Writer Author  Cheryl Russell
Christian Article : Other  - Fiction  Yes

Christian Author Writer “ …For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat,…I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me,…I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me. “

Matthew 25:35, 36, 40. NIV

Shannon heard tires scream and smelled hot rubber. She looked to her right just as a silver Mercedes jumped the curb several feet away. Pain knifed through her body as the car’s grill slammed into her leg. Bones snapped and crunched. Her scream pierced the air. Momentum threw her over the hood. Time slowed as she flew through the air; she noticed her leg bent at a bizarre angle; the bone jutting through the skin. As she landed on the concrete sidewalk several yards away, her head struck the corner of a brick planter. Pain and chaos vanished as blackness swallowed her.

Her nose tickled. Her sneeze woke her up. She blinked and squinted in the bright light that surrounded her. After several seconds, her eyes adjusted to the brightness, so Shannon sat up and looked around. Where was she? The place seemed familiar, yet totally foreign.

She was in a valley; halfway up a mountainside in a meadow. Tall jagged peaks surrounded her; snow, like hats, covered the tops. In some of the crannies, glaciers sparkled in the light. A breeze moved the tall grasses; their swishing the only sound she heard. At first. As she continued to look around the valley, she heard a faint roar behind her. She placed her hands on the ground and pivoted around.

The roar came from a waterfall, high above the valley floor. From her angle, she could see the glacier which gave it life. She lost sight of the water in places where it flowed behind boulders. As she traced the water’s path, she noticed other streams flowing toward a flat boulder. They merged and plunged over the edge into a free fall that lasted hundreds of feet. As the water slammed into the rocks below, it erupted into droplets that sparkled like diamonds. A rainbow shimmered in some of the spray.

Where had she seen this valley before? She pulled her gaze away from the waterfall and concentrated on the meadow that surrounded her and the variety of grasses she had noticed earlier. Now stalks of white flowers that filled the meadow caught her attention. She bent one of the flowers towards her and realized it wasn’t a single large white flower. It was made up of many small white flowers that, when opened together, gave the appearance of one large blossom.

“Beargrass!” she exclaimed as the stalk sprang back into place. Her eyes narrowed as she looked at the peaks and valley again. Her fingers drummed against a rock as memories flipped through her mind.

Shannon’s eyes snapped open and her fingers stopped. Montana! Her family hiked in this valley many years ago on vacation. The majestic mountains, the U-shaped, tree filled valley and the waves of beargrass flowing up the mountainsides brought tears to her eyes, then and now.

“It’s still a beautiful place, isn’t it Shannon? We’re here because of the joy it gives you,” said a male voice off to the right. Shannon swiveled her head to see who was talking. She couldn’t see anyone; he was hidden by a swell in the ground. He continued, “Check your leg; it’s whole again. Your pain is gone.”

Shannon jerked her head away from the voice and looked down at her leg. It was straight, whole. No sign of any injury. She closed her eyes and drew in a deep breath. No pain! Shannon opened her eyes just in time to see a hand appear in front of her face, offering to help her stand. As she reached for the hand, her glance fell to the stranger’s bare feet.

Her hand froze in mid air. His feet were scarred. A single large, round, deep red scar was on the top of each foot. Her glance returned to the hand in front of her and traveled down his arm. The long sleeve on his tunic had slipped, revealing his wrist. It bore the same type of scar.

Her eyes grew hot with tears as she looked into His face. Soft brown eyes looked back at her. He smiled and the corners of his eyes crinkled. He moved His nail scarred hand closer.

“Let me help you.”

Shannon’s hand shook as she reached for His. The instant their fingers brushed she was on her feet. Both legs straight and strong.

“I’m in heaven, then?”

He smiled and shook his head. “No Shannon, not just yet. You have done so much work in My name and I am proud to call you friend. But you aren’t done yet.”

“Work? In Your name?” Shannon drew her brows together, and wrinkled her forehead. “When?”

“Let me show you.” He swept a scarred hand through the air and the sky cleared of clouds. All that remained was a deep blue, empty space.

