A Line in the Sand

Submitted by Kyleigh on Tue, 10/13/2009 - 15:47

So... I wasn't going to post this until Saturday, but we're lookin' at a really busy next 4 days, so I'm posting it now. :) I was forcing myself to come up with a story with 2 of my friends from camp in it, and it came whilst canoeing in the Rocky Mountains with my family (canoeing in the rain, hence the rain storm on the raft!).
It took a lot of research with regard to the Alamo and the Wichita Indians.

 {Edit, October 29, 2010. We visited the Alamo yesterday, and I saw some things I needed to fix in this after that. What you read now is the edited version. Not much is changed except for historical accuracy - from a better understanding of what was actually going on with the battle and sides of the war, the actual events of the Alamo, and maybe a closer understanding of what it would have been like from being inside of the Alamo. Even still, I know this story doesn't come anywhere near close to the intensity of emotion experienced by those at the Alamo}


A line in the sand.


            I now want every man who is determined to stay here and die with me to come across this line,” Colonel William Barett Travis said, his sword coming to a stop in the dust. I gripped my cousin’s arm more tightly, eyes gazing up at him, then across to his uncle.

            “What’s it mean, Kevin?” I asked.

            “Hush, Rebekkah, I’ll explain later.”

            I fidgeted. Uncle William stepped across the line. “Kevin…” I begged.

            Kevin looked down at me through his thick eyeglasses and put a finger to his lips. I felt like stamping my foot. Kevin wasn’t usually like this.

            More men moved forward. From my side, a quiet voice spoke. “What’s going on? Explain it to me, Rebekkah.”

            “Kevin won’t explain, Catherine.” I sighed. “But there’s a line in the sand, and lots of men crossing over it.”

            “I don’t know.”

            “Hush, he’s talking again.” Kevin said, elbowing me.

            “… and so we will fight, to protect our wives, children, sisters, mothers – even if it leads to death.”

            A chill ran down my spine. Kevin must have felt it, because he put his hand on top of mine. He looked down at me again and the look in his eyes mirrored mine. That’s what it’s about – death.

            And death would come. Even now, it was close for some.

            “Go now – we must prepare to defend the Alamo.”

            Uncle William rejoined his wife, my Aunt Sara, Kevin, Catherine, and I. Catherine grabbed my elbow. She was blind, and had been since she got sick at six years of age. Seven years later, it hadn’t gotten any better. That’s why I was in Texas – Uncle William and Aunt Sara wanted to move back up North, but wanted my help moving. War broke out almost immediately after I arrived in Texas. I didn’t understand it all, but Uncle William always explained what was going on to his family whenever news came. We settled Texas when the Mexicans opened it up for settlers. We were happy and well-treated, living peacefully under the constitution. The trouble started in 1834, when the elected Santa Anna abolished the constitution and began overly taxing us and mistreating us. Soon fighting began, when Santa Anna sent his brother-in-law, the head of an army, to take the cannon given to settlers at Gonzales for protection. They said “come and take it.” That was the start of the war.

            Now it was March of 1835. We had been trapped inside the Alamo since February 23rd. The Spanish were all around us. They fired howitzers often, trying to lower our morale and keep us up all night so that we would weaken. In the previous week and a half we had sent out many pleas for help to the United States and to the people of Texas. None had come. Just today, March 5, our commander William Barrett Travis, had received word that no help was coming.

            Thus the line in the sand. The Spanish were flying the red flag of no quarter. Travis knew that with our weak forces, all the men would die. I wondered if we women and children would be spared.

            But really the point of no return had happened much earlier than when Travis drew the line.


            We heard it all and mapped it out from our homestead near San Antonio. But when the fighting came closer to home, Uncle William had us come to the Alamo with fighting men and a few other civilians. The walls of the old mission were thirty-two inches thick in most places. I felt safe, but wondered if it was a false security when I heard about the advances of the Spanish. The walls had already been tested once – on February 28th, the Spanish had fired. I huddled in a small room with other women and children as Kevin and Uncle William defended the walls of the Alamo. I wanted to cling to Aunt Sara, but younger and weaker folk needed comfort, and I held a young child in my arms. The next day there was an informal truce and some civilians were allowed to stay. Uncle William still held out hope that help would come in response to Travis’s pleas and so we stayed.

As the times grew rougher, I was constantly thankful for Kevin – his protection, companionship, and even his teasing. At seventeen, he was two years older than I – and a whole head taller. Before they moved to Texas, we spent every day together, and he was like the older brother I’d never had. But now I wondered how much longer I’d have him.

They divided up jobs among the people to prepare for the impending battle. 

“Here, Catherine.” I handed her a bedroll. Then I shouldered a large pack and picked up another bedroll. Kevin walked beside us, his arms full.

            “So now can you explain to us what was going on, Kevin?” I pleaded.

            “I don’t want to.”

            “But we’re so confused!” Catherine said.

            “I don’t want to talk about it.”

            “Why not?” I demanded.

            “It hurts to think about it.”

            “What, about the death part?” I took two steps to match Kevin’s long ones, and Cat took three to match mine. “The Alamo’s strong. We’re strong.” I persisted, but without assurance.

            Kevin lowered his voice so that Cat wouldn’t hear. “Not as strong as they are. He was asking us to die, Rebekkah. Die. A line in the sand, no turning back. That’s what it means.”

            “Is that why you didn’t…”

            “No. As much as it hurts to think about dying, I would for my family. Dad wants me to stay with you and Cat.”

            “And Aunt Sara?”

            “She’s staying to help with the wounded.”

            “Staying? So where are we going? How will we get out and through the lines?”

            Cat tugged my sleeve. “What was going on?”

            I chewed on my lip, and then glanced up at Kevin for help.

            “He was asking the men to make a tough decision.” Kevin said decidedly. Catherine shrugged, seemingly satisfied.

            I repeated my previous question.

            “Out. At least for now. There’s forest not too far from here.”

            “We’re hiding?”

            Kevin’s blue eyes were steady as he replied, but I knew he wasn’t happy with his father’s decision. “You and I are both under my father’s authority, like it or not. He’s hoping we’ll survive and make it up to your family.”

            We were both quiet. “I hope it doesn’t come to that.”

            “He told me to wait until after the battle.”

            We were entering the Alamo now, and both grew quiet. How many would meet their deaths here? How soon? Kevin looked down at me again, and my eyes met his. Without saying anything, I knew he was as troubled as I was.

            “Rock of Ages,” I whispered, reminding him of our favorite hymn.

            “Let me hide myself in Thee,” he continued. Then he smiled, and we all began singing. Soon I dropped out, content just to listen to everyone else sing.

            We stopped at the far end of the church. Everyone was putting their things in piles until they were told where to put them. Women were unpacking necessities, and men were cleaning their weapons while their young boys looked on longingly.

            “Here will be just fine,” Uncle William dropped what he was carrying and we all did the same. “Take what you need.”

            Kevin clenched his jaw, but nodded. I knelt down next to him as he rummaged through our belongings.

            “You can’t be angry at your pa, Kevin, not now.”

            “I’m not angry at him.” He looked at me again, and I noticed his already fair skin was even paler than usual. “I’m scared to death, Bekkah, and trying not to cry for what’s coming.”

            “Make sure he knows that.” I paused. “And Kevin… I’m scared too.”

            “I keep telling myself ‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

            “This is kind of the opposite of Jericho, isn’t it? Those who fear God are inside and those who don’t are without. “

            “Only let us pray that the walls of the Alamo do not crumble as did the walls of Jericho.”


            “Go see if my mama needs any help. I need to talk to my pa.”
            I stood and left, brushing dirt off my dress. My eyes wandered down to the ground as I walked and I noticed that my boots were three shades of brown lighter because of the dust. I said hello to Cat, who was sitting on a bedroll, just listening, and then trudged on to find Aunt Sara.

            She and other women were turning one room into a hospital – there were bedrolls on the floor – people had willingly given them up as no one expected to sleep in the coming night – buckets of water were nearby, blankets, anything that could be used as a bandage…

            “What can I do, Aunt Sara?”

            “Nothing that I see… but come keep me company, Rebekkah.”

            I sat down next to her where she was organizing what few medical supplies people had. I wanted to stop thinking about it, but couldn’t so asked aunt my question.

            “What will happen?”

            Aunt Sara laughed. “Do I look like God, that I should know the future?” She stacked some small boxes. “We must trust in the Lord, and place our hope in Him – not our men or their weapons. But you and Catherine will be safe with Kevin. Tell your mama that I love her.”

            “Surely you won’t die! They wouldn’t be that brutal, would they?”

            “I do not know what they will do. They have not the value of life that we have.”

            “Why must we do this, Aunt Sara?”

            “I don’t rightly know… I don’t know that we’ve done right in the days leading up to this. Maybe we should have left at the beginning of the war. But now that we’ve gotten here to the Alamo, the men must make a stand – bravely – to take an account for their previous actions, and to protect us. This is the only place – and the safest place – for us all.”   

            “And so we die. I want to stay here, Aunt Sara.”

            “No. Your uncle has said that you children must go. You have a chance at life. Take it and rejoin your family. Love, laugh, grow… don’t throw it away.”

            I lowered my eyes and kept my gaze on my hands. “Yes, Aunt Sara.”

            “Be strong in the Lord, Rebekkah. You have no reason to fear. The Lord fights for us. Be brave.”

            A tear rolled down my cheek.

            “For all of us, Rebekkah – your uncle and I, to know that you have a chance to live, Kevin, to have someone behind him, Catherine, for a friend, and so she does not fear. Though it may be that she understands the ways of the Lord more than we do, for she sees things in a different way.

