The christmas angel, p.1
The Christmas Angel
Author Joe C Comb 2nd
Copyright 2010, 2011
Front cover image courtesy of: Evgeni Dinev / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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This book is a work of fiction. Any similarity to any person living or dead or to any other work of fiction by any author is a coincidence and unintended.
To all of our guardian angels everywhere.
The Christmas Angel
Joe and Susan were both asleep in the backseat, Susan in her car seat and Joe leaning against the door so he could stretch out his feet. Mary Ann was listening to Christmas music on the radio. She wanted to see Bill and Diane, but this was Susan’s first Christmas, and last Christmas was still painful. They knew it was her mother’s last Christmas and they didn’t know if she would live long enough to see the birth of their daughter. She hadn’t wanted to go on this trip, but she was beginning to relax.
They hadn’t seen Bill and Diane since they moved eighteen months ago to open their bed and breakfast. Joe insisted they accept Bill and Diane’s Christmas invitation. They should get there just after dark. The sun was setting behind the car; they were only about fifteen minutes away. Huge piles of snow along both sides narrowed the road. The road was covered in crunchy compacted snow, with only a few icy spots.
Mary Ann saw the commercial van coming towards them. Mary Ann got as close to the snow bank as she could. The van moved to its right too. As the van began to pull even with their car, the right side went up on the snow bank and then it careened towards their car. They almost missed each other, almost. Mary Ann was looking at the windshield covered in snow and the car was not running. Susan was crying in the back. Mary Ann leaned back calming her down and turned around again in her seat. Mary Ann had been unconscious but she didn’t know how long. She pushed the air bag aside and tried the wipers, but they just pushed the snow around. She tried to start the car, but it wouldn’t start. She opened her cell phone and saw she was out of the service area. She turned again to look at Joe. That’s when she saw a mailbox where Joe had been resting his head. Joe was slumped forward with snow on his shoulders and down the front of him. Joe was moaning.
“There is a house, I’m going for help,” Mary Ann said. She hoped Joe heard her.
When Joe came too, Mary Ann was gone. He checked Susan, she was fussing a bit but ok. His head felt like it would explode. He began to check himself. From the pain, he knew his right arm was broken. He could feel dried blood on the back of his head but he wasn’t bleeding now. Mary Ann got in the car. It was dark and he didn’t know how long they had been here.
“You have to go for help. My arm is broken and I think I have a concussion.”
“That house is empty. We are only about ten miles from Bill and Diane’s, I’ll go there for help.”
“It’s too cold out there for your coat you’ll need to wear mine.” The pain was incredible as she pulled his coat out from under him.
“Put the floor mats on the back of the seat” Joe said.
Mary Ann didn’t question him, she just did it and then kissed both of them. “I’ll be back with help soon.”
She stepped out of the car. The wind had picked up, it was getting colder and it had started to snow again.
Joe pulled himself upright and leaned against Susan’s car seat. He checked Susan. She was fine and still warm. Then he started organizing what he had in the car. It wasn’t much; an extra baby blanket, Mary Ann’s coat, a newspaper, the baby bag, a few bottles of water (they would freeze), and the floor mats. He could keep Susan warm until help got to them; he just needed to make sure she didn’t start to sweat. Ten miles on a country road at night, Joe didn’t know how long it would be before help got there, but Susan would make it. He put a bottle of water under his shirt. That would keep it from freezing; if the formula ran out he could give Susan water. Then Joe began to sing to Susan.
Mary Ann had crossed over to the other side of the road. The snow piled high offered a little help. The wind was from the northwest and still picking up. The snowfall was getting heavier. No stars, no moon, just white snow everywhere she looked. She didn’t know how far she had walked, but she was getting exhausted and starting to shiver. She just had to keep going.
Joe had set one of the bottles on the floor mats that Mary Ann left on the back of the seat. He would watch it for ice formation. He had gotten a routine down. Sing three songs to Susan, then check under her blanket for cold or sweat and adjust her coverings, then check the water bottle for ice. It wasn’t much of a routine, but it kept him conscious. He knew he had to stay conscious, the longer he was alert the better chance Susan had. The water bottle on the floor mat was starting to ice up and he had been shivering for a while, but Susan was fine. She was sleeping right now.
Mary Ann stumbled and fell in the snow. She was still shivering but not as much. It felt so good to just lay there in the snow; it was beginning to cover her. Then she heard a voice.
“Mary Ann Parker you get up right now.” It sounded like her mother. “I raised you better than this. Your daughter and husband need you right now. You get up on your feet.”
“Mama? Mama, I’m not quitting, I just need to rest a bit.”
“You lay there and you’ll never get up. Who’s going to get help for Joe and Susan? No one else even knows where they are.”
Mary Ann got up on her hands and knees. The shivering had stopped and she was having a problem thinking clearly. “You can do it Mary Ann, just follow my voice. Come on you can do it, get up.”
Mary Ann got up and started to stagger forward, one-step at a time. Each time she would pause, she would hear her mother’s voice and push herself to take another step. As she started moving again, she seemed to feel better, but she sensed she was in danger. She kept pushing herself.
Joe had used the extra blanket and newspaper to keep Suzan warm and now he was putting one of the floor mats across her car seat. The rubberized backing would help to keep in Susan’s body heat. Joe was in real trouble now and he knew it. He had done everything he could and now he was going to have to leave it in God’s hands. He kept trying to sing to Susan, but he was getting confused and couldn’t remember the words. Then Joe finally began to lose consciousness.
Mary Ann fell down again and was having trouble trying to get back up. Finally Mary Ann thought “God help me I just can’t do this alone”. Then she heard a man’s voice.
“God has already answered that prayer.”
Mary Ann looked up and tried to focus her eyes. She thought there was a man standing in front of her. “How did you know what I was thinking?” she asked.
“Take my hand Mary Ann I am here to help you, but you have to stand on your own.”
Mary Ann reached for his hand. Then she felt as if two hands had grabbed her under her arms and lifted her to her feet. She began to stagger forward again. The man talked to Mary Ann, his voice was calm and soothing.
“Come child, your family will be fine as soon as you get to that house,” the man said. Diane looked up and saw a lighted window with a figure standing in it.
Diane had just returned to the window again with another coffee. Bill told her that if Joe and Mary Ann where in trouble they would have called. Diane had been keeping a vigil in the picture window for hours. Then she saw a figure staggering up their drive. The person was wearing a long coat and holding one hand out. She called to Bill and stood watching this figure; she dropped her coffee and ran out to the drive.
“Well, you’ve been out a while. How do you feel?”
Mary Ann looked up and saw a doctor looking at he
“Your daughter is, she is doing very well, your husband did an excellent job keeping her safe. You husband had to be flown to another hospital. Joe is in ICU, but his doctors are not sure how well he will do.
Mary Ann looked up at the doctor “He’ll be fine, an angel told me so”.
Joe & Elizabeth Combs
Joe Combs served in the United States Navy from Jan 25, 1980 to Nov 8, 1988 serving aboard the USS City of Corpus Christ SSN 705 and the USS John Marshall SSN 611. Joe also spent considerable time at sea on the USS Dallas, USS Philadelphia and the USS Boston. He now lives in Columbus, Ohio near his daughter. Joe has worked at numerous jobs from field hand to field service engineer.
Elizabeth Combs attends first grade and dance classes. She lives in Columbus, Ohio.
Joe is also the author of:
Titanic, A Search for Answers
The Art Teacher
One Last Thought
One Last Thought: behind the scenes
I Am A Submariner
I Am A Southerner
A Grandfather’s legacy
How To Connect With Me.
My web site is: www.joeccombs2nd.wordpress.com
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