Time stopped. Annie and Midnight were airborne. Then she saw the face of Morrigu smiling reassuringly, just as in her recent dream vision. Annie reached out to her and Midnight skidded down hill to the creek’s edge. The creek had switched back. 


Midnight moved through the shallow water to a sand bar, turned and tore up a steep incline. Annie squinted through the smoke. In the changing light, again she saw Morrigu, pointing the way. 


The prairie schooner lurched hard, nearly tossing Maggie. Out of the smoke and dust, rose up Annie and Midnight. She waved them on, turned and disappeared back into the unknown. 


Her family did not hesitate, they followed her, turning the oxen down the incline. Maggie prayed for her unborn child. Mother of God! 


Bawling in terror, the oxen plowed down the hill through the brush, their hooves deep in the earth as they descended, fighting the weight of the prairie schooner behind them. Seamus lost his grip and fell. He got back up, then slipped again. The oxen passed him in their descent down the hill. 


Conor got entangled and fell backward in the oxen’s path. The frightened animals stampeded straight down the hill at him. 

He squeezed his eyes shut. Suddenly he felt the hot breath and cold nose of Midnight. He was jerked up by his collar and tossed aside. He looked up. His sister didn’t look like herself, silhouetted against the fiery sky and smoke, regal on her stallion. 


Seamus watched the prairie schooner, carrying his wife and unborn child, plunge down the embankment. “Maggie!” 

He turned, unable to watch it upend and heard it crash at the bottom. Reluctantly, he opened his eyes. But the wagon had not overturned!  


The right wheel was lodged in sand, the spokes jutting out, twisted. While leaning precariously, the wagon still stood. 

Maggie, pinned in the jockey box where their possessions had slid forward against her, could not move 


“Maggie!” He ran to her and patted her cheek to revive her. She moaned. 

“Da?” Conor said.

“No. She’s alive. Get some water, lad!” Conor scrambled.

“The baby,” Maggie moaned, coming around.

Seamus pulled her close and rocked her. “Thank God.” 

“The baby, Seamus. She wants out. Too soon.” She looked around. “The children?”

“Here,” he whispered. He smoothed her hair back. His Maggie, his world, almost taken from him.


He and Conor carefully moved the load and lifted Maggie out to safety. The wagon shifted and groaned down into the sandy bank. 


Fire licked to the edge of the ravine, then stopped. Charred earth was all around them. Heat waves rose for miles. Ash fell like snow. Without Annie’s guidance to the creek, they would have perished.

Copyright 2010 Denis Gessing all rights reservered. olstoryteller.com (303) 550-7829

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