"It was a nippy, stormy night and I was just about to leave the school building for home when I heard a thunderous knock on the side door of the one-room school house. I froze in my step, eyes wide with negligible fear. It was late and who would be coming to the building at that time of the night? I turned to face the door and called, 'I'm closing up the school! Who is it?'" the elderly woman eyed the young audience. "In place of an answer, there was a low humming growl."
"You’re scaring me, Granny!” cried young May. She sat near the very front of the group of children, anxious and hungry for the end of the thrilling story.
"Now, now little Miss May, it’s all but just a story," the old woman smiled at the girl then looked up at the rest of her grandchildren. "When I heard that noise, I knew it was not my brother come to pick me up on his horse drawn buggy. I had no clue who or what was outside the door to my left,” she raised her hands. “So nonchalantly I stepped back, and inhaled. ‘Wh-whoever’s out there, please answer!’ I called,” she lowered her waxy hands to her sides. “Again, nothing.”
Her deep-green eyes licked the crowd of youth. She studied the familiar faces of her childrens’ children. Their faces were drawn with excitement, twitching with every sudden movement and sound. She smiled, then continued her story. “I stood there, silently, my every breath shaky and shallow. What if it was a monster, the type my father had desperately tried so hard to scare me with as a child? Or a rabid wolf, perhaps? Or, maybe it was my little brother putting these thoughts in my head by attempting to scare me?” she said, rubbing her hands together. “These thoughts made me want to run away, scream, and fall asleep. But do you know what I missed?” she asked the kids, who, in response, looked at her with cow-eyes and gaping mouths. They shook their heads. All but one, that is. It was little Bethany on the right of her grandmother, raising her hand, back and forth. “I know the answer Granny.” She spoke shyly. Bethany was never one to talk much and she felt rather timid.
“What is the answer, Bethie? What was I forgetting to do, dear?” the woman asked. She smiled and nodded to the girl.
“You, uh, forgot to… um pray?” she said. She looked into her grandmother’s face.
Beaming with great pride, the old woman said, “That is correct, Bethany. I forgot that God is my protector. I forgot to ask him for guidance and safety.”
Bethany smiled, and leaned back a bit, relaxing from the tension.
“So, as I looked up, imagining the sky above the roof, I prayed. I asked the Lord to protect me, and to chase away my fears. And do you know what?”
“What? What?!” cried little outspoken May.
“I walked up to the door. I reached my hand to turn the knob,” she stretched her arm out, illustrating the turning of a knob, “And grabbed hold of it. Slowly twisting the rusty ball of metal, I didn’t breath. I opened the door, my breath sticking to my lunges, and closed my eyes.” She stilled the laugh that made it’s way to her lips as some of the children closed their eyes intently. “The wind slapped me in the face, and entered into the schoolroom, causing some of the papers on the desks to slip off and fall to the floor. I took a step back, and opened my eyes. There, standing a foot away from me, was a great wolf with the coat of black and silver.” She looked across her audience and widened her eyes. “I took a sharp breath, almost choking on air. ‘God!’ I cried, ‘Be with me and deliver me home! Keep my safe, in Your arms, Lord!’ I prayed hard and loud. The wolf’s breath was heard in my ears, it’s smell of woods and game pinched my nose. His eyes were those of a warrior that pierced it’s way through my whole body. I stood shaking, not believing where I stand, in the presence of a wolf by one foot… eight inches… the wolf stepped closer and closer. I didn’t know what to do! I didn’t what to scream, for fear I would make him angry. I didn’t want to run, because, well, you don’t run from dogs and my legs wouldn’t move. I stood there, silently praying. I could breath. I could feel. I knew that God was with me. He gave me the courage to stand there, still like a scarecrow. I looked at the wolf. He looked at me. We stood there, nervous. Then I said aloud, ‘Leave me. I need to get home soon.’ The sudden noise was startling for the both of us, and we both stabled ourselves, widening our legs. Then, to my surprise, there was a thunder crack outside the building. I nearly screamed when the wolf jumped toward me and landed on my toes.”
“Aah!” screamed some of the young girls in the group.
“Yes, yes! It jumped into my body from fear of the thunder. It startled me, of course, but the movement of the wolf startled me farther than that. Then I took a deep breath and stepped back from the wolf’s hairy body. He looked at me, and with one sharp turn, he slipped out from the building and into his home, the woods.” A sigh traveled through the children. “I looked out into the pouring rain, and said, ‘Thank you… for being the Great Protector.’ As I walk home, the Lord blessed me with a light drizzle and a foresty fresh smell, all the way home. The End.” She looked at the kids and smiled. A smile that was returned with, but seventeen more times.