How to Save a Life

March 7, 2017
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The woman paced back and forth on the hard dirt floor. “Where is that blasted man? He was supposed to be here hours ago!” A low groan filled the small room. The woman rushed to a bed where a boy lay, a cloth covering his forehead. All traces of anger on her face gone when she saw his pained expression. “My poor boy is all sick. This doctor is supposed to be renown, but he has not even showed up yet!” She looked across the room to a man sitting in a rocking chair. “Thomas!”
A man looked up from his book toward his wife, “Yes, dear?”
“Put that stupid thing down and look outside for the doctor!” The man put his weathered book down and stood, his chair creaking in protest. He made his way out the single door, opening it up to the prairie stretching outside and shut it quietly. “Good for nothing man doing nothing while his only son is sick.” The woman mumbled under her breath. “Oh, my sweet child, what have you done to deserve this?”
The child let out a barrage of stressed coughs. “Momma, it hurts.” The child let out another cough.
“Oh baby, I know, but the doctor will be here soon to make you all better.” She leaned in to hug her son when the single door shot open, two men poured into the small room.
“Fire!” Thomas screamed to the woman, “There’s a brush fire, and it’s coming right to our house!”
He then quickly went back outside, and in the doorway, the woman could see the fingers of flame creeping over the hill, black smoke rising ominously close by. The woman looked toward her sickly child, then to the second man standing next to the doorway, “What am I supposed to do to my son? He is much too weak and frail to move!”
The second man stepped forward, a black bag in hand, “Ma’am, I am a doctor. From what I can see about this child, it would be best to leave him inside the house.”
The woman’s eyes opened wide then held a look of complete anger, “Leave him in the house?” she repeated. “The house is in the direct line of the fire! He would be killed!”
The man calmly walked up to the woman, placing a hand on her shoulder, “Ma’am, it would be best for him. Do you see how much he is suffering?”
“Well, I-” The woman stopped herself as she saw her son let out another barrage of coughs. The look of anger washed off her face as she raced to her son’s side, “There has to be another way.” Then her eyes set in determination. “Cut a hole in the wall.”
The doctor looked at her in a strange way, “What?”
“You heard me. Cut a hole in the wall. We are going to drag his bed out of here. We are going to save my son.”
Another man ran into the house, “We do not have much time, everyone needs to get out now!”
“But my son! We have a way to save him!”
The man looked past the woman to the bed that held the sickly child. He shook his head, “Either you leave or stay, but that child is staying there.”
The woman stormed outside the house, trying to find something. She then came back inside dragging an ax. The woman was barely strong enough to lift the ax but brought it down on the door, shattering it to splinters. With each labored swing, the opening from the door grew and grew. By now, the fire was just a few yards away, the heat felt by all. The woman called out to her husband, “Thomas! Stop being a sissy and come save your son!” A man holding a damp soot-covered cloth came through the large opening. “Drag the bed through here. If he does not make it, we are all staying in here through the fire.”
Working together, the two began to push the bed across the small room to the opening. “Lord, pray this will work.” The man mumbled under his breath.
The bed crept closer to the opening, closer to the flames. The post of the bed rammed up against the frame of the hole; the bed frame did not fit. “Goddamnit!” The man swore as he looked to his wife. Usually she would have told him off for swearing, but she had tears in her eyes as she looked to her son. The man looked around for something that would help. His eyes then rested on the ax in the far corner. He knew what he had to do. He ran to get the ax, ran back and began chopping at the bedframe.
“Thomas! You’re going to hit the poor boy!” The woman was frantic. She did not know what else to do. The fire was creeping toward the house.
“Shut up, woman! I know I’m not leaving my boy behind now.” He kept hacking away at the bed frame. “Try again!” He shouted, putting the ax on the bed.
They pushed the bed through the hole. This time, it fit.
“Praise Jesus!” The woman shouted, still dragging the bed away from the house.
By the time the three were at a safe distance, the flames had consumed the front part of the log cabin. They may had got out of this danger safely, but both knew that they had to start all over, with nothing but a sick child and a bed.

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