            “What do you mean, Aunt Sara?”     

            “Because she cannot see, she focuses on other things, thinks about other things. You ask her what she’s thankful for and it’s not something tangible like a home or family, but something like God’s sense of humor. Listen to her – she has much wisdom.”        

            “So do you and Uncle William. I am so thankful to have been with you and known you. Aunt Sara, I don’t want you…” My voice cracked. Aunt Sara held me close, and the tears fell freely. It felt good to cry, and I think I needed it.

            “Hush now,” Aunt Sara said after a few minutes. “We are in God’s hands.”


            In God’s hands, in God’s hands, in God’s hands… I kept repeating those words in my mind as we walked. Cat clutched my elbow, and our few belongings were strapped tightly to our backs. The weight of it all provided a sense of security and being wrapped up or covered in something – but we were – in God’s love and protection. Kevin’s straw-colored hair reflected the setting sun, and he tried to keep our spirits up by sharing with us things he’d read about trees in books. Catherine and I listened. I found the facts rather interesting, but the detail with which Kevin talked about them bored me. I would whisper into Cat’s ear, and she would laugh, then Kevin would sigh, but keep talking.

            Somehow we got out safely. Somehow God blinded the eyes of the Spanish and we passed through their lines safely. From time to time a howitzer was fired. Each time I jumped and clung to Kevin.

            It was nearly four miles to the forest. We finally saw the trees that Kevin enjoyed talking about so much. I wondered how much shelter they could provide. I turned and looked back – I could no longer see the Alamo in the distance.

            “Do you think we’ll hear it?” I asked.

            “Hear what?” 


            Kevin shrugged. “I’d rather not think about that.”

            “Me neither.”

            “Then let’s not.” We walked on in silence for a few more minutes, entering a blanket of trees. The sun peeped through the leaves where it could, leaving odd shadows on the forest floor. Kevin set his pack down on the ground in a small clearing.

            “You and Cat stay here. I’ll go look for firewood.” He helped Cat take her pack off, then left. I looked through our bags. We had some food and water, a blanket, their family Bible, and a change of clothes. I pulled out some food for dinner and spread out the blanket. Then I helped Catherine sit down and sat down next to her.


            Dawn came too quickly. During the night, Catherine fell asleep and slept soundly, but Kevin and I spent a restless night lying awake under the stars. I wondered what everyone was doing back at the Alamo. Were they lying awake like us? Were they singing and dancing to get their minds off what lay ahead? Did they force themselves to sleep because they knew they’d need their rest? I tossed and turned thinking about it. Kevin lay on his side, eyes wide open and staring at the remains of the fire. In the moonlight, I could just barely see him, but the dim light was reflected in the tears that rolled down his cheeks. I envied Cat’s ability to fall asleep - and how we protected her from fear. I wished I could have the same innocence.

            When the first gleam of sunlight appeared through the trees, I sat up.

            “I wonder if they survived the night,” I whispered.

            “Who’s they?” Kevin now sat up, and picking up a stick poked at the fire. 


            “Mmm.” Kevin said absentmindedly.

            “I’m glad we can’t hear anything.” I stared in the direction of the Alamo. The trees blocked any hope of seeing it, but then I wondered if I really wanted to see it. “What do you think is happening?”

            “They’re firing some more warning shots, maybe. Maybe they’ll try to make another truce.”

            “After what happened last time? Why didn’t we just fight then?”

            “That’s not exactly how war works.”

            “Oh. Would things be different if Travis hadn’t hotheadedly fired that cannon?”

            “No, I don’t think so. They were saying no quarter. Either we win or we all die.”

            “What’s Santa Anna like?” I wondered.

Kevin stood and started acting out an aristocratic soldier. I giggled. Kevin twirled a fake mustache.

            “So how will it start?”

            He shrugged. “We shoot some, I guess.”


            “They shoot back.”

            We grew serious again.

            “It felt good to laugh.”

            “Sure did. I hope we laugh again soon.”


            We didn’t. That whole day we spent fretting, pacing, anxiously watching the edge of the forest, straining our ears to hear anything. Catherine chattered away, oblivious to the danger her parents and even we were in.

            “If they finish at the Alamo, they may skirt out to find stragglers,” I had overheard Uncle William telling Kevin before we left. “Be on your guard.”

            “Tell us more about trees, Kevin,” Cat was saying.

            “Hmmm... I don’t know if I can remember anything else.”

            “Then describe the trees to me. These ones here.”

            “Not much to say about them... they’re big, and have lots of leaves.”

            “Can you see the sky through them?”

            “In places. There’s patches of blue within the green. It’s almost like it’s a green sky with blue clouds.”

            Cat laughed. I wished I could join her, but didn’t have the heart to - not while I wondered if my aunt and uncle still lived.

            “Are all of the trees the same kind?”

            “No, there are a couple different kinds. Rebekkah, see if you can find different leaves, so Cat can feel them.”

            I set off, hunting for leaves. I found two different kinds easily, and soon found a third. “I have three kinds,” I yelled to Kevin.

            “Come on back, then!”

            I ran and placed the leaves in Cat’s hands. She ran her fingers over them, first feeling the long oak leaves, then the wider maple, and finally the heart-shaped Aspen leaves. She held up the one I’d brought from the aspen and smiled. “I like these ones best,” she said.

            “So do I.” I looked up at the trees towering above us. “They’re from the Aspens. I love aspens.”

            Kevin nodded, but it was an absentminded nod. Somehow we entertained ourselves until nightfall, and then we cooked dinner over the open fire and Cat went to bed.

            “Come with me, Bekkah,” Kevin said. I followed him to the edge of our clearing. “I have to go see what’s going on,” He said. “You and Cat stay here, and keep quiet. If I’m not back by morning...” He shook his head. “I don’t know. You’re smart, you’ll figure something out.”

            “No.” I crossed my arms over my chest. “You can’t go and leave Cat like that. Your dad told you to protect us. I’ll go.”

            “I can’t let you do that. It’s too dangerous; you’ll both be safer here.”

            I sighed.

            “And there’s less loss if I die.” He said quietly. “Fewer people to miss me, if ma and pa are gone.”

            I couldn’t meet his gaze. “Then go,” I said.

            He nodded, and then took off running.

            “Oh Jesus, keep him safe!” I prayed. I rested against a tree and watched the darkness swallow him up. Then I moved closer to the fire. The March air was cold, and I wished we had another blanket - but no, Cat needed it more than I did.

            All alone in the darkness, my thoughts quickly turned to my Savior. I’d gotten into a habit of talking to God regularly and like a good friend. I wished there was enough light by the fire that I could read the Bible, but there wasn’t, so I had to be content praying and quoting what scripture I had memorized. 

            It felt so good to rest on the promises that God had made me – us, all of us, His children. There in the silence of the forest, I was reminded of God’s perfect plan in all of this. And that whatever His plan was, it was just what we needed and He would bring us safely home in the end. Oh, how I longed for home at that moment. Not my earthly home as many would think, but my heavenly home – the place where all battles would be ended, we would be reunited – and best of all – sit in God’s presence forever!

            “Return quickly, God!”

            I looked at Cat sleeping by the fire. She was so peaceful. Even though she was only two years younger than I was, I always thought of her as both younger and older. Older, because as Aunt Sara had said, she had much wisdom. But because of her innocent and simple ways, she always seemed young. I wished I could be more like her.

            I lay down next to Cat and hoped that I could fall asleep but wake up before Cat did. I slept well that night, resting on the promises of God.

            The sun woke me up as its first rays peeped through the trees. I sat up to find Cat sitting and letting the sun warm her face.

            She must have heard me stir, for she spoke. “Something’s different this morning.”

            “What do you mean?”

            “It doesn’t feel right here today.”

            “Kevin went to look around some more. He’ll be back soon.”

            “How soon?”

            “I don’t know… any time.

            Catherine looked in my direction. “How long has he been gone?”

            “I don’t know how long exactly. A while.”

            “Where’d he go?” Catherine demanded. My vague answers weren’t satisfying her.

            I sighed. I knew that Cat wouldn’t leave me alone until she got an answer. She was already worried enough, I might as well tell her. “He went back to the Alamo. To see what’s going on.”

            Cat didn’t reply, but after a moment of silence, she reached out for my hand, and then put a finger to her lips. “Listen.”

            I didn’t hear anything at first, but Cat was listening intently. Then I heard it. It was faint at first, and then grew stronger. The sound of someone – or maybe someone’s – walking through the forest. “Quick,” I said, helping Cat to her feet. “I’ll help you up a tree.”
            We scrambled out of the clearing, and I helped Cat into a tree, and then warned her not to move too much lest she fall. Then I hurried back, grabbed the blanket and our bags, stuffed them into the fork of a tree and climbed up into another tree.

            “Oh Jesus, protect us!” I prayed silently. Then I saw the embers of the fire dying away and my heart sank. They would know people were around, and search for us. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” I said in my mind, repeating it over and over again. “Of power, and of love, and of a sound mind… of love, of love, of love…” The minutes dragged by. I released my grip on the tree and wiped my sweaty hands on my dress, then pressed myself closer to the tree. “Please, God! Keep us safe!” Soon I could make out a figure coming through the trees. There was only one person, traveling quickly, with no belongings, and on foot. As he stepped into the clearing, I breathed a sigh of relief.

            “Cat? Rebekkah?”

            I slipped down from the tree. “Over here.”

            “What are you doing – where’s Cat?”

