The Winter Storm

The sleet had started some time during the night,
continued all the morning, before becoming snow.
The South rarely receives a display of winter’s might.
A driving advisory is given – stay home, don’t go!

A single mother, she had left Minnesota to escape
its brutal winters. New in town, she knows no one.
Her toddler daughter wakes up feverish, in bad shape,
after her late afternoon nap. Nothing else can be done –

she must take the sick child to the emergency room,
and her six-year-old son would simply have to come along.
The drive into town is slow-going. The car’s heater soon
has heated the car inside. “I’m hot! Why is it taking so long?”

her son whines. “Take off your heavy coat. Unbuckle your
sister and remove her coat, too. This will make you comfortable.”
Her son doing this, the SUV hits thick ice. Suddenly, no more
does she have control! The vehicle spins off the road, tumbles

down the shoulder, sliding, rolling over three times, coming to rest
on its side. The deserted road is now totally silent and so dark.
Several long minutes pass…a pick-up truck comes. “Hey, let’s
check it out.” …six teenagers out driving in the snow on a lark.

“This lady is dead! Call 911.” Soon after, two policemen arrive,
confirm the mother has been killed. The back of the SUV is empty.
“Looks like she was alone. It’s sure a shame that she did not survive.”
One officer starts the report; the other begins putting out safety

flares. Backtracking to where the vehicle left the road, he discovers
a coat half-hidden by new-fallen snow. “We’ve got a coat here.
Looks like it’d fit a two-year-old.” A little later, “Here’s another.”
Then he finds the son – semi-conscious but alive. “Nothing to fear

now, son. We’ll take care of you.” The boy rouses enough to ask
“Where’s my mother? Is my sister okay?” Immediately, the search
is on. “We’ve had a little girl out here without a coat for the past
half hour in this five degrees weather. According to latest research,

she should freeze to death within two hours. We must find her fast!”
The police and the teenagers spread out in a thin line and head
across the open field, leading to woods. In the dark they could pass
her by if they go too fast, but go too slow and they’ll find her dead.

Time seems speeded up, as the minutes race by. These eight
people grow more desperate as the snow continues to fall.
Each realizes before long they will be discovering her too late.
More volunteers arrive to search, in answer to the officers’ call.

All hope appears to fade when their hunt still hasn’t found
her after three hours. “She’s probably in hiding, if I’m right.”
That’s when they hear it – a strange, an eerie, haunting sound,
riding the night wind. A howl…then standing there in the light

of a flashlight beam, is a large canine, with coat of solid white
and eyes like balls of fire gleaming in the light. “Look at him!
Is that a wolf? Must be someone’s German Shepard, right?”
The animal turns and walks away, looks back, waiting for them.

“He wants us to follow. Okay, let’s see where he wants us to go."
The canine takes them deeper into the woods, then stands its ground.
As they approach near, it turns and lopes away, looking back no
more. There, in a depression in the snow, the little girl is found –
peacefully sleeping, warm from having lain cuddled with the hound.

Friendly Musings

Harry Edward Gilleland      12.30.02    printer friendly