Summary: Ben sits and waits as one of his sons lies in bed injured… the details within the room… the depths… maybe a revelation or two. (Inspired by A Chaps & Spurs Challenge; write a story based on the image.)
Rating: K (675 words)
The final page contains reviews/comments from the old BonanzaBrand Library.
An Offering of Comfort
Outside the massive home, ghostly, white clouds offered a stark contrast to the pitch black sky as the full moon played a game of hide and seek with the stars of the night. Pine trees that gave the land its name stretched to the heavens; the fallen needles offering a bed to the creatures that made their home out on the land. The quietude outside the wooden walls mirrored the stillness within.
Ben sat unwearyingly waiting; unwilling to give up the bedside vigil until he had seen this crisis through to its inevitable conclusion. The flame from a nearby lamp flickered, offering a faint illumination that painted a warm glow throughout the room. The inside of the coffee cup on the table beside his chair was stained with varying rings, each marking the passage of time. The beverage constantly refreshed as the ever faithful Hop Sing continued to quietly slip into the room, and just as silently leave. Never once did his employer acknowledge his attention to duty, but the man knew his efforts were appreciated, none the less.
The character of the room was an extension of its occupant’s personality; as different as the room next door, or the one down the hall, or the one beyond. There was not one man within these walls who could succeed in taming the land that became the Ponderosa. One man could not possess the required strength to prosper, but yet, each man’s strength complimented another’s weakness; and so as a family they had thrived.
Behind the man, the curtain billowed inward as a warm, summer wind sought entry into the room. The breeze glanced upon his cheek; soft… fleeting… as if caressed by a loved one fearful to intrude.
Ben waited; his thoughts and dreams focused on what could have been, what should have been; daring to stray to that which had yet to come. But each time he began to doubt, his left hand subconsciously strayed from the arm of the chair to the well-worn Bible lying on the table. As his thoughts swirled and ebbed around the events that no one could have foreseen, that little movement brought comfort to a soul tormented in angst.
Once pristine, the Bible revealed the depth of the man’s faith. As it lay under his hand, the cover no longer possessed its original deeply-engrained, rich mahogany color. The worn edges of its pages stood testament to years of reading, searching, instructing. Events, blessings and tragedies, were duly noted by a delicate calligraphy within.
How many times as the hours passed had his hand rested on the Bible seeking solace, inspiration, justification, humility… Matthew, Chapter 5, Verse 5, “The meek shall inherit the earth.”
‘Lord, forgive my human frailty… I have tried to live according to your words, your Commandments… It is difficult to be gentle in a land as rough and as unforgiving as the land I call home. I’ve tried to live a moral life, to protect the beauty of your land, your creatures, and have tried to raise my sons to see the good in all men. Man is your creation; you created us in your image… I ask, where did I go wrong? Where did I fail?’
The doctor had come and gone, offering words of encouragement as well as words of regret; wishing medical science was further afield than the sentiment that they were barely out of the dark ages. His parting words reflected the truth, “It’s now between your son and God.”
And so he waited, watched, prayed…
“Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.”
The figure under the covers gave a barely audible inhalation, followed by, “Pa?”
Story Tags: Angst, Ben Cartwright
Other Stories by this Author
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- A Misconstrued Statement (by BluewindFarm)
- One Special Night (by BluewindFarm)
- Counting Stars (by BluewindFarm)
- Setting the Course (by BluewindFarm)