            “Up another tree. We didn’t know who was coming.”

            I grabbed our belongings down and took them back over to the campfire. “She’s in the third tree from here,” I said. Kevin ran to help her down. Before long, we were seated around the campfire.

            “Sorry I scared you.” Kevin poked at the fire. “I considered singing ‘Rock of Ages,’ but didn’t want any Mexicans who might be in the woods hearing me.”

            I nodded. “You’re forgiven… though I don’t think I’ve ever been so scared in my life.”

            “What did you see?” Cat asked.

            Kevin cast a quizzical look in my direction.

            “Your eyeglasses are disgustingly dirty,” I told him, loudly. Then more quietly, “She guessed.”

            He sighed. “I didn’t get close. They were still there. There was lots of smoke, and some noise. But I don’t know. I guess we’re alright for now.”

            “We’re alright forever,” Cat said. “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.” She quoted. “We’ll realize how much we’re His if we die, and even so we’re His. And the Lord blesses those who live unto Him, because we’re His beloved, and He gives to His beloved sleep.”

            “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;” Kevin reminded.

            “Psalm 46.” I said. “There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.”

            “The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.”

            Cat skipped ahead. “He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth.” 

            I quoted a verse, probably my favorite in the entire psalter – “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”

            “The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.” Kevin finished.

            We were quiet for a few minutes.

            “They’re such wonderful promises,” Cat said finally.

            “And they’re ours.” I grinned. 


            That night after Cat fell asleep, Kevin and I whispered by the fire.

            “So what now?” I asked him. “Will we leave for my family?”

            “We will wait.” He said firmly. “I do not know what will happen at the Alamo, whether we will win or lose, have won or have lost. I am frightened, Bekkah. Not so much for us, but for my parents. It feels like even though they’re winning, all we can do is sit here and watch. Through the smoke I don’t know.”

            “I think the falling of the Alamo is far less of a catastrophe than the mountains being carried into the midst of the sea. And even then we have no need to fear, remember?”

            “Yes, I remember.” Kevin’s voice was cracking, and there were tears in his eyes. “Though I think I only remember in my head, not in my heart. Pray for me, Rebekkah. I wish I had faith like you and Cat.”

            I rested my head on his shoulder. “It’s not my faith. It’s God’s. It’s like the psalm says – ‘be still and know that I am God.’ All we have to do is be still, Kevin. He takes it from there.”

            “How can I be still when all within me is in turmoil?”

            “Trust on His promises. They’re ours, Kevin. Some have yet to be fulfilled, but they’re still ours.”

            “He maketh wars to cease… could He not make them to cease now?”

            I smiled slightly. “Kevin, what is the chief end of man?”
            “To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” He said, at first not seeing the connection, and then he too smiled, though his was a grim one. He looked up at a small patch of sky and stars. “Then to God be the glory, whether the Alamo fall or stand, whether we live or die.”

            “Our refuge is in Him.”  


            The next two days blurred together into waiting. We tried to keep busy, but Kevin wanted us to keep quiet, just in case. So we would quote or read the Bible, sing very quietly, play simple children’s games around the fire – anything to keep us busy and keep our minds off the Alamo. Every so often, though, I would catch Kevin casting wistful glances in the direction of the Alamo. My thoughts accompanied those glances. Once I caught his gaze as he turned his eyes back to us. His shoulders rose and fell steadily, but I could tell that pain tore at his heart. We both looked back to Cat, and continued with our storytelling. But as that day progressed, I could tell that Kevin wasn’t himself. He didn’t joke or tease or make puns like he normally did. No irrelevant facts spilled from his mouth, and he didn’t feel like singing. As darkness fell, he approached me while I was gathering wood for the fire.  

            “I need to go back, and see what’s going on again.”
            “Rebekkah, something has to have happened by now. We’re all getting restless, and we need to find a better supply of food. The berries we’re finding and the very few rabbits my traps have managed to catch haven’t been enough. It’s been too long since I’ve been there. If I don’t go, we won’t ever know when it will be safe to leave. It may not be safe to leave right now, if the Mexicans have left and are spreading out.”
            I sighed. Kevin’s argument was one that I couldn’t refute. “Then go.” He turned to leave. I put my arm on his. “But Kevin…” I paused. “Be careful. Please.”
            “The LORD of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob our refuge. Remember that, Bekkah. Remember that my refuge is in Him, and so is yours.”
            And with that, he was gone. Cat had fallen asleep while we were talking. She always seemed to be tired, which for Kevin and I was a good thing, because it meant we were able to talk. I tried to sleep, but for hours all I did was toss and turn. I got up and paced the clearing. Back and forth, up and down, across and back, praying hard all the while. I could think of Kevin only, nothing else. “Jesus, protect Him,” was all that I found myself praying, over and over again. I thought of Elijah, and how the Bible talks about his fervent prayer. A long time ago, when I could barely talk, Daddy had taught me that verse. “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.” I whispered to myself. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” I repeated. “Jesus, let my prayers be effectual and fervent, and avail, though I am not righteous but through you.”
            I continued to pace.
            Dawn broke, and I still I walked back and forth, back and forth. My feet ached, but I could think of nothing else to do. Cat woke, but for a time only lay wrapped in the blanket.
            “Kevin went back again, didn’t he?”
            I stopped where I was. “Yes.”
            “Just as you went to sleep.”
            “He should be back soon.”
            “You sound tired, Bekkah.”
            “I am, I didn’t get to sleep last night.”
            “You’re worried aren’t you?”
            I sat down by Cat. “Yes, Cat.” More than you know.
            Cat giggled. “It’s funny how God gives us scripture just when we need it – things we’ve memorized a long time ago and haven’t thought about for a long time, or wondered how they’d come to play in our lives.”
            I smiled. “He’s like that, isn’t He?”
            “I love His humor!”
            “Do you have a verse for me now?”
            “Yes – from Psalm 55 – I don’t know which verse exactly. ‘Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.’”
            “Thank you, Cat.” I laid my head on her shoulder. “I’m glad He takes all sizes of burdens, because mine right now is awfully large.”
            “He’s got big shoulders. And big arms to hold us so we are sustained and not moved. I love Him all the more for them!”
            “He’ll ever be the perfect one to love, won’t He?”
            We sat quietly for a little while, both smiling and sitting in His presence. Soon we – that is, Cat – heard a faint whistling.
            “What tune is it?” I asked.
            “Rock of Ages.”
            “Kevin’s back!” I hugged Cat joyfully. “Thank you, Jesus!”
            As soon as I saw Kevin, I jumped up and ran to him. I hugged him tightly and didn’t let him go for a few minutes. “I was so scared, Kevin.”
            “So was I.” He said. “But I’m safe.”
            “Aunt Sara? Uncle William?”
            He shook his head. “I don’t know.”
            “Is the Alamo still besieged?”
            “No. I’m still scared to go closer. There’s no sign of anyone, but it’s too quiet for my liking.”  
            “How will we know?”
            “In two days, we’ll all go over there. If the Mexicans have won, most likely they’ll have all left by then. I’m sure the fighting will have moved elsewhere, if it hasn’t already. If they have left, we’ll look for food and then go. It will be a long journey home.”
            I nodded.
            “Come over here, Kevin!” Cat called. He ran to her, and they hugged for a while, whispering together.
            The next two days dragged by. Kevin and I couldn’t find anything to keep us busy. We wanted so desperately to find out what was going on, or what had happened. We told Cat what was going on the night before we went. I wondered if we should have been telling her all along, because she handled it better than either of us – her trust in God is unwavering!
            Kevin woke us before dawn the next morning. We quickly packed up camp, and ate a few bites of bread – some of the last that we had with us.
            “Did you get any sleep last night?” I asked Kevin. He shook his head. We trudged on through the forest. Cat was on the other side of Kevin, her hand tightly grasping his elbow. No one spoke. I was too busy praying, and I could tell that Kevin was in no mood to talk. He was probably praying as well. Every now and then, we could hear Cat humming hymns.
            Cat was silent as soon as the sunshine fell strongly on our faces, and we moved more stealthily, always with an eye around us, or in Cat’s place, an ear. We saw no Mexicans, not even when the Alamo came into view. I started shaking. Kevin slipped his hand into mine, and then we continued onwards. The doors of the Alamo gaped open. I looked up at Kevin. His lips were pressed tightly together, and a look of determination was written on his face. We passed under the gate, and Kevin let go of Cat and I and walked on. First we walked toward the church. Inside was a mess of debris, but there were no bodies. We walked to the long barracks. There were blood stains many places. I shuddered. Kevin walked inside the barrack, then stopped.

            “Don’t look, Rebekkah.” I halted right behind him. He turned to block my view.

            “There’s nothing here for us.” Kevin put his arm around my shoulders and led me away. We journeyed outside of the Alamo, passing large pyres on the way.

            “Do you think they got away?”

            Kevin didn’t answer, but that night he took out the pencil he always carried with him, opened the Bible, and penciled in under “deaths” William and Sara Garnett, March 1836, the Alamo.

            His handwriting was neat and plain, but also clear – speaking volumes. I scooted closer to him, and then glanced at Cat, who was asleep by the fire.

            “Did you see them?”

            Kevin shook his head.

            “Then how do you –“ I began, but the look in Kevin’s eyes told me to stop. Maybe he just knew. Maybe he saw something of Uncle William’s or Aunt Sara’s. I don’t know.

            I didn’t know what to say. At a time when words of comfort were needed, suddenly I had none. I laid my head down on his shoulder and put my hand on his arm. I felt warm tears slipping off his cheeks onto my head. I felt like crying, but somehow had no tears to cry. Inwardly, though, I was sobbing.

