And now I give you Part 2 of "In the Father's Embrace."
Part 2Last week--
Soon they came to a barbed wire fence which surrounded the barn. The gate was with some difficulty, because of the tall, frozen grass and the drifts of snow about it, opened enough to let them all pass through.
The barn was not as dark inside as it would have been, for the snow caused everything to be lighter. The travelers entered what appeared to be the carriage or wagon doorway which was open on either end. A few steps led to another door on the side which when opened, seemed to lead into the main part of the barn. Further searching once their eyes grew accustomed to the dimness, revealed a second set of steps.
“Do you think that could be the hay loft?” queried the morsel in brown. “If it is, it would make a nice place to rest.” No one answered unless it was by a nod or a shrug which in the darkness could not be seen. “I’ll go up and see,” and suiting words to actions, she mounted the steps.
The others waited in silence as the soft footsteps were heard growing higher and farther away.
“It is a loft and there is hay in it. Come on up. Of course there is a large opening to let in the cold, but it also lets in the light. I think this will be the best place to rest.”
It didn’t take much time before the other three were up in the loft and the gray coat had set down his bundle once again. For several minutes no one spoke, each of them being too tired to do anything but sit and catch their breath.
It was a fretful voice that at last broke the stillness. “I wish we had some matches. Then we could start a fire to warm up.”
“Humph, you’d most likely burn the whole barn down.”
“I would not!”
“Shawn, Erica, please don’t start to argue. We don’t have any matches, so we can’t start a fire.” And then changing the subject, the sweet peacemaker in brown turned to the figure lying so quiet in the hay. “How are you doing, Katrina? Are you comfortable?”
A slight moan came from the red scarf before the girl replied, “I think if my foot didn’t hurt so much and my head was on something softer I could go to sleep.”
At her words, Shawn rose, gathered an armload of hay and wrapping it in a large pocket handkerchief, gently tucked it under Katrina’s head. He was rewarded by a whispered,
“I don’t know what to do about your foot. Do you have any ideas, Paige?”
Before the brown morsel could answer, Erica burst forth. “I’m hungry! Shawn, what are we going to eat?”
“How would I know? Go to the corner and maybe you can catch some mice.” His voice was brusque.
At the word “mice” Erica screamed while Katrina in spite of her injured foot started up so quickly that Paige was knocked to the floor.
“Mice! Oh, let’s go! I won’t stay here any longer, I won’t!” Erica’s voice rose to a panicky shriek, and she stood too scared to move.
The cry that escaped Katrina’s trembling lips was one of pain for as she sat up the pain in her foot was almost more than she could bear. Indeed, she felt as though she was about to faint and clung to her brother tightly.
“Okay, maybe there aren’t any mice. I didn’t see any. Sit down Erica, and don’t be a baby. We’re not leaving here. Come on, Trina, nothing is going to hurt you.”
“I think it’s her foot, isn’t it honey?” volunteered Paige.
A whimper of assent followed as Shawn gently eased Katrina back to her little nest in the hay, and pulling off his gloves, pushed her hair out of her eyes.
Shawn turned. Erica still stood beside him. “Sit down. I already told you we aren’t leaving.”
If there had been light enough to see, Erica would have known by her brother’s face that she was pushing the limits of his patience. However, she couldn’t see it. “Yes, we are leaving. And right now. I won’t stay in here with mice!” She stamped her foot.
Reaching out, Shawn grasped the blue clad arm and jerked his sister to the floor. “You sit down and be quiet! I’ve heard enough complaining out of you! Do you think I want to stay here all night? Do you think I wanted to come this way in the first place? No! All you are thinking about and have been thinking about all day is yourself. Well, there are other people to consider now than just you, so if you can’t say anything helpful, just don’t talk!”
For answer Erica burst into tears and pulled away from him.
“Oh, Shawn,” a gentle voice protested softly.
“Now don’t you start too, Paige.” Shawn snapped.
Paige was silent. Carefully she eased the boot off of Katrina’s foot before she uttered another word aloud. In her heart she was praying for wisdom. Well she knew that everyone’s nerves were on edge from the fatigues of the day. She herself felt like crying but knew it wouldn’t help matters any. Instead she began rubbing Katrina’s poor injured foot while she hummed a little tune.
“Sing,” pleaded Katrina with a deep sigh, pulling at her red scarf.
And feeling that maybe that would be the best thing to do, Paige’s sweet soprano voice softly filled the old barn loft while her hands continued in their ministrations to the injured foot.
“Day is dying in the west,
Heaven’s touching earth with rest,
Wait and worship while the night,
Sets her evening lamps alight
Through all the sky.”
Katrina relaxed, and the grip with which she had held onto Shawn loosened. Erica stopped crying and, making a little nest in the hay, curled up and lay still letting the soothing voice calm her fretful, frightful and angry feelings away.
For Shawn the music was exactly what he needed. The day had been so busy and the last several hours full of more responsibility than he had ever known in all his life. Here he was in an old barn with his two young sisters and his cousin. He had no idea where they were, and Katrina was hurt. They had nothing to eat and no way to light a fire to keep warm. All his self reliance was rapidly disappearing, leaving in its place a void of emptiness.
Shall I continue it next week?