Waiting for Morning

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Book: Waiting for Morning by Karen Kingsbury Read Free Book Online
Authors: Karen Kingsbury
this precious daughter, that her father and sister were dead? She had no idea.
    God … she started, but then cut the prayer short. No, shewould not ask. She didn’t want to think about God until she had time to examine her feelings. Besides, she didn’t know what power her prayers would have. They hadn’t kept her family safe.
    Jenny moaned and turned toward Hannah. Her eyes opened and she squinted against the sunshine streaming through the hospital window.
    “Mom?”
    Hannah figured her daughter could make out her face, but Jenny didn’t sound sure of herself.
    She leaned over the girl’s prone body, hugged her, then pulled away slightly and caressed Jenny’s forehead with a single finger. There was nothing she could do about the heavy sadness in her voice. “Hi, sweetheart, how do you feel?”
    Jenny glanced around the room. “Where … am I?”
    Hannah continued to run her fingers gently over Jenny’s hair. “You’re at the hospital. There was an accident, honey.”
    Jenny moved her left hand over the cast on her arm. She thought a moment and her eyes grew wide. “The white truck—”
    Hannah said nothing.
    Jenny seemed to struggle with her memory, then she jolted into a semi-sitting position. Suddenly she looked wide-awake and frightened. “Mom, he was coming right at us … right where Dad and Alicia were sitting!”
    Tears filled Hannah’s eyes and she pulled Jenny close once more. “I’m so sorry, baby, so sorry you had to see that.”
    “I wanted to scream, Mom. There wasn’t time … I can’t … can’t remember anything else.”
    Hannah started to cry and the sound broke the silence. Jenny looked at her, alarm sweeping her young face.
    “Mom, what is it? Where are Dad and Alicia?”
    Hannah drew back just enough to see her daughter’s face. She held her shoulders firmly and looked deep into her eyes. “Honey, the accident was very serious. Alicia and Daddy … theydidn’t make it, honey. They’re gone.”
    Jenny’s eyes filled with horror, and she searched her mother’s face. “They’re dead? Both of them?” She sounded on the verge of hysterics. “Mom? Are you serious?”
    Hannah nodded and pulled Jenny close one more time. “No!” Jenny moaned softly, burying her face in her mother’s shoulder. “No, not both of them.”
    She did not scream and carry on the way Hannah had done. Rather she sobbed convulsively, clinging to her mother the way a drowning swimmer clings to a life preserver. Hannah could feel her daughter’s pain, and she was heartbroken, knowing there was nothing she could do to take it away.
    Finally, when Jenny’s weeping slowed, she pulled back and studied her mother. Hannah wondered if the girl was going to faint. “Mom,” she whispered, her voice stricken. “It’s all my fault.”
    Hannah frowned. “No, dear, of course not. The driver of the other truck ran a red light. Daddy never saw him coming.”
    Jenny shook her head, her cheeks red and tear stained. “No, not that part. Earlier. We were getting out of the fishing boat, heading back for camp … Alicia nearly stepped on a rattlesnake. She didn’t see it but I did. I yelled at her and she stopped.… One more step, Mom, and she would have been bitten.”
    Hannah hesitated. “Sweetheart, I don’t understand. You helped your sister by saying something about the snake. That doesn’t make the accident your fault.”
    Jenny drew a deep, shuddering breath. “You don’t understand, Mom. If I hadn’t said something, Alicia would have been bitten. Dad could have helped her; she would have been okay eventually. But we would have gotten a later start. Maybe an hour later.… And we wouldn’t have been going through the intersection when that other driver was running the red light. Don’t you see, Mom? It’s all my fault.”
    Hannah began to cry softly. “Oh, honey, it’s not your fault.You have to believe that. The only one at fault is the other driver.” Even as she said the words,

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