            Then it came. I took the Bible from where it still lay open to the ‘deaths’ page on Kevin’s lap. There were only two deaths above theirs, and those from a long time ago.

            Nehemiah, my head told me. Mechanically, I turned there. The joy, the joy, the joy… I searched. There. Nehemiah 8:10: Neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.

            I pushed the Bible onto Kevin’s lap and pointed.

            “You know what that means, Kevin?”

            He didn’t reply.

            “It doesn’t matter what’s going on. The joy we have in knowing God is constant.”

            I stood and joined Cat under the blanket. Kevin didn’t move, just sat there with his thoughts. Soon he began to hum. It wasn’t a tune I recognized, and most of the songs Kevin loved were hymns.
            “What’s that?” I asked quietly.
            His voice shook as he spoke, and the dying embers of the fire reflected in his tears. “It’s Bach.” He paused. “Sleepers, Wake.” His voice trembled as he said those words. “If only they were only asleep.” Kevin’s shoulders shook as he sobbed. I left the warm blanket and slipped into his arms again. Now my tears fell freely. In between sobs, I spoke.
            “They will awake someday, Kevin! Not in this world, but in Heaven. Where we will all wake forever!”
            I could say nothing more. I fell asleep on Kevin’s lap, and he must have fallen asleep at some point, because all three of us stirred at the same time the next morning.
            “We have to be on our way.” Kevin said.

            “What about food?” I asked. “We didn’t get any at… at…”
            “… The Alamo,” Kevin finished. “We’ll have to find something. There are rivers that run by the Alamo, but they weren’t very clean. If we go far enough North, we’ll hit the Red River, and can get water there. There’s bound to be fish, too.”

            “And if there’s not?”
            “God will provide.”

            And so we left the clearing in the woods that had been our home for over a fortnight. We left it somewhat joyfully, because of the events we tied in with that area. I wondered if any of us would ever return to the Alamo. I knew that it would take me a long time to get over the grief of losing my aunt and uncle. I carried the blanket over my shoulder as we walked, and Kevin carried the bag with the rest of our things. Cat walked between us, her arm linked with mine.
            “How far is it to the river?” I asked.
            “I don’t know,” Kevin said. “It might be two days, or it might be two weeks. We can’t travel very quickly.”

            We trudged on. I was daunted in knowing that just to get out of Texas might take us two weeks! My family was in Roanoke! It would be months before we would get back, unless we found someone who would help us. And it would be so dangerous – Indians, the Mexicans, unfriendly settlers, bears… the list went on. We had no weapons, and Kevin was the only one of us strong enough to even possibly fight someone – or some animal – off if we were attacked. Maybe it would have been better if we had all stayed at the Alamo.

            “You’re thinking hard over there, Bekkah.”
            “I guess.”
            “What are you thinking about?” Cat asked.
            “Our journey.” I looked off at the horizon.

            “Are you worried?”
            “Yes – a little.”
            Kevin laughed. “I think you’re more than a little worried.”
            “Alright, more than a little worried.”
            “What’s worrying you?” Cat looked up in my direction.
            “What might be out there – Indians, Mexicans, wild animals… no food.”
            “You told me your favorite name of God once, Bekkah. Remind us of it again.” Kevin urged. It took me a minute to remember.
            “Jehovah Jireh.”

            “He does provide, Bekkah.”

            “I know,” I said quietly. “It’s just so hard to remember His perfect plan in times like these.”

            “But even if we don’t remember it, it’s still true!”  Cat persisted.

            I was quiet outwardly, but inwardly, I was crying out to God – asking for His help to remember.


            Once more, the days blurred together. I can’t remember what happened on what day, just that every day seemed longer than the one before it, and as we trudged on footsore and weary, our only hopes rested in God and seeing my family. We had to ration the water, because we had very little in the first place, and had no idea how long it would take us to Red River. I do remember one day, though: it was our sixth day walking. We were more tired than usual, and Kevin and I drank no water in the morning, and Cat only had a sip. We lifted up many prayers of provision before we set off on our journey. Kevin would pray, and then Cat would remind us that Jesus is the Living Water. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to be reunited with my family or to be united with the Living Water more at that moment. We trudged on across the plains. My feet hurt, and my mouth was so dry! I knew that unless we reached the Red River today, reaching it would be impossible. Kevin had tried to hide it, but I knew that Cat had had our last drop of water that morning.

            “Kevin,” Cat said weakly. “I can’t go on.”

            “We have to, Cat. The Red River may be just up ahead!” Kevin slipped his arm around her waist and supported her. “Just a little farther.”

            I fell behind them a little as they walked – and noticed that Kevin was dragging his feet on the ground. We were all fading. “Oh God, we need help!” I breathed. I scanned the horizon. Nothing.

            But then something caught my gaze. Something on the horizon moved. “Kevin, look!” I shouted, pointing.

            He strained to see. “What is it?”

            “Something moving on the horizon!”

            We started walking faster. The moving object came nearer to us. Soon we could make it out – a figure on horseback. Behind him were many more.

            I gasped. "Mexicans!"

            “No, I don’t think so,” Kevin looked harder. “They don’t have saddles.”

            “Indians?” Cat guessed.
            “Native Americans,” Kevin corrected. “Wichita, probably. If they are, we’re safe.”

            We stopped walking. The Indians – Native Americans – came nearer. The one who appeared to be their leader stopped his horse near Kevin. I could now see how weak Kevin actually was – he was supporting Cat in order that he could stand.

            “Aah.” The leader said.

            Kevin looked at me, and I shrugged. I looked more closely at the man’s eyes. He had designs all around them, making me think of a raccoon.

            “Are they?” I asked.

            “Yes, they’re Wichita.”
            The leader spoke to his men, and three of them got down from their horses and helped us on, then they swung up in front of us. It felt odd, but I wrapped my arms around the Indian’s bare waist to stay on. The wind through my hair felt good, and even better was knowing that we were safe – and that we would get water! That was all I remember thinking, then everything went black.


            Grass. There was grass above my head. I blinked, and rubbed my eyes. When I opened them again, there was Kevin, grinning down at me. Cat sat beside him.

            “We’re safe,” Kevin said.

            “I know.” I felt so weak.

            One of the Wichita women came in with a bowls of food. She handed me a large one of corn-something, and between the three of us there was a bowl of melons.

            “Thank you,” I said.

            She smiled and nodded, then made a motion of drinking and said “Kits'a.”

            I nodded, though I didn’t know what ‘kits’a’ was, but we would find out soon enough! She returned quickly with a flask of water.

            “Kits’a” she said again, shaking the flask.

            “Water,” Kevin realized. “Kits’a,” he said slowly, then made the motions of a stream. The woman grinned and nodded.

            We ate and drank. Food never tasted so good, and water never seemed so nourishing. As we finished our meal, Kevin spoke what we all were thinking.

            “So we’re safe for now, but we have to get across to them where we’re going. We can’t stay here forever.”

            “We have to get our strength back first. In a few days, we’ll try to tell them.”

            “Would there be anything they knew in Virginia?”

            “We can tell them the ocean, to the East. If we can get there, we can at least find people who speak English and can help us.”

            “Where does the Red River go?”


            “That’s a start.”


            The woman reappeared, and motioned for us to come with her. The sunlight was blinding as we stepped outside of the grass house. Many of the Wichita surrounded it, and peered at us curiously.

            We heard “Khac!” murmured through the crowd. Kevin looked at me and raised his eyebrows in question. I shook my head. The woman pointed to the clouds, then to the flowers on my dress, and said “khac.”

            “Of course!” Kevin smiled. “White.”

            “We are very white,” I laughed.


            Later that day found Kevin, Cat, and I playing with the Wichita children. The little girls played with small dolls, chattering away and pointing at us from time to time. They handed me a doll, and then held one out to Cat.

            “Cat, they want to give you one of their dolls.” I said softly. Cat reached out her hand and I guided it to the doll.
            “Thank you,” I said, and smiled. They giggled and played with their dolls again.

            Kevin and a group of younger boys were playing a game that looked like target practice. They could throw their little spears right through the center almost every time, and laughed when Kevin failed. When I looked over once, one little boy was climbing up Kevin’s back and trying to grab his glasses. He laughed, but gently put the boy down and shook his head. The girls had now found a new fascination – Cat’s flaxen hair.  Hers was the same as Kevin’s, though Kevin had his covered with a hat. Cat smiled and laughed as the girls stroked her hair. I took in our surroundings as they played. There were flat plains all around. A few stubborn plants were still green after the Texas winter, but mostly the fields – for corn, tobacco, and melons, Kevin explained – were bare. Dome-shaped grass houses rose up all across the plain, and occasionally dogs or Indians would come out from inside. It was a peaceful, comforting scene after the trauma that we’d been through. Even though the men were warriors, they and all of the Wichita were friendly, and as we were finding out, very hospitable.

            We played with the children until late evening, when they all retreated to their huts. The woman who had brought us food before took us back to the hut we’d been at before, along with more of the corn mix and melon. She watched as we ate, then took the bowls and left us for the night. As we lay down on the mats that had been prepared for us, I felt the need to talk to Kevin again.

            “I like it here, Kevin.”

            “So do I,” he admitted. “But we can’t stay here forever.”

            “I know.”

            “There’s so much peace here. They don’t have the worries and troubles that we do.”

            “But how can they have peace without God?” I wondered.

            “I don’t know.” He turned on his side to look at me. “But maybe that’s why we’re here – not only so that they could help us, but so that we can help them.”

