HP fellow writer, Chill Clinton has authored the article, “8 Detailed Writing Prompts to Help Inspire Your Writing Practice.” For my article, I have selected his eighth prompt, “The Cold Journey” to give birth to a creative short story.
Chill’s Eighth Prompt, “The Cold Journey”
In the near future, the world is covered in ice and snow. A young mother lives in the wilderness, far from the threats of cities, with her child. But when her child comes down with an inexplicable illness, she must make the long trek from their cabin to the city in search of a doctor to help save them.
In Search of Medical Help- A Response to the Prompt
Ma would go searching for potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, and other veggies. She also hunted pigeons and other birds. Hands full, she would come to her cabin and cook in a pot over the fire. She would make lunch and dinner this way for herself and her child every day. Breakfast was usually cherries, berries, grapes, and other fruits from the trees.
She would homeschool her four-year-old daughter, Stephanie using the books brought by her when she had first settled down in the wilderness with her daughter.
Soon there was ice and snow all over the place where they inhabited. The daughter had contracted a cough and complained she had difficulty breathing. Ma realized her child had a rapid heartbeat, high temperature, sweating, and shivering too.
She got worried. She put a heated cloth over her body and throat. Although it eased her child for some time, she would come back with her complaints about feeling ill.
Ma had to decide quickly. She couldn’t let her daughter suffer any longer. Yet, there was ice and snow everywhere. Where would she get help?
She prayed to God from the core of her heart that the surrounding ice and snow had better melt away and that this had better no longer impede her and her child from leaving the cabin for the city for medical help.
By morning, the ice and snow did start melting, and there was broad sunshine. She clothed her daughter properly, and she got ready armed with warm clothes as well.
Soon they were on their way. They crossed two miles walking when they could see a wide street. To every passing car, truck, or vehicle, the mother raised her hand as a gesture to stop, but every vehicle passed by.
At last, there was a huge truck that stopped by, and the driver happily took the mother and child in the two seats at the front beside him. The truck drove a long way.
After a very long drive, the driver stopped by to buy food and water for his new guests in the truck and also for himself. The mother attempted to pay for them, but the driver declined kindly.
Off they left; after another two hours, they were in the center of the city and not long before in front of a medical hospital.
It was only for two years that the mother and child were staying in the wilderness when the daughter came down with the mysterious illness.
She entered the gates of the hospital with her daughter, and the truck left. She talked at the counter about medical help for her daughter. She explained her child was suffering from a cough and described all the symptoms.
Stephanie was assigned a doctor to meet in a few minutes. As the doctor examined her with his stethoscope and carried out a few tests on her, he asked them to wait outside for a while. His assistant would come with the test results, and then he could prescribe her medication.
The doctor was soon investigating the test results and finally found out the cause of her illness. He said she was suffering from pneumonia. He prescribed antibiotics and asked Ma to let her child take plenty of rest with lots of fluids. She should bring her daughter to see him again after a week.
There was a look of concern over the elegant mother’s face. And the doctor was anxious to know what it was. Finally, she confessed that she didn’t have a place to stay in the city. After all, she was staying away in the wilderness with her daughter after divorcing her husband.
Doc said, thinking after a while, “You could stay in a cheap hotel nearby. If you cannot afford that, come and stay at my home. I am also divorced but without children. So, there’s space at my home for both of you to stay. I will tell my second assistant to show you my home.”
“All right, that is very kind of you”, said Ma.
That night when the doctor reached home, he made sure the daughter was taking food, antibiotics, and fluids.
“Is it that cold in the wilderness?” asked Doc
“Yes, very cold, with ice and snow everywhere.”
“Why did you abandon your husband? Was he not a good guy?”
“No, he wasn’t. He gambled a lot and lost money every night. He came back home drunk. I couldn’t stand him.”
“Well, I am a good doctor, Ms.… err…Ms.…?
“Yes, Ms. Elena.”
“Yes, I understand you are a good doctor. My daughter is already feeling so much better.”
“Ms. Elena, how about you being my wife and me, being a doting Dad to your daughter?”
“Oh!” exclaimed Ms. Elena.
“Nothing to feel perturbed about. It’s all for you to decide. Why go back to the lonely wilderness when I can offer you a warm and happy place for you and your daughter to stay?”
“All right, I will think about it”, said Ms. Elena. “Let a week go by, and let me see my daughter get back to her good health. And I will let you know my decision.”
A week did go by. Elena’s daughter had recovered fully. The cough was gone, and she was free from the symptoms of pneumonia.
Elena was overjoyed. Doc asked her decision.
“Would you say a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ now, Ms. Elena?”
"I am humbled by your question. I would say a strong ‘yes.’ I think my daughter and I would be happy to form a family with you."
With wedding bells in line, and a smiling daughter shining with happiness, Doc and Elena hugged in a warm embrace.
© 2022 Rosina S Khan