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The Most Important Save of All
The rain poured outside, slapping the window viciously with its unforgiving hand. An overcast sky covered a bleak and miserable landscape of closely knit starter homes, wrought iron fences, and lonely bikes that hand been abandoned on the lawn and left to rust. Murky puddles of water began to form in the potholes in many driveways, while parched flowers guarding the sidewalk looked towards the sky hungrily for the much needed moisture.
The rain was welcome to many people, such as the farmers, and a great villain to others, such as the children who stared miserably out their windows. It was also a reminder to the Scott family of just how quickly things can wash away.
The cemetery was cold, despite the fact that it was August. Cold from the wind? Maybe. Cold from the rain? Perhaps. Daniel Scott believed that it was cold because the shadow of death lurked over the grounds. He had always hated funerals, and cemeteries gave him the creeps. Ever since his mother had died giving birth to his brother, he couldn't stand to see the hundreds of tombstones scattered throughout the valley. When he drove by on his way to work he would often see mourners gathered around a new grave. The image always brought back the day of his mother's funeral. Years later, he was attending the funeral of his only son.
The family and various relatives, friends, and other mourners from the community were packed together under a black tent to shield them and the grave from the rain. Daniel stood beside of his wife, Emma, and placed a comforting hand on her shoulder.
Her honey blonde hair lay in soft tendrils, framing her delicate face. Her blue eyes were filled with a misery and rage that only a mother who had just had her son torn away from her could have. She clutched a tissue in her hand that she used to wipe away the pools of mascara that started to form under her eyes.
The Scott's daughter Emily stood beside of the coffin. She wore a simple black dress with little stockings and shiny new black shoes her mother had purchased for when she started school that fall. Her black hair hung loose in waves down her back and the gray eyes she inherited from Daniel glanced over at them every few minutes. To Daniel she looked like a cherub with her smooth marble skin and cheeks that were rosy with the essence of life. She had long soft eyelashes that tickled Daniel's face when she kissed him goodnight, and he loved the feel of her small warm arms wrapped around his neck when he got in from work each day.
The preacher began to finish up his prayer as the rain began to beat down harder on the tent, making Daniel think of thousands of men storming into battle. Lightning crashed and whipped the earth, while thunder rumbled menacingly.
For a moment, it seemed as if everything in the world became quiet. The thunder and lightning halted, and the preacher looked up from his bible and out into the woods surrounding the cemetery. Suddenly Emily's tiny five year old voice said something that made Daniel's stomach feel like it was being tied in knots.
'But as he left, he promised, "I will come back if it is God's will." Then he set sail from Ephesus.'
Every head turned in disbelief at the little girl's words. She had quoted a passage straight from the bible, even though she had never been to church or been taught much about religion at all.
Daniel looked on at his daughter, absolutely stunned by what she had just said. She looked up at him innocently with a serene look on her face.
'What's wrong, daddy?' she whispered.
'Nothing, sweetheart. Everything's okay.' Daniel choked.
Emma looked at Daniel, and he saw that she was just as astounded as he was.
The preacher started back up with the closing prayer, but the tension was so thick you could almost taste it in the air.
Finally, it was all over. Brian Scott was buried in Wakefield cemetery on August 17, 2008. He was only eighteen years old.
Daniel sat on his son's bed and looked around the room. The blue walls seemed to mock his misery and the posters of Brian's hero Tim Horton with his permanent paper smile were unnerving. Brian's dresser was littered with bottles of deodorant, cologne, and empty Pepsi cans, while the floor was partially hidden by laundry that his mother had begged him to pick up only a week ago, and his hockey gear. Daniel looked beside him on the night stand at the picture of Brian and his girlfriend Missy. The couple was posing for a post graduation photo, with Brian's arms wrapped around Missy's tiny waist and both of them beaming. What a handsome son he had helped bring into the world. A son who had his jet black hair, his mother's striking blue eyes, and a passion for hockey and DiGiorno pizzas. A son who would forever be underground with ignorant people stepping all over him.
It was when Daniel began to choke back sobs that his wife began to scream.
Daniel ran down the steps so fast that he tripped and went toppling down. He tried to grab the railing and break his fall, but instead he felt his face hit the carpet. His head began to throb with the intensity of the worst migraine and he could feel blood gushing from his nose. He wiped blood from his face, tried to steady himself, and limped over to his wife.
Emma flung open the front door and rushed outside by the road where a swarm of people were already gathered around in a circle in the middle of the road.
'EMILY!' she cried, as she searched frantically for a sign of her daughter.
Daniel sprinted to the door and realized something was horribly wrong. His daughter was gone, his wife was in hysterics, and the neighbors were crowded together in the street like a swarm of flies on a dead deer. He ran over and shoved his way through the crowd.
Emily lay face up on the asphalt. Her pink bicycle that she had received for her birthday in June lay in shambles a few feet up the road.
'EMILY? EMILY? It's daddy!' Daniel sobbed.
Emily's eyes seemed to be frozen and glazed over as if she was studying something in the sky intently. Daniel noticed one of her sneakers was gone and her knees and elbows were skinned up badly.
Without blinking, Emily spoke to her parents.
'He's not dead momma. He was right here with me. I was riding my bike and a car came at me really fast.'
'Tell daddy what happened, baby.' Daniel soothed. He reached down and picked up his daughter. Her frail body was cold and clammy from fear, and from the dark spot on her khaki shorts Daniel could see that she had wet her pants.
'The car came at me so fast, daddy, I was so scared I couldn't move. But Brian came and saved me, daddy.'
'Brian is dead, sweetie.' Daniel whispered.
'No, daddy. He was right here in his hockey jersey, you know the one with number sixty six on it. He pushed me out of the way before the car hit me. He told me the driver was drunk just like the man who hit him on his motorcycle.'
Daniel and Emma were at a loss for words. What do you say to a five year old who thinks here dead brother just pushed her out of the way of a drunk driver?
. Emma hugged her child to her chest, and felt Emily's lips graze her cheek lightly as she whispered into her ear.
'He gave me a message for you and daddy. He says they cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed.'
Emily reached up with her bleeding hand and brushed a piece of hair out of her mother's face. Her gray eyes were full of truth. She completely believed her brother had just came from heaven and saved her life.
'He also so said that even though he made a lot of saves playing hockey, this is his most important save of all.'