            “How can we tell them, though? We don’t speak their language – I can’t even remember what ‘water’ and ‘white’ are!”
            “Kits’a, and khac. But I’m sure there’s someone here who speaks English. At least some of these people have had contact with Caucasians.”

            “How do you know?”

            “They have horses.”
            “That could have been ages ago!”

            “We can hope.”

            I nodded, and then flipped onto my back, staring up at the grass roof in the darkness. We were quiet for a while, but Kevin didn’t move. “I miss them.” I said.

            “Aunt Sara and Uncle William. And my family.”

            Kevin was silent.

            “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have…” I said suddenly.

            “No, it’s alright.”

            “I won’t talk about them anymore, then.”

            “No – don’t say that. I miss them so much, too. Talk to me about them.”

            “I love them both so much. Your ma, with her laugh and the way she cares for you and Cat, with you both her first priority. I always loved the way that she would tell stories or repeat things someone had said, making it almost as if we were there.” I turned back on my side. “Remember that time so long ago – before you all moved to Texas – that she told us the story about the two children lost out in the woods? And how scared we both got?”

            “You didn’t go near the woods for months!”

            “And you still won’t stop teasing me about it!”

            “It’s too much fun to let go.”

            Through the darkness, I glared at him, but then I smiled. I was glad that we could joke again. We hadn’t really done that since Uncle William said they were moving to Texas – that seemed so long ago now! I hadn’t seen them for three years, and then once reunited we were in the midst of a war, and we were all busy with the move. But soon we would be back, and safe once more – safe with my father, mother, and five siblings. Suddenly, home couldn’t come soon enough.

            “I loved listening to her sing,” Kevin said. “And then when pa joined in with the bass, it sounded so beautiful.”

            “Then you sang tenor and ruined it.”

            Kevin laughed.

            “I liked when Uncle William and Aunt Sara would tell stories together, doing dialogue or taking turns with the descriptions. Uncle William made such a good villain!”

            From the corner of the house we heard Cat say “Stick ‘em up and hand me the money!” – just the way Uncle William used to. I jumped in terror, but Kevin knew it was Cat and laughed again. I don't know who he was laughing at more though, Cat or me.

            We reminisced late into the night – perhaps too late in the night, because the next morning we woke groggily to noise in the camp. Kevin stood and stretched, then pushed open the door and stepped outside. I helped Cat up and we followed behind him. At first, we stood there awkwardly, not knowing what to do.

            But then we had a surprise. One of the Wichita, a man about my father’s age, approached us.

            “Good morning!” He said, in English. It was heavily accented, but it was English just the same.

            “Good morning,” Kevin replied, startled.

            “They told me we had white men in our camp – white men not Mexican,” He added.

            “Well, we’re certainly very white.”

            The man laughed. “Matthew,” He said, reaching out his hand for Kevin to shake.

            “Kevin.” Then he pointed to me, “Rebekkah,” and to Cat – “Catherine.”

            “Your sisters?”
            “Yes. Well, cousin and sister.”

            “Where are you from?”

            “We came from San Antonio.”

            The man looked shocked. “San Antonio?” He looked at us. “On foot?”


            “You’re amazing!”     

            “So are you!” Kevin said. “How do you speak English?”

            “I was separated from a hunting party when I was a boy, and ended up in an American city. I have not spoken English in many years.”

            “Well, it helps us very much to have someone to speak to in our own language. Though we would very much like to learn yours.”

            “Come with me,” Matthew said. “The chief wanted to speak with you.”

            We followed him to a large grass hut, then inside it.

            Matthew began speaking in Wichita, every now and then motioning to us. Then the chief replied. Matthew turned to us.

            “He wants to know where you were going when our tribe found you.”

            “We were going to the Red River, then to Roanoke – the East Coast.”

            Matthew translated this. After the chief replied, Matthew spoke to us again. “He says stay with us longer, and then we’ll give you food and a raft to take down the Red River.”

            “Thank you.”

            The chief conversed with Matthew for a few more minutes, and then we left the house. “You are welcome to stay with us for as long as you like,” Matthew said. “But I know you would probably like to get home.”

            “Yes. But we do have something we would like to do here.” Kevin admitted.

            “What is that?”

            “We would like to share some good news with the people, but obviously we cannot on our own.”

            I smiled inwardly – that was just like Kevin, always jumping at a chance to share God and His word with anyone he met. If we’d had a run-in with the Mexican, he would have done the same.

            “Good news?”

            “The good news that we are sinners separated from a just and holy God, but that through His Son He has made a way for us to be with Him again.”

            “I know this good news. I heard it when I was in the White Man’s village. I never understood it.”

            “Would you like to?”

            “Yes. I will gather the people, and translate for you.”

            Kevin looked at me and grinned.

            “Wait here,” Matthew said. He ran back to the chief’s house. Minutes later, he walked out with the chief, and they called all of the people together.

            “Pray for me,” Kevin whispered to Cat and me. We both nodded.

            “His Word does not go out void,” Cat told Kevin.

            “We are ready,” Matthew said.

            “Then so am I.”

            The people had formed a semicircle in front of the chief’s house, and now Kevin and Matthew turned to face them, speaking to them briefly in Wichita. Then he looked at Kevin.

            “A long time ago, thousands of years, God created the world.” Kevin paused as Matthew translated. Kevin kept his gaze above the heads of the people, but his face was shining with excitement.

            “The earth was perfect, but not for long. God created a man and a woman and told them not to eat from one tree in the garden.” Kevin stopped at the end of each sentence so Matthew could interpret. In those moments, I tried guessing what Kevin would say next. “Not only does God know everything, but He also is perfect. Anything we do wrong He punishes by death. The Devil tempted the man and the woman, and they did wrong by eating from that tree.”

            The people gasped as Matthew translated.

            “This, of course, meant death. But even though God is perfect and cannot be near our disobedience – our sin – He is merciful. He gave a promise that one day the descendants of the woman would crush the Devil.”

            Sighs of relief escaped from many of the people.

            “Years went by, and still God did not send the descendant that would crush the Devil. Then He sent His own Son to die.”

            Matthew looked at Kevin. “His own son?”

            There were tears in Kevin’s eyes, but he replied. “Yes.”

            As Matthew translated this, many of the people looked surprised. Kevin continued. “Men nailed him to a cross, like this,” Kevin stretched his arms out to demonstrate. “He suffered much physical pain, but even more than that God was putting the judgment, the wrath, the punishment that we deserved for disobeying on His Son, Jesus.” A tear rolled down my cheek as Kevin continued. “If God were not merciful, that would have been me, you, Matthew, my friends… not Jesus. But God loves us, and did it so that we can live for Him.” Kevin shuffled his foot in the dirt, thinking. “But even though that has happened the battle is not over. The Devil has been defeated, but not accepted defeat. We fight him every day. He wants to take control of your heart so that you will not love God. But God will help us fight, if we only ask Him, and give Him our lives and let Him rule what we do. We must accept the sacrifice of Jesus and with God’s help do as He has commanded us.”

            As Kevin stopped, Matthew finished the translation, and then looked at Kevin. “Is that all?”

            Kevin looked at me, and I nodded. “The rest is God’s,” I told Kevin. “Don’t worry.”

            “I know. I hope that He will be pleased to turn many hearts to Himself today.”

            Matthew looked at Kevin. “When I first saw you, I thought there was something curious about you. I didn’t know what it was, and couldn’t place my finger on it.” He paused. “There’s something in you three that’s different than the people that I met when I was with your people. You are the same color, speak the same language, and many of you even worship at the same place, and the same God. But you don’t worship Him in the way that the rest of them do.”

            “What do you mean?”

            “You may all believe in the same God, but for you He’s very real. That shows in the way you live. You really love Him, don’t you?”
            “That’s what makes you different. I saw people in your land that I do not want to be like. Now I see that I do not like them because they did not love God. I want to know your God.”

            Thank you, God! I prayed.

            “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved,” Kevin told him.

            “But how can I be? I have done so much wrong!”

            “Did you not listen to what I said?”
            “Only partly… it is hard to take in what you translate.”

            “Yes, we have done wrong and failed, but God’s son Jesus redeemed us – saved us – from our sin by being punished in our place.”

            Matthew fell to his knees, groaning. “Oh, I am so unworthy.”

            Kevin knelt down next to him. “Take it; it is the free gift of God for those who believe.”

            “Then I do, I do take it!”

            “Welcome to life in Christ,” Kevin said, grinning. He helped Matthew to his feet.  

            The next week was filled with much rejoicing. Matthew was only the first of many Wichita to be saved from their heathen ways. I watched in awe as God did mighty things – person after person came to Kevin and I longing to be free from their sin, wanting to turn from their false ways of spirit worship. Every night we went to bed praising God for His awesome work. In the mornings Kevin would read from passages in the Bible, be it Romans, Psalms, or any other passage God put on his mind. We wanted to stay and watch the work that God was doing, but late one night Kevin woke me up.

            “We need to go soon, Bekkah.”

            “Why? I love it here.”

            “News of what happened at the Alamo will be reaching the rest of the country soon, if it hasn’t already. Your family will be worrying so much.”

            “Do you think God is done using us here?”

            “I don’t know. I was thinking that whenever we go, we need to leave the Bible here. Matthew can teach them. I would take the front pages out, though, as they’re our family records. And I think that Cat is getting restless.”

            I nodded. “I guess it has to happen sometime.”

            “Yes. I’ll talk to Matthew about it tomorrow.”


