Author's Notes : This is the last chapter! I made this like an episode from the television series so that is why it is not a very long story. I hope you all enjoyed this and stay tuned. I'll be writing another one here soon called On The Run!
Chapter 4 Mending
After school, the children and I stayed a little after finishing their presents
It almost felt like routine. I watched the children leave, then I rushed over to the doctor's cabin.
There was Miss Alice reading her Bible silently and looking up from time to time.
"Christy. How was school today?"
"The children made presents for the doctor, when he wakes up," I then mumbled under my breath, "if he wakes up."
"Now, Christy, the Lord works in mysterious ways. I'm sure he'll wake up soon." She looked at me questionably; I think she was looking at my pouting expression.
I shook that expression from my face, I bet I looked like a spoiled child. "I'm wondering if he'll ever wake up. Everyone is praying so hard, why is God prolonging this?"
Miss Alice was silent, a little taken back by my attitude.
"I mean, isn't He thinking of what taking Doctor MacNeill away will do to the Cove -"
"Or Christy Huddleston? Christy, we have to have faith. That is our belief."
I felt my pouting expression reappear on my face.
"I'm beginning to wonder if your prayers for the doctor are other than for the interests of the doctor. Is it the best of the Lord's, or the best for Christy Huddleston? Quit wallowing in self-pity, Miss Huddleston. Look at thy heart, search it. Find out who your prayers are really for."
She left the room. Her words like a branding iron seared to my chest. I paced about the room, changing the cloth on his forehead at the necessary times. All the while, David's words and Miss Alice's words swarmed inside my head.
After a while of useless pacing, I sat down, pulling the chair close to the bed. I looked down at MacNeill. His color had not returned. The circles under his eyes were deep purple. His skin hot.
I took his hand in mine and held it tight. I brushed it against my cheek, remembering when he had done is occasionally in the past. His hands were coarse and rough, but I liked the way it felt against my cheek. I stroked his hair for a bit, replacing the cloth on his forehead with a new cool one.
It was then that I broke down and realized my true thoughts and feelings. I had been a little selfish. My feelings for Doctor MacNeill were clouding my faith, hope, and trust in God's will and plan.
With tears in my eyes, I sat on the floor next to the bed, holding his hand in mine. "Lord, you have gifted Doctor MacNeill with incredible knowledge. You have given him a love for these people that is hard to match. He has done so much good here, he has helped so many people here in many ways, he has helped me in many ways.
"I want to ask for forgiveness. For my feelings have been selfish and for that I apologize. I do doubt that Your plan is to take him away from us at this point in time. But, if You choose to do so, we will – I will keep my faith, hope, and trust in You. But, if You choose not to take him away, I ask You to stop the poison, take away his fever, and heal him. Thank you, Amen."
I looked down at the doctor's pale face. I brushed his cheek with my fingers lovingly then sat back in my chair, still holding his hand.
The next morning, I felt the sun's warmth and opened my eyes. It was exceptionally bright. I blinked in my surroundings and adjusted my eyes to the brighter room. I looked down at the bed.
My smile was so big.
MacNeill was staring up at me with a half smile. His eyes still looked weary, but he was awake.
"Good morning," was all I could get my voice to say.
He smiled a little bigger, closed his eyes, then opened them in a weary way, "Good morning."
I sat next to the bed on the floor, his hand in mine. I cleared my throat, "You were sick. You were bitten, we don't know what bit you, but it had us in a scare. For a while we thought we'd lose you." I squeezed his hand.
He moved his hand in mine up to my cheek and brushed it once then brought it back down to his side. I was so happy. The pink in his skin had returned and his fever had broken.
Miss Alice and David came into the room. I beamed a big smile at them, "He's awake! He's going to be all right!"
"Praise the Lord," Miss Alice said.
"He sure did answer our prayers. Everyone in the Cove was praying for you, Doc." David smiled.
MacNeill just smiled and closed his eyes and slipped away into a peaceful sleep.
