Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Light Of Hope

The Light of Hope
By Michael Cannata

The last lantern had finally burned out. He silently gave thanks when it did. They needed the air it was using more than the light of the lantern. They sat fearfully in the dark, huddled together, waiting for the end. The miners were trapped when the walls came down and sealed off the shaft. They tried in vain to dig their way out at first, but the dust they raised made them choke and breathing became even harder. He couldn't remember exactly how many others were imprisoned with him. Thirst had made his mind cloudy.

He had tried in vain to get the others to sit still and conserve the air, their strength and energy. A few went crazy with panic. Two died from their injuries shortly after their ordeal began. One had killed himself rather than suffer the slow, painful death that awaited them. They'd lost track of just how long they'd been down there. They'd lost all hope of being found.

It doesn't matter now, thought the miner. Even if they found them, getting them out would take too long. They were already breathing the last of the dusty air. In the pitch black darkness, he closed his eyes. Thinking of his wife and children made everything seem brighter. If he opened his eyes, their faces still lingered in the dark that enveloped him.

While he loved them all, Cara, his youngest, was easily his most beautiful and precious. Her brilliant smile and head of absolutely unruly golden hair made everyone who looked at her smile just as brightly. Her smile was a light that never went out. Even when she slept as he read her a goodnight story, she seemed to be smiling. He knew that he would never read to her again.

He imagined hearing Cara's voice calling to him as he came home at the end of the day. Her voice was like music. "Hi Daddy!" she would cry as she ran down the walk to him, "Daddy's, home!" Her announcement would bring the rest of his family to greet him. He could feel her small arms hugging him tightly, He heard her musical voice so clearly. "Hello, sweetheart!" he whispered aloud into the silence.


He opened his eyes as he thought he heard her voice. It sounded so sweet, yet so far away. He knew it couldn't be her no matter how much he wished it so. It must have been one of the miners still clinging to life. There were only four of them left alive. At least he hoped they were still with him. He gazed into the blackness and imagined the ceiling studded with stars. The sound came again… still faint. This time he was sure he heard a voice calling.

"Hello!" The distant voice called again.

"Cara?" he whispered? And then he saw the star again.

Against the black sky of the mine ceiling a small star appeared. It grew larger as he gazed at it. The light was so beautiful. Suddenly, it seemed that he could breathe again! As the star grew brighter he realized he could see. The silhouettes of the other men slowly emerged from the dark. He heard the sounds of metal and men. Against all odds, rescuers had come! They'd opened a small hole.

Hope poured through it!

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