As they watched side by side, the first scene appeared. It was blurred at first, but then the images sharpened. Shannon recognized the building with its peeling paint, broken upstairs windows and steps with chunks of missing concrete. It was the soup kitchen she passed every day on her way to work and the place she had spent her first Thanksgiving after moving to the city. Unable to get enough time off to travel home for the holiday, she volunteered to help at the soup kitchen. When she pushed open the rickety metal door the first time, the smell of unwashed bodies overwhelmed her. She had fought the urge to pull back from the grimy hands; forced herself to look into faces surrounded by greasy hair. But as she glopped spoonfuls of lumpy mashed potatoes onto Styrofoam plates, she began to see individuals. Some with dark angry eyes snatched their plates with a snarl. Others smiled their thanks as they gently took their dinner, careful not to spill a drop. Shannon had stayed past her allotted time. She had found herself moving from table to table, lending an ear to those hungry for more than food.

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat,” He said.

The next scene appeared.

Winter. Trees bent in the strong north wind. Snow scuttled across the street and piled against walls and corners, parked cars and garbage.

Out of the bus window, Shannon saw them-a teenage boy with a younger girl. They looked up at the bus as it roared past; Shannon could see by their faces they were brother and sister. She also saw, in that brief moment when their worlds intersected, the bare hands exposed to the raw wind and their thin torn jackets. As the bus moved on, she turned her head and watched them walk down the sidewalk. Before her bus turned the corner, she saw them enter Carver Elementary. The image of them struggling through the cold, and the knowledge that winter had just begun, haunted her all day. That evening she went to the mall. The next morning had found her in front of the school, struggling as the wind tried to tear two large shopping bags from her hands. A woman standing outside the office noticed her struggle and held open the doors. Once Shannon explained who she was and why she was there, she was escorted to the principal’s office. The principal instructed Shannon to watch for the children and let her know when Shannon spotted them. Shannon’s breath kept fogging the glass; her coat sleeve was wet by the time she saw them walking up the sidewalk.

The principal intercepted them as they entered the door. Shannon watched between the slats of the blinds on the door as the principal pulled out heavy winter coats, mittens, hats and boots from the large bags and gave them to the stunned children. Shannon had missed her bus and was late for work, but the smiles on their faces had drowned out her boss’s lecture.

“I needed clothes and you clothed me,” He said in a hoarse whisper.

In the sky, the final scene appeared.

It was a dimly lit hospital room. A ventilator hissed and a monitor glowed with the beats of a heart that was tired but not yet allowed to quit. It was Mr. Adams, her cantankerous ancient neighbor. When the monitor and ventilator were disconnected, Shannon had spent the night holding his hand so he wouldn’t die alone.

“I was sick and you looked after me.” Shannon heard Him draw in a deep breath and turned to look. He covered His face with both hands and held them there. After a minute or two, He wiped away His tears and turned to Shannon. He took her hands into His own; His still wet with tears.

“Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me,” He said as He looked into her face. Shannon’s lower lip quivered; she bit it to stop the tears. She swallowed hard against the lump in her throat. “This is why you must go back.”

Shannon felt a slight throb begin in her leg.

“Many claim to love and follow Me, but few ever really show it. Through you Shannon, people are able to see Me. You must go back and continue.”

Fiery waves of pain began to wash down Shannon’s leg. Sharp pain shot through her chest with every breath.

“Shannon!” An unfamiliar voice called; it was faint and hard to hear.

“Remember Shannon-how people perceive you is how they perceive Me.” His voice grew fainter; she strained to hear.

“Shannon!” The other voice again. Stronger, more persistent. “Time to wake up Shannon.”

His figure was almost gone, tiny against the vastness of space. She struggled to hear His final words.

“You are my witness, Shannon. Continue to show them Me.”

“Shannon. Open your eyes Shannon.”

Shannon cracked open her eyes. A head was there, but the face was blurred. She blinked several times and her vision cleared.

“Good! You’re finally awake. My name is Lori and I’m your nurse.”


“You’re in the hospital Shannon. You were hit by a car several days ago. It was speeding, jumped the curb and hit you.”

Shannon remembered the screaming tires and the smell of hot rubber. “You’ve got some cracked ribs and your right leg is broken in several places. You also sustained a severe blow to your head.”

“How long ago?”

“The accident happened three days ago.” Lori checked the IV that dripped into Shannon’s arm. “You’re going to need a new bag and I also need to notify Dr. Redman that you are awake.” She patted Shannon’s arm. “I’ll be right back.”

Shannon closed her eyes and nodded. When she opened them again, Lori was gone. A beam of sunlight streaming through the window caught Shannon’s attention. She turned her head to follow the shaft of light.

It illuminated a picture that hung on the wall.

A picture of a man in standing in a meadow, surrounded by waves of beargrass.

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About the Writer Author
Country: United States
Email: cheryl@cherylrussell.net
Website: www.cherylrussell.net
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