Abe Yoder sat his horse that stood there with head raised, ears straight up and every muscle in it’s body tense. There was no more movement for the moment and so Abe made the decision to swing down and tie the horse to a nearby rock then move slowly towards the carriage to check things out. The horse that lay dead in the traces now stank something terrible and so Abe covered his nose fighting the gag reflex in the back of his throat. His eye suddenly caught a quick movement near the front wheel of the carriage but it was gone quickly in a flash of pink. Abe shook his head thinking that was weird so pulling his flat crowned Amish hat forward on his head he continued towards the back wheels and was almost there when his heart gave a start.
“Boo”, shouted the little girl as she jumped from behind the carriage.
She looked to be about three years old with shoulder length curly blonde hair and dirty dirt streaked cheeks with tears that had been as she had been crying. Her eyes looked disoriented as she had not eaten properly in a couple of days and her pink dress was dirty. There was a large bag of chips sitting nearby that she had probably been eating from but no other person at least living seemed to be nearby. Abe took her in his big arms and walked over to where five charred bodies lay over a large crack in the ground
“Mommy and Daddy”, said the little girl pointing towards two of the adult sized corpses.
Abe’s heart was touched by compassion as he quickly undid the traces from the dead horse and brought his own over hitching it up quickly. There was a number of daylight hours left to travel and so he fed a nice meal to the little girl from his supplies and she ate hungrily almost gaging and he had to urge her to take her time. They then set off in the buggy at a good pace and the little girl snuggled under the blanket as Abe put his arm around her.
” What is your name”, he asked?
” Emily”, she answered slowly and then settled down and went into a deep exhausted sleep.
Far off in the distance a coyote yapped and wild dogs barked and howled. A new day on this earth was upon them and they rode into an uncertain future. Abe prayed silently for this little life beside him, for himself and for traveling mercies. Amen.