A Novel Experience in Zebulon, Georgia, from 5:00-8:00. Hope you can make it!
“Sit back now, Dale. Try to relax.” She pulls up to the highway and turns towards Barkerville. Dale disappears into the darkness. The blacktop is hard to see with the dim headlights, but the rain begins to slow. Lara can’t suppress another smile. By the time she gets to Goodlettsville, the rain has slowed to a tiny drizzle. She and her two precious sons are safe. She leans forward and, looking in the mirror, tries to see the boys in the back, but it is too dark, so she focuses on the road and lets herself think about that first meeting with Frank at college again. Lara begins to hum, “Rain, rain, go away…”
“Stop it,” Dale whispers. Lara glances over at him. Who is he speaking to, exactly? “Stop it right now,” he says a little louder. She looks out of the corner of her eye. “Stop raining.” He is calm, assured, as he should be. Lara smiles and takes a hand off the wheel and pats his arm as she drives towards the end of the road. Her heart begins to return to normal.
“Make it stop raining, Honey.” She says it so matter-of-fact, it almost sounds like a normal request.
“How?” Dale shrugs at her, looks back into the seat at Louis who has fallen quiet again, then back at her.
“Just tell it to stop raining, Dale.” Lara turns around and turns the key. The engine cranks a few moments, then catches. She backs out of the bush, the car sliding just a little as she brakes in the wet rock, then pulls back into the muddy lane. “Go ahead, Dale. Tell it to stop.” She feels calmer now, and she hears it in her own voice. The voices are quiet again. She wonders what they were going to tell her. She can feel the vibration of her rapid heartbeat.
“Mo-ther!” Dale stretches out the word, accusing her, as if she has done something wrong. Louis whimpers somewhere in the darkness of the back seat.
“Hush up, now, Dale, honey. It’s all okay. You and your Father have saved us.” She tries to sound soothing, but her voice sounds quaky even to herself. “Oh, Honey. This rain is so hard to drive in.” She turns and looks at Dale, her skinny, crew-cut oldest son. Her vision is blurred with tears. He will change everything, the entire cosmos, and she, well, she is something special too, isn’t she? “Make it stop raining, Dale,” she orders her son. Dale furrows up his eyebrows and stares at her.
The wagon tilts upwards along the edge of the gravel and Lara feels a stab of relief. She presses harder again on the gas pedal, and the wheels catch. She has too much gas on now and the wagon bucks as it sways out of the creek onto gravel, jumping out of the tiny lane and into a brush pile along the side of the road. The engine dies, but Lara doesn’t care. They have made it across. She suppresses her desire to cry in relief.
“Let up, Mother. Take your foot off the gas! Father says when you’re spinning, you let up!” He is yelling now too. Dale’s Heavenly
father is telling her what she needs to know. Divine advice will save them all. She feels a wave of relief. This is why she is being
tested, so God Himself can reveal His wondrous ways. Lara removes her foot from the pedal, then presses again, but part of
the way this time, and she feels the rear end move with her, pushing against the current. She steers to the right, towards
where the road should be, and prays. “Oh, dear God, He’s your son, remember. I’m doing this for you, Lord.” She says it low, to herself,
to the voices.
Her heart pounds. Her breath is short and shallow. She keeps a ferocious grip on the wheel and presses the gas all the way down. The tires spin with a slosh and she sees that she is looking up stream. The voices are beginning to speak, but now isn’t the right time. She can’t listen now. She has to get them across the creek.
“Mo-ther!” Dale yells.
“Mommy?” Louis is crying full steam now.
“Shut up and sit down, Dale!” Lara screams.
“Mother? What are you doin’?” Dale’s voice is high pitched. Louis is crying in a whimper.
“Hush, Dale!” She glances at him then back at the windshield and presses down harder on the gas, but the tires aren’t catching. The back end of the car begins to slide more sideways the farther she goes into the creek. The front is still on the road, but she is at an awkward angle to drive up the bank at the other side. Still, she accelerates, feeling the front end push up on the upside of the ford. If she can get the rear wheels onto the gravel, they will be safe.