            I watched as Matthew and Kevin walked back and forth near the edge of the encampment. They were deep in conversation. I could tell that they were talking about more than just us leaving. I studied them for a few minutes, but then a small dark hand slipped into mine and pulled me away to play by the stream. In between moments of tying sticks together to build little boats for the girls’ dolls, I would glance in Kevin’s direction. One of the girls noticed this and put a hand on my arm, talking to me quickly in her language. I smiled and shook my head. She pulled me closer to the river, where I couldn’t see them any more.

            We were still playing when Kevin approached a few hours later.

            “We’ll leave tomorrow morning.” He said.

            “So soon?”

            “Yes. Matthew and I talked about it for a long time. We both think that leaving sooner is better, for the sake of your family.”

            “Yes,” I said quietly.

            “They’ll give us food and a raft. We’ll go down the Red River to Louisiana and find a way to get home from there.”

            “Does Cat know yet?”

            “No. Where is she?”

            “She was helping Aunt.” Aunt was what we called the woman who brought us food the first few days. Many times, we had tried to understand her name, but even with Matthew’s help, we had not succeeded. Cat started calling her Aunt, and the rest of us did as well.

            “Let’s go tell her.”

            I stood and brushed dirt off my dress. As we left I waved to the little girls. A few of them ran after us, clinging to my skirt as we walked. I drank it all in as my bare feet touched the ground, held the little brown hands and loved their dark arms around my waist. I listened to their laughter and joyous chatter.

            “Oh Kevin!” I said suddenly. “How can we leave when we’ve brought them such joy?”

            “By knowing that it was God who brought them joy, and we’ve only been instruments in His hands.” Kevin helped a young girl onto his back. “And by remembering that He’ll continue to give them joy.”

            “I’m going to miss being here so much.”

            “Maybe someday we can come back. Bring your whole family out here.”

            “And we can learn the language, and build a Church here… and…”

            “It would be so wonderful!”

            “When we’re home I’ll talk to Daddy about it. They would love it here.”

            “Work for the Kingdom is always to be loved,” Kevin said. “My heart sings whenever I read about it, and now I realize why.”


            “It’s what we were made to do.”

            We walked on quietly, both of us soaking up Kevin’s thoughts and the scenes around us. Soon we came to Aunt’s hut. Cat was busy inside helping Aunt cook.

            “Hello Cat, Aunt.” Kevin said as we entered.           

            Aunt smiled warmly and handed us bowls of food. We sat down to eat, all four of us. We ate in silence. I could tell that suddenly Kevin was dreading leaving the Wichita himself. As he gulped down the last few bites of corn, he spoke.

            “We’re leaving tomorrow, Cat.”


            Kevin sighed. “Yes.”

            “Why? I love it here.”

            “So do we, Cat. But we need to get to Bekkah’s family.”

            “What time tomorrow?”

            “Shortly after sunrise. We will eat and then leave.”
            “Will you read more before we go?”

            “Yes. But I don’t know what.”

            The hut grew awkwardly silent. I glanced around at us. Kevin, Cat, and I, our heads drooped in sorrow, and Aunt, oblivious to our departure the next day. I tried to blink tears back, but I couldn’t help it as a few solitary tears rolled down my cheeks. I would miss these people so much.

            “Revelation,” Kevin said suddenly.

            “What was that?” I asked.

            “Revelation, chapter two, four, and seven.”

            “For tomorrow?”
            “Yes, for tomorrow.”


            ‘Tomorrow’ came all too quickly. Kevin and I sat up late into the night, sitting outside the hut, staring at the stars and remembering all of our favorite places in the Wichita camp. I must have fallen asleep out there, because I don’t remember going back into the hut. I woke up there like I had the first morning – looking up, rather surprised, with grass over my head.

            “Hurry,” Kevin said. “Aunt has already brought food. Matthew and the men are preparing the raft.”

            I stared at the bowl of food Kevin thrust into my hands. “I don’t want to eat,” I mumbled sleepily.

            “You have to.”

            “I know.” I pushed food into my mouth, forcing myself to eat. Beside me, Cat and Kevin were doing the same. After we ate, we checked the hut to make sure we left nothing behind, and then Kevin grabbed the Bible and left the hut, our few belongings in our hands. Cat and I had the dolls that the girls had given us in the bag of food, and the pages from the front of the Bible were there as well. We had our blanket, and two others that the Wichita had given to us.

            The tribe was gathered at the edge of the Red River. The raft lay on the ground, with all of our things strapped onto it.

            “I want to read to you one last time,” Kevin said. “From the last book in God’s word.”

            As Matthew translated, Kevin turned there. “This is a vision that John, one of Jesus’ disciples had, of heaven.” Taking a deep breath, Kevin began to read. “’I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.’ Leave not your first Love – Jesus Christ. But remember your Savior always. If you forget, repent and He will forgive.

            “ ‘Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.’ Here it talks about trials that you will have because of your Faith. But do not be afraid. There will be other tribes that persecute you because you no longer worship as they do. But we have a far greater thing than they – we have a crown of life, if we overcome.” Kevin paused as he turned to Revelation four.

            “’After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, LORD God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.’ Is that not a beautiful thought?” Kevin asked. “Here it talks of Heaven, where one day we will be with God forever. We will see His glory and praise Him forever. In another part, it says that in Heaven there is no sun, because the Glory of God is so bright.

            “Rebekkah, Cat, and I must leave you now, to go to our family. Yes, we will cry, and we will miss you. We love you. But in heaven, there will be no tears.

            “’And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.  They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.’ We may not see you again on this earth, but one day in heaven, we shall see those of you who trust God as their Savior. Then will be a day of great rejoicing.
            “But until then, we must part. Rebekkah, Cat, and I want to leave you with our Bible, so you can be studying God’s word and learning about Him. Please accept it.” Kevin handed the Bible to Matthew, and then hugged him. Both of them had tears in their eyes. I could not help but letting a few of my own tears fall as well. I hugged Aunt one last time, and then said farewell to many of the young girls.
            Then we had to go. The men pushed the raft into the water, and then helped us on.
            “Remember,” Matthew said. “Just go down the Red River. When you reach the end of it, you’ll be in Louisiana.”
            Kevin nodded. “Goodbye, brother.”
            “See you,” Matthew said.
            Then we were off. The night before the men had showed Kevin how to control the raft, and so we were prepared for the river that lay ahead of us. Cat and I waved as we floated down the river.
            “Let’s sing,” Cat said suddenly. She started singing ‘Rock of Ages,’ and the other two of us joined in.
            “Rock of ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee, Let the water and the blood, from Thy wounded side which flowed…” We kept singing even after the Wichita disappeared out of sight. Ten hymns later, we stopped singing.
            “I miss them already,” Cat said.
            “Whenever you miss them, pray for them,” Kevin suggested, pushing the raft to avoid a rock.
            “I think they’ve changed our lives as much as we’ve changed theirs,” I said pensively.
            “What do you mean?” Kevin asked.
            “Knowing them has given us such joy and a deeper knowledge of God, and in blessing them they’ve blessed us. Blessed to be a blessing.”
            “God’s so amazing like that, isn’t He?” Cat grinned. “Always surprising us. When we thought we were there to get, then we realized we were there to give… and ended up getting.”
            “They gave us joy… we gave them Eternal Life.”
            “Life through Christ,” Kevin corrected.
            “Yes, through Christ. It is so wonderful to be instruments in His hands.”
            Kevin sighed.
            “I miss my viola.”
            “I miss it, too.” Cat said.
            When we were still at my aunt and uncle’s home in Texas, Kevin would play his viola for hours every day. He would play hymns, Bach, things he wrote – almost anything he could get his hands on. Sometimes he would play late into the night, as if playing lullabies for Cat and me. But in our rush to leave home and the Alamo, it had been left behind somewhere.
            “We’ll find you a new one in Roanoke,” I said. “And mama,” – my mother played the cello – “can play with you.”
            “Just like old days.” Cat smiled.
            “Yes. And then we can come back here and teach the Wichita music.”
            Kevin now smiled, too. “Always dreaming, Bekkah.”
            “We can dream, and hope, and pray,” I said. “Just as long as those dreams don’t take the place of God. I have to ask myself a lot ‘if God came back today, would I be mad at Him for not letting me do this?’”
            “Would you?”
            I sighed. “I don’t know. I don’t think so, but I do want to return here… though heaven will be so much greater than here.”
            “But that’s hard to remember sometimes on earth,” said Cat.

            “Especially in places where you get a taste of heaven on earth, like with the Wichita.” I agreed.
            “Let’s let it make us look forward to heaven, not back to other times. In Ecclesiastes, it says ‘Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? For thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this.’”

            Cat and I were both quiet, watching the river and countryside go by. Then something rumbled, making all three of us jump.
            “What was that?” I asked.
            “Thunder,” Cat replied.

            Kevin looked up. “Yes, it was thunder. Look at that sky; it’s going to storm any minute.”

            “What do we do?” I tried not to sound worried, but inside I was churning more than a tornado.

            Putting his paddle aside, Kevin shrugged. “Nothing. We can’t very well just stop here. Ride it out and pray for safety.”

            Drops of rain fell on my face. I looked up at the ominous black sky. “No lightning, God, please?” I whispered.

            Kevin took off his eyeglasses and handed me the paddle. “If any rocks come up, push off of them, we can’t hit them.”
            “Why can’t you do it?”

            “My eyeglasses are all wet, I can’t see out of them, and I can’t see without them.”

