's life and making Jenny whole and complete. The wonderful revelation overpowered her. Jerusha put her head down on the table and began to sob. And as she did, a great weight was lifted from her, and the blood of her Savior began its marvelous work.

C
HAPTER
T
WENTY
-F
IVE

Astray

S
LOWLY
J
ENNY RETURNED TO CONSCIOUSNESS
. For a moment she didn't know where she was. She tried to think, and then it started to come back to her. She had been running through the woods. The branches were grabbing at her face, and she couldn't see where she was going. She tried to remember why she had been running. Then it all came back in a rush. Jorge—she was running from Jorge! She was in the cabin and then she got away.

She put her hand out into the darkness and began to grope around her, trying to discover where she was. She remembered stepping off into space and falling and then landing in something, a tree or a bush that broke her fall by snagging her with the branches. She had hung there for a moment, and then the branches broke under her weight, and she had fallen and rolled into something hard. And then there had been blackness.

Now, awake, she could see that she was at the bottom of a hill or cliff. The ground beneath her was hard and uneven, full of rounded objects that she guessed were stones. She felt between them with her hands. They were surrounded by something smooth and cold. It was
sand. The stones were ice cold and covered with snow. She became aware of the sound of running water a few feet away. Then she knew that she was lying at the edge of a creek and that she must have fallen down into a ravine or a gully.

She was laying partway on a large rock, and as she shifted her weight, she moved and slipped down the side. Her body jerked spasmodically, and an excruciating pain from her leg made her cry out. Very slowly she shifted herself again, fighting the pain, until she was sitting propped against the rock. The snow had stopped, and the dark clouds that had covered the pale moon began to break up. She had guessed correctly—she was lying in a creek bed filled with different-sized stones that stood up out of the sand like snow-covered igloos. The creek was at a very low stage, and the bed was exposed about ten feet on either side of the sluggish water flowing down the center.

She turned her head gingerly to look around. Behind her a steep bank rose up into the darkness. She couldn't see all the way up, but she imagined it was about fifty feet to the top. She remembered when Jorge had let her out of the car trunk and she had looked down into the ravine on the other side of the road. It had seemed very deep, and the wall below her went almost straight down.

She turned her head back. Across the creek, the ravine widened out, and there seemed to be an area filled with brush and trees between the creek and where the opposite wall of the ravine rose up into the darkness. To the right, the stream came flowing down out of the darkness. To her left, it disappeared around a corner.

The snow clouds streamed by above her, and slowly the sky continued to clear, letting light filter down into the blackness around her. Now she could see a flat place along the other side of the creek. It reflected the light more than the ground beside it, and she guessed that it was a trail. The water was flowing from her right so she knew that downhill was to her left.

That's the way out. I've got to get across the creek and go down that trail
.

The throbbing pain in her leg was becoming more intense. She ached all over, but just where else she was injured was unclear. She began to slowly explore her face and head with the tips of her fingers. Something sticky covered the side of her head above her right ear. Blood.

Her fingers moved down to her shoulders. Her left shoulder was sore, but she could move her arm, and she wiggled her fingers to make sure they weren't broken. She worked her way down to her hips and legs. Her left hip was very sore. She struggled to sit further up so she could reach her legs, and once more a bolt of pain shot up her left leg. Gently she pulled her knees up, and the pain from her ankle almost made her scream.

She reached down and carefully felt her anklebones. There was a large lump on the side of her ankle right at the bone, and her foot was twisted strangely. At first she thought it was broken, but then she remembered something that had happened to her when she was a little girl. Running through the field behind her house, she had stepped into a hole and twisted her ankle terribly. It had looked just like it did now. Her Papa had come running when he heard her cries and had gently taken her ankle in his strong hands.

“It's not broken,
dochter
,” he said, “but it is dislocated. I'm going to have to pull it hard to make it pop back in. It will hurt very badly, but I must do it.”

Jenny stuck out her chin and clenched her fists. “Okay, Papa, I'm ready.”

Reuben had looked tenderly at his daughter and then quickly jerked Jenny's foot. The pain had been awful, and Jenny's scream had echoed off the barn. Jerusha had come running to find her husband holding their sobbing daughter in his strong arms.

“She's brave and strong, wife,” he said as he held her safely.

Oh, Papa! If only you were here to hold me in your arms
.

