A Shunned Amish Woman (Anthology)(2)

By: Erica Fanning

If nothing else, I must continue going for my little girl. She needs me. In that moment, she decided that no matter what happened, she would always make sure she had enough to help Bella succeed at life.

Within the hour, the shadows started to grow long as the sun began to hit the western sky. Anna didn’t know how much longer she would keep walking, but she realized she didn’t pack anything to really sleep in or under. She heaved a great sigh and used every muscle in her upper body to keep from crying again. She needed to be strong for Bella.

Gott, I know that everything that’s happened to me until this point is my fault, but maybe could You spare our lives? Not for my sake, O Gott, but for the sake of my little daughter. I only want a good life for her, but I don’t care what happens to me. Take my life as You see fit.

Anna hoped that Gott would answer her prayers, but she kept walking anyway. The sun had just hit the western horizon when she saw something that looked like a house up ahead. It was the first building she had seen in a while, but since it was so close to sundown and night critters would be out soon, she determined to head in that direction. The last thing she needed to deal with today was hungry, wild animals.

Anna made it to the house just as Bella began to cry for more sustenance. Anna tried to shush her, but she only seemed to cry louder. The house seemed well-built and well-established. It had been there awhile and she was sure the walls were thin enough that the occupants probably had an idea that someone was there. Anna bounced her daughter trying desperately to get her to quiet down, but the child was inconsolable.

The main door opened and there stood a man, looking at them through the screen door. He had dark hair that was slicked back and facial hair that made Anna think he might have had some history in the Plain community. The look on his face betrayed the kindness in his voice.

“May I help you?”

“I’m so sorry, sir,” Anna began. “I didn’t want to bother you, but well, I’m a long way from home and need a place to stay. Your dwelling is the first one I’ve seen for miles. May I come in? I promise I’ll only stay for the night.”

He looked at her a long moment, but the now-screaming child seemed to cause him to move a little faster than most people would normally. Anna thanked him and hurried into the house to begin removing the layers of belongings and the child. Almost as soon as Anna took Bella out of the the harness, she stopped crying.

“She must have been a little warm too,” Anna said apologetically as the man just watched her work. He didn’t say anything or move to help, he simply watched in silence. The longer he stood there doing nothing, the more uncomfortable she became until finally she blurted, “Is there something wrong that you continue to stand there and do nothing to help?”

He shrugged and replied, “No, you seem to have it pretty well under control. I’m just surprised at how quickly you move. I haven’t seen anyone move that fast unless something was on fire.”

Anna wasn’t sure if that was meant to be a joke, but she didn’t find it very funny. She began feeding Bella and realized she was extremely hungry from all of the walking she had done. By last count, she hadn’t eaten since that morning.

“Okay, I don’t mind if you stare at me all night, but would you mind making me something to eat? I was only able to pack enough food and milk for Bella.”

“Bella is her name?”

Anna discovered that must be why the man had been staring at her all this time: he had let a stranger into his house and she didn’t even have the good sense to introduce herself. Feeling flustered she apologized for the behavior and told the man their names. He dismissed the explanation with a wave of his hand, but finally stepped into the kitchen to begin preparing something.

“That’s totally fine. Sometimes you have to figure out your priorities, and it seems like you have the right ones.” He nodded in the direction of Bella as he pulled what looked like leftovers out of a refrigerator. “My name is Mike Woods, and you can stay here as long as you like. It doesn’t look like you have a lot of clothes with you, if any, but you can have some of my wife’s clothes. She won’t be needing them anymore.”