            I gripped the paddle tightly. The rain began to fall harder. I wished for a hood to keep it off my face, but we had no clothes but those that we were wearing. The water churned ahead of us, and my stomach churned with it. Next to me, Cat shivered. My hands felt numb from the cold, sharp rain. Yet still I held the paddle.
            “Is that a rock?” Kevin shouted from behind me.

            “Yes!” I yelled back, preparing to keep us from hitting it.

            “How far away?”
            “I don’t know!”

            “When you get about five feet away stick out the paddle, then push off!”

            “I’m scared!”

            “Trust God!”

            I wanted to close my eyes, but knew that I had to keep watching. Ten… nine… eight… seven… I put the paddle out like Kevin told me and pushed away from the rock. We barely missed it. The rain poured down more heavily. More thunder clapped overhead. I thought I might have seen lightning out of the corner of my eye, but wasn’t sure.
            “Hold tight!” I shouted. “There’s a rough spot coming!” I let go of the paddle with one hand and held on to the raft. I breathed a silent pray of thanks that there were no rocks in this spot.
            This continued for a long time. I felt helpless most of the time, not knowing what I was doing and controlling a raft with two people who couldn’t see on it. My hands felt frozen, and ached from holding the paddle. I was soaked to the skin, and shivered so much that I couldn’t stop shaking. Just when I was about to ask Kevin to try to take the paddle back, the rain began to let up. I looked at the sky. The wind blew the dark clouds away, revealing hints of blue sky.
            “It’s clearing up!” I said.

            We all let out sighs of relief.  

            “Well, that wasn’t so bad,” Cat said. All of us laughed, and any tension we had left in us was gone.

            “Thank you, God, for your protection.” Kevin prayed.

            “Amen!” Cat and I said together.

            The rain stopped. Kevin cleaned off his glasses and put them back on. “I can take the paddle back if you want, Bekkah.”

            “Yes, please!”

            “You put up a tough fight, Bekkah.”

            “I never want to do that again!”
            “But you still want to go back to the Wichita?”

            “Going to the Wichita would be going against the current… so we wouldn’t be going on the Red River.”

            We spent the rest of the day laughing and talking. Cat and I slept at nightfall, but Kevin kept on keeping watch. At daybreak, he slept and I paddled. Soon after Kevin fell asleep Cat woke up.
            “What’s that noise?” She asked.

            “What noise?”

            “It sounds like a whistle.” She listened again. “It’s not there anymore.”

            “Are there steamboats on this river?”

            “Kevin would know.”

            “He just fell asleep; I don’t want to wake him.”
            “I don’t really want to be run over by a steamboat,” Cat said.

            “Nor I.”
            So we woke Kevin. Neither he nor I could hear anything, but Cat insisted that she heard the whistle, and from time to time said that she heard it again, and getting closer.

            “If it is a steamboat, we can get a ride on it down to Louisiana. But we would want to get out of the way.”

            “We can’t really get the raft out of the water by ourselves,” I said.

            “Hand me the paddle.”

            I willingly gave it to Kevin, who propelled us to the side of the river. In some way completely unknown to me, he managed to keep us on the side. I turned around and looked behind us, searching for any sign of a steamboat.

            Then I saw it.

            “There is one, there is one!”

            Kevin stopped steering and turned to look. He raised the paddle and whooped. “Start singing!”

            I started singing the first hymn that came to my head. “Praise to the Lord the almighty, the King of Creation!”
            Cat and Kevin joined in. “Oh my soul praise Him, for He is thy Help and Salvation…”

            As the steamboat drew nearer, the people on it peered curiously at us. Someone called the captain, who came out on deck.

            “Hello!” Kevin shouted.

            “Hello, there!” The Captain replied.

            “Can you take us on board?”

            “Where are you bound?”

            “Louisiana for now – Roanoke eventually!”

            “You’ve got quite a ways to travel!”
            “Yes, sir!”
            “Well, we’ll work out a way to get you on board.”
            “Thank you, sir!”

            A quarter of an hour later found us sitting on the steamer, our wet clothes drying as we sat in extra clothes of those on board. One of the hands sat with us.

            “Where are you coming from?” He asked.

            “The Alamo.” Kevin said quietly.

            “We heard news of that – also news that not one got away.”
            “No one who was at the Alamo got away, that we know of. We were a few miles from the Alamo, in the woods. My father sent us out there for safety.”

            “You’ve been out wandering for a long time, then, lad?”

            “Yes. I’ve lost track of the days, but it has been a while. We almost didn’t make it to the Red River, but for God’s Providence. Some Wichita Indians found us.”

            “What’s your name?”

            “I’m Kevin, and this is my sister Catherine and my cousin Rebekkah.”


            “Pleased to meet you.”

            James nodded. “You as well.” He stuck a pipe in his mouth and puffed away for a few minutes. “Do you have family near here?”

            “Not really– Rebekkah’s parents are in Roanoke. Mine… did not survive the brutalities of the Alamo.”

            “I’m sorry to hear that. How do you plan to get to Roanoke?”

            “I don’t know. I’m sure there’s a better way than we’re going, but we headed for the Red River after the Alamo because we needed water. I had no idea how far away it was.”

            “How long did it take?”

            “Almost two weeks.”

            James nodded. “That sounds about right. It’ll take you longer than that to get to Roanoke, if you goes on foot. You may be able to catch a stagecoach.”

            “To Roanoke?”

            “Naw, you’d have to switch a few times along the way. Though you may be able to get to the District of Columbia and from there to Roanoke.”

            “How long would that take?”

            “Mebbee two weeks. I don’t know for sure, and you niver know with stages. Anything could happen along the way.”

            “Thank you for your advice.” We were quiet again. “Where are you from?” Kevin asked. “You don’t sound like you’re from the area.”

            “Neither do you, for that matter.”

            “I grew up in Roanoke.”

            “Ah. Well, I’m from Ireland originally. Decided I’d come to the land o’ Good ‘n’ plenty.” He laughed and blew into his pipe again. “Not much more plenty here than on the Emerald Isle.”

            “No, our government’s not as good as people make it out to be,” Kevin admitted.

            “If only people saw it thatta way, so’s we could change something.”

            Kevin nodded. “Only by God’s help and grace could it ever change.”

            The conversation lulled again, and I realized then how tired I was. Just about the same time, Kevin yawned.

            “We’ll be in Louisiana, soon, an’ then you can get some good sleep,” James said.

            “How soon is soon?” I asked sleepily. Now I yawned.

            “Ach, about three more…”

            I only heard the beginning of James’s sentence before I slipped into unconscious sleep. When I woke up, the steamer no longer moved beneath me. I could not hear the Red River rushing by. Instead, whatever it was that I was sitting on jolted almost rhythmically. Cat’s head was on my lap, and my head was resting on Kevin’s shoulder. I yawned and opened my eyes.

            It was dim. Across from me sat strangers, one engrossed in a book, another peering out the window.

            We caught a Stage! I thought. I lifted my head and looked out the window at the ground rolling by. We were out in the middle of nowhere. I hoped that the journey would not take too long. My heart was torn between two places, the Wichita and home, and I did not know how long I could last away from both of those. Contentedly, I put my head back on my cousin’s shoulder and settled back down to sleep.

            All three of us were in and out of sleep that first day on our journey. We were all exhausted in the first place from our journey down the river, and then sleeping on a Stagecoach is not the easiest thing in the world! Finally, we were all awake. The man reading the book was gone, now replaced by a man who looked rather bored.

            “Where are we?” I asked Kevin.

            “On a Stage, to Roanoke.”
            “I guessed that much.” I shifted to sit up straight. “Where are we right now?”

            “Just outside of Mississippi.” The man said.

            “How many days will it take to Roanoke?”

            “I don’t know exactly, I’m only going to Chattanooga. A week, maybe.”

            Cat turned to me excitedly. “Hear that, Bekkah? Home in a week!”

            “You young’un’s traveling home?” The man asked.

            “Yes sir.” Kevin replied.

            “You’re out a ways on your own.”

            “Not as far as we could be.”
            “Where you comin’ from?”

            “Red River.”

            “Got family there?”

            “No sir, just where we ended up getting home.”

            The man looked at us, puzzled. “How long you been traveling for?”

            “I don’t know, we lost count a while back.”

            “Where’d you start your journey?”

            It took Kevin a minute to answer. “The Alamo,” He said finally.

            Sitting back, the man looked us over. “The Alamo?”


            “You three ghosts? They say everyone who was there died!”

            “We weren’t at the Alamo, we were nearby.”

            “Y’all have quite the story to tell someday, then.”

            “Yes, sir.”

            “Got family near there?”

            “Not anymore. But we do in Roanoke. Bekkah’s parents.”

            The man nodded, and looked out the window.

            Kevin rummaged through our sack of things. He pulled out some food.

            “Where’d we get that?” I asked.

            “James and the people on board the Steamer. They paid for our fare and got us some food for the journey.”

            “Jehovah Jireh,” I said, smiling.

            “Told you He would,” Kevin handed Cat and I each chunks of bread, and then an apple.

            At night, we found people in the towns we stopped in who would take us in for the night, as we had no money to pay for the inn like the stage driver. Every morning we would drag ourselves out of comfortable beds to the hard seats of the stage – and the only reason we had the motivation to do this was because of what lay at the end of us. Finally that last day came. It was especially hard to get out of bed that morning, being so stiff and sore from riding the stagecoach for so long. However, Cat’s waking thought was ‘It’s the last day!’ – which quickly brought Kevin and I into a waking state. The stage driver was waiting for us outside, and we scrambled in, thanking our hosts from the night before (who had fed us a delicious breakfast!).