Jenny knew that she had to do something about her ankle or she would be helpless. She needed to somehow pop the bone back into place, so she looked around, trying to think of what to do. About five feet away, she could make out two stones sticking up out of the sand. They were close together with a small gap between them. An idea came to her. She turned around backward and, using her hands as levers, she scooted along until she felt the two rocks against her back. Then she shifted herself around until she was facing them.

Gingerly, she slipped her foot into the gap between the rocks. She felt the rough granite grating against her skin, and she gasped as the pain struck her leg like an electric shock. The gap was just wide enough for her to lock her anklebone behind the rocks, so she leaned forward and pushed the leg down as far as it would go so it would not slip out. The pain was so intense that she had to lie back on the sand. Beads of salty sweat rolled down into her eyes. She sat back up and was about to jerk her leg when she had a thought.
I'm going to scream!

She felt in her jacket pocket and found a wad of unused paper napkins. She pulled them out and stuffed them into her mouth. She remembered how bad the pain had been when her papa had set her ankle. She almost stopped, but she knew that if she didn't do this, she would have to lie here until Jorge found her. She stuck out her chin, clenched her fists, and jerked her leg as hard as she could against the rocks. The pain was so intense that she almost fainted. She bit down hard on the napkins as she groaned in agony.

She looked down at her ankle. It had not gone back into place. She had to do it again. Sobs shook her shoulders as she steeled herself to pull again. Once again her fists clenched. She jerked her leg again. This time her ankle slipped up in the crack and pulled from between the rocks. She could feel the stones tear the skin above her ankle as she fell back in the sand, weeping from the awful pain. The wad of napkins fell out of her mouth, and she lay there gasping.

Jenny was quiet for a few moments until the pain subsided somewhat, and then she sat back up. She had to do this. She slipped her ankle back between the rocks and pushed it all the way down, once again feeling the rocks scrape her skin. She scooted up closer to the rocks and bent her knees just a bit so she could get more leverage. She put the napkins back in her mouth, and then with all of her strength she jerked her leg. An excruciating wave of pain shot up her leg, and the anklebone popped back into place. Jenny fainted.

When Jenny came to, the pain in her leg had subsided somewhat. She pulled it out from between the rocks and examined her ankle. The big bump was gone, but she could just barely see that a large deep purple bruise and some bad swelling had taken its place. Her ankle was badly scraped where she had pulled it against the rocks, and blood had dripped down onto her new white shoe. She rolled over onto her knees and then tried to get up by shifting her good foot under her body and slowly lifting herself up without putting any weight on her bad ankle.

She stood there on one leg and tried to put her weight on both feet. Her left leg buckled, and she fell to her knees in the sand. She stayed on her hands and knees until the pain subsided. Then she shifted her good leg under again and lifted herself back up, this time balancing on her right leg. She looked around. A few feet away, a pile of brush had snagged against some tree roots on the bank, probably last spring during a flood. She hopped over to the pile and looked it over. There was a long, fairly straight pine branch in the pile, and she pulled it out. It would make a good walking stick to lean on, but it was a little long. She sat down on a big rock and pulled the end against her knee until it broke off. She looked down at her ankle.

I need something to brace my ankle so I can put some weight on it
.

She could make a splint with the piece she had just broken off, but
she needed something to tie it onto her leg with. She thought about her shoelace but realized it wouldn't be long enough or strong enough to hold the splint onto her leg. She was about to give up when something caught her eye, a flash of red between the rocks. She hopped over and saw a long red piece of thin nylon rope with a metal handle on one end and what looked like a needle on the other end. It was a fish stringer, the kind that fishermen use to put their fish on to leave them in the stream while they are still fishing. The stringer was wrapped around a rock in what would have been the deepest part of the stream if the stream were full.

Jenny reached down and pulled on the stringer. It was wedged between the rocks and partly covered by sand, but with a few jerks, she got it free. She hopped back to the rock and sat down. She took the thin piece that she had broken off her walking stick and placed it against her leg. Then she started wrapping the nylon rope around her leg and the stick. She started by twisting the rope firmly around the metal handle and then pulling against the knot, keeping the rope tight around her leg. The metal handle wedged firmly against the wood—she knew it would not slip. When she got down to her ankle she used the needle to thread the rope under several of the loops around her leg and then tied it tight. It was the perfect length.

BOOK: The Road Home
13.2Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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