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HANDS OF THE FATHER

A Fast-Paced Christian Fiction Suspense Thriller – By Darrell Case

Rusty raced ahead of the blowing, snorting horse. Heedless to any obstacles that may be looming in their path, Jeremiah kicked the horse’s sides and shouted, “HYA, HYA!” sending the animal into a lathered flight the likes of which Jeremiah never knew he had in him. He seemed to cover no fewer than eight feet with each powerful stride. Jeremiah became aware of an odor, faint at first but growing stronger with every footfall. Smoke. Fire. Ahead, Rusty ran low to the ground, so fast his legs looked like they would crumple beneath him. A quarter of a mile from Taylor’s place, Jeremiah saw the flames leaping 50 feet into the air. The farm was fully engulfed. Every building was on fire. Stacks of blazing hay sent up thick white smoke from the barn loft. Grass between the buildings flared up and smoldered, leaving black patches. “Oh, Lord, help me find him. Let him be all right,” Jeremiah pleaded as the roan raced into the barn lot. Where was the dog? Jeremiah knew Rusty would go straight to the boy. He heard the frenzied yelping. Smoke hovered over the property in a thick, acrid shroud, making Jeremiah’s eyes burn and water. Through the haze he spotted Rusty dancing and whirling on the porch of the burning house. The roan reared, nearly tossing its rider. Jeremiah jumped from the saddle. Wrestling the bucking and kicking horse to a post a distance from the blaze, Jeremiah tied the reins around it and raced to the dog. The howling animal was scratching ferociously at the back door. Flames were nearing the roof. Once it caught the house would collapse and be gone. The heat of the fire was unbearable. What Jeremiah saw through the kitchen window nearly made him catatonic. The kitchen blazed. Flames chewed through the walls, sending fiery chunks of plaster and lathe to the smoldering floor below. Charles sat with his eyes closed, perfectly calm and still, in the shrinking center of a roaring ring of fire. Rusty tried to tear his way through the wooden door. He refused to move away, even as black smoke billowing from the crack at the bottom caused him to cough and choke and nearly pass out. Running to grab a length of rope from the saddle bag, Jeremiah raced back, caught the dog and led him to another post. As he tied the dog, he watched the roan rear and shake its wobbly post and prayed it would hold until he could get the boy out. Charles wasn’t sure what hell would be like. He just hoped the pain in his heart would go away when he got there. The fire was closer now. He clasped his ankles and pulled his feet into his groin. The circle of flames closed in on him. He cried out as the skin on his back started to blister.

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