Lost/With The Dawn
It was a long and arduous trek into town. But someone had to deliver the news, and the task had fallen upon him - storm or no storm, he had to get through...
He muttered to himself as he pushed his way through the storm.
He was still but a half a mile from the outskirts of town when he thought he heard a faint cry for help. It sounded as if it was coming from a small grove of trees on the side of the byway.
As he drew closer the crying became louder and louder until it reached a pitch so fearsomely loud that he clutched his ears and shouted that he was coming. The crying immediately stopped.
"Where are you?"
He called into the wind but received no response.
He reached the first tree in the little grove and swung his lantern around to make the arc of light reach further. He gasped as he saw the figure of little Molly huddled beneath the largest oak tree.
"Thank God! Oh, thank God!"
The small child blinked her round blue eyes and allowed the man to pick her up. Her tiny voice was tired and weak.
"Uncle Walter? I thought you was a bear. I'm so s'eepy. Where's my Papa?"
It dawned on Walter that Molly must have been distressed when his brother left to put in an order for supplies and pick up the mail in town, and had left to go try to find him. How the small child had made it seven whole miles was a puzzle, but still, she was found.
"Come, Pet. I'll take you to Papa."
He wrapped his cloak around her and continued to the town with a heavier burden and a lighter heart.
He knocked on the hotel door.
"Walter? And Molly?! Come in and dry off! What brings you here? Is something wrong?"
Walter laughed. It was such a relief to deliver opposite news from what he originally had to bring.
"Alfred, soon after you left early this morning little Molly here went missing. She was last seen out playing in the back yard so we supposed she had wandered off to the back pasture. Beyond that there had been a bear sighted in the woods. We were frantically searching everywhere, all day long. Finally Ana asked me to hike to town and tell you that little Molly was hopelessly lost. Just a half mile out of town I heard someone crying for help and there she was in the middle of a small grove of trees. So I brought her here to you."
Alfred hugged his little daughter to his chest and breathed a prayer of thankfulness into her hair.
"Thank you brother. Thank God you found her. Will you stay the night here with me?"
Walter hugged his brother and tried to hide the fact that he had been crying.
"No, Alfred, I think I'd better head back to the ranch and let Ana know that Molly is safe with you. Otherwise she'll be worried sick, and what with the new baby coming along any time now, that can't be good for her."
"You're right, brother. Thank you again. God speed to you!"
The brothers parted and Walter made his way back down the byway. The trek back was much less arduous than the trek to town for with the dawn comes joy, and the light of dawn was spreading across the horizon.