256 Words

My Daughter Lay Dead

M. Stanley Bubien

My daughter lay dead at my feet, slashed and decayed. I reached under her---to carry her away---but it'd been so long, I couldn't distinguish between her body and the soil beneath.

I fell to my knees to pray, but instead I screamed "murderer!" and pounded the soil like I wanted to pound the man who still ran free. My rage rumbled into the earth. The ground began to shake. I jumped to my feet, but the earthquake I'd started grew stronger. The fields crumbled away and I struggled to hold my footing as the abyss gaped on all sides.

I awoke to my wife jostling me.

"That dream again?" she asked.

I sighed and pushed up onto my elbows. "Yeah," I answered.

"Been almost seven months."

I nodded, "They're getting farther apart. I think that's a good sign."

"But we still need the reminder," she said matter-of-factly.

I patted her hand and we sat together in silence for over fifteen minutes, one for each year since that icy night.

"You know," my wife mused. "Jimmy's birthday's in two weeks Think he'll invite us to see the grandkids?"

"Oh, he always does---and we're the ones who're supposed to give the present!" We both laughed.

When we calmed, my wife said solemnly, "Maybe we should pray now."

That was our rule. Always pray after the dream. I took her hand, kissed her cheek, settled back and started the "Our Father."

This time though, unlike in my dream, I prayed through it without pause or hesitation.

Copyright ©1997 M. Stanley Bubien All Rights Reserved.

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February, 1997
Issue #10

256 Words