The news of Doctor MacNeill's recovery traveled all over the Cove. The people all over Cutter Gap, Raven Gap, Low Gap and some from El Pano all brought gifts to show their appreciation for the doctor.
That afternoon, when MacNeill had awakened again, all the children came to the cabin and rushed up to his room. I had never seen MacNeill smile so big as the children climbed into the bed and showed them the presents they had made. The picture of Sam Houston's arrow heads, Becky's magnificent drawing of the mountains, Creed Allen's letter – the doctor could never have been any prouder.
That evening, I hung all of the presents the children had made around the doctor's room. "The children worked hard on their presents for you."
"I will treasure every single one."
I then fed him some broth, chicken broth. Surprisingly, the doctor was not his usual stubborn self and obeyed everything I told him. I sat back with the empty bowl with a smile. "I'm so glad you are well. Miss Alice says you are recovering nicely."
"So is Alice the only one with an opinion now?" he said slyly.
I smiled playfully, "The only one that matters." I looked down at the bowl in my lap, "Do you remember what happened? What bit you?"
He shook his head, "No. The only conclusion that I can come to is that some creature got into my boot. The last thing I remember was-" He stopped and lowered his head.
He heaved a sigh, "I was rereading a letter I had received from Margarette's doctors. They say it isn't good."
"I'm sorry to hear that. Is that what was troubling you that afternoon along the riverbank?"
He nodded. "I had just read the letter. Margarette put her own letter in with theirs asking me to come to her. She is scared."
I was silent. I didn't want to pry. "Will you?" I asked quietly.
He thought for a long time. "That is what has been troubling me. I have mixed emotions about going and staying. I don't know what to do."
I didn't know what to say, I didn't know if it was right for me to say anything. I just patted his hand after a moment of silence, then stood with the bowl. "Well, you must get some much deserved rest. Maybe sleeping on it, you will come to a solution in the morning." I smiled lightly then started to leave the room.
I turned back.
He looked like he was about to say something. I didn't know what, but there was something in his eyes that was trying to ask me something. He then blinked that something away and said, "Thank you, for all you've done."
I nodded, "I'm sure you would have done the same for me."
"I would have gone to Hell and back," he said so seriously it made me freeze.
My limbs then quickly melted the icy numbness and I smiled then left the room, "Good night, MacNeill."
The next day, school was stopped by the most wonderful sound heard in the last few days. "Hello! U-nited States Mail!"
The children all rushed out of the chapel and oohed and awed at the wagon load pulled by Mister Pentland's mule.
"David!" I joyfully called as David came rushing up from the mission. "David! It's here!"
"Miss Huddleston, I can't keep bringin' stuff like this over such trails, t'ain't right..." Ben Pentland muttered, but I didn't pay attention.
David and I pulled out all the textbooks and supplies for the mission with sheer excitement. The children helped carry the textbooks and Bibles into the chapel and others helped carry supplies, preserves and such to the mission.
As they finished unloading, I saw Miss Alice watching at a distance away. My mood became serious as I joined her.
"A true blessing, the Lord has given us. Two blessings in fact. That of our needs and the life of Doctor MacNeill."
"Miss Alice, you were right. I my feelings had grown selfish."
"I am sure, thy intentions were sincere in the beginning, but sometimes the heart speaks louder than the soul and can cloud our judgment and our faith. Thee are not entirely to blame, Miss Huddleston. I must confess, for a while, I was beginning to feel the same way." She smiled at me. "Neil has been blessed with the love of two women," she giggled. "I know the Lord has a plan for Neil. And I know that our love for him will bring him to the light."
She took my hands and we both smiled and we looked out as the sun set, painting the most beautiful picture of water colors I had ever seen. I knew that I would never take this place or the people for granted here at Cutter Gap. And I was especially glad that the Lord had brought me to this place and to these wonderful people; the children, their families, David, Miss Alice, and Neil MacNeill.