Date Published: 05/10/2012
Buy a copy: Amazon
Short:Joe turned and ran back into the gully, but he didn’t get very far. A sudden blast of wind shoved him to the ground. Flat on his face, he heard the wind whistling and screeching past his ears. When he lifted his head, he couldn’t see the pregnant girl anymore. All the dust whirled and whipped into a blinding black blizzard. He thought for sure she’d gotten snatched up in the dust storm. The wind lashed at his face. He went to call out to her, but he didn’t know what to say because he didn’t know her name. And even if he did, his voice would’ve gotten lost in the snarling wind. Nevertheless, he had to find her.
Mary surprised Joe by knocking his arms away. She was stronger than she looked. Then she swept her legs off the bed and sprang to her feet. She took two steps and turned to face him as if to prove there was nothing wrong with her. But there was definitely something wrong. She wavered a moment. Her already white face turned ghostly. Her eyelids trembled. She seemed to realize she was becoming faint, and what that meant.
“I’m fine,” she said. “You don’t have to go.”
Joe got ready to catch her in case she fell, but somehow she held herself steady.
“It’s okay,” Joe said. “Just sit down. I will go find some food.”
Joe inched toward her. He was afraid to grab her again because she might try to wrench free once more and really fall. When she coughed, her little shoulders jerked and her round stomach jumped. Her head was drooped low and her hair hung down so he couldn’t see her face at all.
“Come on, lay down,” Joe said.
She didn’t move. Joe stepped toward her, but before he could put his arms around her, she tilted forward and rested the crown of her head against his chest. He slid his arms along the sides of her hard belly and around her waist. Then he shifted her toward the bed again. She moved like a bundle of empty sacks in his arms. He set her gently on the bed before he bent down to lift her feet onto the sheets.
After he sat in the chair, Mary asked him, “What if you don’t come back?”
“That’s not going to happen,” Joe said.
“How do you know?”
“I just know. You have to trust me.”