Friday, February 1, 2013


Miriam looked over the edge of the Abyss. It was daunting during the day. At night, it was terrifying, the darkness of its depths impenetrable even by the full Moon, and she could only think of it as the Abyss.

The tiny lantern in her hand seemed absurd. Yet somehow she really did feel better leaning over the side like this while her host family searched the ravine for the fallen boy.

He hadn't fallen over the edge at this point, of course -- there would be no hurry to look for him in that case. At sunset, he had called his father on his cell phone to say he had fallen down the ravine at its less-precipitous eastern end and had twisted his ankle. The entire family had descended at the shallow western end, leaving Miriam behind.

They had asked her to wait at the edge of the ravine with the lantern. Miriam was too little to really help with the search, she understood that. She knew that they had given her the lantern just to keep her busy.

 Even so, she stayed beside the edge and waited while the darkness deepened.

Miriam was starting to feel really tired when she finally heard the family returning. The boy was riding his big brother piggyback, both grinning at the good outcome of the search, the pleasure of being rescued and of rescuing.

Miriam didn't go into the boy's room until it was almost bedtime. She patted his shoulder and he smiled.

"I'm sorry I couldn't help to look for you."

"Weren't you up on the edge with the lantern? That's what Mama told me."

"Yes, that was me."

He grabbed her hand, hard.

"Thank you so much. All the while I was down there, I could see the lantern, and I knew you were looking for me."

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