            “Today’s the day, eh?” The Stage driver asked.

            “Yes, it is!” Cat replied joyfully.

            “Well hurry up and in, sooner we’re off the sooner you’ll all be home.”

            There was no one else riding with us that day, and so we took great advantage of that, passing the time like we would if we had been walking – singing, praying, laughing. In between hymns we would pray, talk, or quote scripture. A few times, we tried to hum a piece by Bach that we all knew, taking different parts that we remembered. Kevin succeeded to the end, but Cat and I came in and out a few times.

            “Sounds like a party in there!” The driver yelled back once.

            We laughed and kept singing.

            Even with the amount of fun, we were having, the day still dragged on. Whenever enthusiasm lagged, someone would say “I can’t wait to get there!” and we would all break out rejoicing once more.

            As we sang Rock of Ages for what seemed the hundredth time, I looked out the window and watched the land passing by. From time to time, there would be a house, and every so often we would go through a town. No one ever stopped to get on, though, and so we continued our concerts. I pictured my house in my head, and imagined walking through the rooms – hugging mama in the sitting room, talking to daddy in the den where he sat listening to Teresa playing the piano. Timothy was outside swinging, while John turned cartwheels in the grass and Grace sat under the tree, a book in her hands as always. Upstairs, Peter studied his mathematics, groaning every now and then as he worked out problems. I couldn’t wait to be back at home with them. We’d arrive, there would be hugs all around, we’d go inside for a wonderful meal cooked by my mother, and Kevin would tell everyone stories of our journey. John would be sitting on his lap, staring up at his cousin with wide brown eyes. Grace would listen eagerly, but be all the time wishing it were a book in her hands to read. Mama and Teresa would have sewing to do with them, and Timothy would look over their shoulders wanting to help. And Peter… he would sit, his elbows on the table, watching Kevin intently, always trying to jump ahead in the story and guess what came next. I smiled. All of my siblings were unique, and I loved them all so dearly, but Peter was probably my favorite, with his awkward ways and quirky personality. Years ago he had grown taller than I, even though he was three years younger, and now he towered almost a head above me.

            “What are you thinking about?” Cat asked.

            “Home.” My smiled spread even wider.

            “Well, it won’t be much longer,” Kevin said. “I saw a road marker for Roanoke a ways back there.”

            “How many miles did it say?” I wondered eagerly.

            “I couldn’t tell, the stone was too worn away. But it won’t be long.”

            “I wonder what they’ve been thinking,” I said. “If they think we’re all dead, or if they have hope that we got away somehow.”

            “I don’t know. It’s been over a month since the siege ended.”

            “I’m sure at least mama is still holding on to that hope.”

            “I wouldn’t be surprised if they all are,” Cat said.

            I sighed. The minutes couldn’t fly by fast enough.
            “RO-A-NOOOO-KE!” The driver called.

            I looked back out the window. Yes, there it was. My beloved Roanoke. As we pulled into the station, Kevin packed up our things. I had my hand on the door, to push it open and jump out as soon as we pulled to a stop.

            Soon my feet touched the dust of Roanoke, my home. I helped Cat out of the Stagecoach. Kevin shook the driver’s hand and thanked him.

            “So, Bekkah. I’ve forgotten the way to your house. Show us the way home.”

            “Let’s go!”

            So we set off for home. Roanoke was familiar, yet it seemed odd at the same time. I’d been gone for so long, and it was so different now. But at the same time, maybe it was I who had changed, not the city.

            There, there was the hill. I looked up. At the top of the hill was our house. Our house, with mama waiting inside, with daddy there to keep me safe… I would have broken into a run had it not been for Cat’s hand gripping my elbow.

            “Not much farther,” I said. My heart felt as if it would explode right out of my ribcage any moment. But it didn’t, even though my heart swelled more and more as we climbed the hill.

            “There’s a step, Cat. Now another. That’s all.”

            Now we were on my porch. No one was outside swinging or turning cartwheels, but I could hear the piano inside. I almost laughed – it was Teresa, playing Bach, almost as if she knew that Kevin was coming. Taking a deep breath, I threw open the door.


            The piano stopped.

            “Teresa? Mama? Daddy?”

            Teresa came running into the foyer. She stopped short when she saw me. “Bekkah!” She stood there for a minute, looking at us, grinning, as if we weren’t really there. Then she ran to the stairs. “Mama, daddy, Timmy, Peter, Grace, John! It’s Bekkah!”

            “And Cat and Kevin…” Kevin mumbled behind me. “That was Bach, Prelude in C Major, wasn’t it, Teresa?”

            She laughed. “Yes, Kevin.”

            Then came a noise like thunder, and the boys came rumbling down the stairs, followed by Grace, Mama, and daddy. I ran to them, and hugs went all around for the longest time. But it did not seem long, because it was so wonderful. Kevin and Cat were welcomed just as much, and just as I’d predicted, we soon sat down to a delicious dinner. No one mentioned anything about the Alamo, or thinking we were dead, or Aunt Sara and Uncle William. I think everyone was just too happy to talk.

            Until after dinner.

            Then daddy pushed back his chair and looked at Kevin. “Where are your mother and father?”

            Kevin looked down at his plate. “May I be excused for a minute?” He asked.

            Daddy nodded.

            Kevin left, and returned with the pages from the family Bible in his hands. He unfolded them and handed them to daddy. I could see Kevin straightening his shoulders and clenching his jaw to keep from crying as daddy read what Kevin had written.

            “How did you survive?” Daddy wondered.

            “That is a long story of God’s grace.”

            Mama and Teresa reached for their sewing, and Kevin sat back down. He began to tell our story, starting with the line in the sand. When he finished, the room was silent. Daddy looked from Kevin, to Cat, to me.

            “You have been on quite the journey,” He said at long last. “God has done mighty things through you.”

            All three of us nodded.

            “And now there’s another line in the sand that must be drawn.”

            I looked at Kevin.

            “We will pray about going to the Wichita. But for now, we remain here. Kevin and Cat, you will stay here for as long as you need to.”
            “Thank you, Uncle Richard.”

            “Children, it’s time for bed.”

            All of my siblings ran up the stairs.

            “Welcome home.” Daddy said. I ran to him and hugged him for a long time.


            My family never did go to the Wichita. We talked about it often, and prayed about it even more often, but the answer was always that God wanted us where we were in Roanoke. So we stayed. They were happy days of learning, growth, and fun. When Kevin turned twenty, he married and left Virginia to go back to the Wichita. We get letters from him and his wife – and now six children – every so often. God is doing mighty things in the lives of the Wichita.

            At the time of the Alamo, I may have asked why, but now I see that ‘what for’ is always a better question to ask God. He always has a purpose in everything. Were it not for the happenings at the Alamo, we never would have met the Wichita, and they would still be walking in darkness. A line in the sand became so much more than it seemed to me at the first place. It caused sorrow, but it also caused much joy.

            And this a joy that never ends.  




Bible quotations taken from the KJV. I normally use the ESV, but as this is historical fiction, I wanted to use KJV to fit the time period.


Historical note: Barett’s line in the sand is not proven fact. Some say it is just a legend. William Garnett was one of the men who fought at the Alamo. He was from Virginia, but what family he may have had I don’t know. The informal truce mentioned during which some civilians were allowed to leave is rumored.


Author's age when written


An amazing work, as always, Kyleigh.

This story had me hooked the entire 30 minutes it took me to read it, from the Alimo, to the Wichita tribe, to the Red River, and finally to Roanoke.  The languages part of me got excited with the Wichita.  I was thinking, "Linguistics and Alphabets for Bible Translation!"

And, being an extremely near-sighted individual, I sympathized much with Kevin:  “My eyeglasses are all wet, I can’t see out of them, and I can’t see without them.”

I think my favorite part, though, was when William said,

“There’s something in you three that’s different than the people that I met when I was with your people. You are the same color, speak the same language, and many of you even worship at the same place, and the same God. But you don’t worship Him in the way that the rest of them do...You may all believe in the same God, but for you He’s very real. That shows in the way you live. You really love Him, don’t you?”
            “That’s what makes you different. I saw people in your land that I do not want to be like. Now I see that I do not like them because they did not love God. I want to know your God.”

"The idea that we should approach science without a philosophy is itself a philosophy... and a bad one, because it is self-refuting." -- Dr. Jason Lisle

I love languages, too... and research on the Wichita was fun, especially find their words. But I couldn't find very many. But I am a language geek. I'm taking 2 languages at the moment and after I graduate I hope to take Hebrew on Potter's School. When we go to our pastor's house I flip through all of his lexicons and his Hebrew Bible. My sister and I could spend forever looking at his books!

Haha... that line comes from one day at dinner at camp when we were sitting with another girl (who is blind, Catherine!) and Keven was passing around his glasses... :P And said he was legally blind without them. Thankfully I can see without my glasses, and really well, too. My eyes just hurt without 'em (after about 5 hours!)

That was one of my favorite parts as well. :) That and the Wichita's fascination with Bekkah, Kevin, and Cat. And my favorite part to write was just after they went back to the Alamo... when Kevin is humming "Sleepers Awake." (which is an absolutely gorgeous piece, btw... and Kevin is Bach-crazy and it's rubbed off on me!)

Good story, Kyleigh! I like the story of the Alamo, although it's sad. I love stories of courageous men (and women too). There is a good book called, We Were There at the Battle of the Alamo. I think it has one or two words that shouldn't be there, but it's a well written book about a boy who runs away to join his brother at the Alamo. ---Laura Elizabeth