Have you ever been so scared that you wanted to jump out of your skin? What did you do to feel safe again?
In the story I’m about to tell, you’ll hear what one woman did to cope with her worst nightmare.
Sally, forty-five years of age, was a kid again, coasting atop her blue bike as her short brown hair whisked away from her face. It wasn’t easy keeping pace with her husband, John, as he whirled across the hot, black asphalt past the familiar haunts he knew as a boy. They rode by the old Mitchell barn and then turned sharply onto Eagle Creek Road. There they could see rolling hills topped with fresh, green fields of grass and golden seas of wheat. The road snaked so much that Sally felt as if she were a penny circling in a wishing well. The evening breeze cooled the skin on her arms, while her mind was happily at peace.
Suddenly, her mood snapped to the sound of a yapping dog. Uh, oh. John was already way ahead, so that left her to face the vicious looking, gray mongrel standing his ground about fifty feet away. Luckily, he didn’t move past a certain spot in the grass. “Ah,” she thought,” an invisible fence. “Thank God for that!” She gulped a breath of air and bore down until she reached the next straightaway.
John yelled back, “Hold on, we’re going down a big hill.” Immediately, he curled his broad shoulders over the handle bars to increase his speed.
Sally, instead, squeezed her brakes, which had the effect of jerking her forward. Now, her jaw clamped down hard as she held her breath. The winding road below looked like a gray ribbon as she speedily rolled past a white clapboard house. Then, her mind began to race: “What if I crash into a mailbox? What if a car pulls out from a driveway and I can’t stop?” Suddenly, she was frozen. “God, I’m scared!” she mumbled under her breath, “protect me. Put angels around me.” Her grip on the handlebars tightened even more as she inwardly fought to let go of her fear.
By now, John had disappeared. He probably had free-rolled the entire length of the hill. She knew he’d laugh and say, “Oh, little Miss Prissy. She’s afraid to go fast.”
He’d be right. Sally hit the brakes like a nervous twitch down the sharply curved hill all the way past the hidden driveway sign. The same defenseless feeling came back until she could see the road bottoming out. Then, she let the bike go and smiled when she saw John waiting at the stop sign.
“Come on, slow poke,” he said, his bright red shirt thoroughly soaked. “Now, we have to ride back up the hill. We’ll take a longer, but less steep road.”
Sally didn’t mind the grueling trip back, even when her legs cramped and she had to get off the bike and push it. She was feeling more carefree, even though her lungs ached by the time she reached the top of the hill. “The car’s just one bend away, keep going,” she told herself as she focused on the tiny moon craters in the asphalt.
But she wasn’t home-free yet. Out of nowhere she heard a growl. Then she saw it, a Dantean nightmare, its fierce eyes almost as scary as its snarling, bared fangs. A sickening, powerless feeling grew with each slow loop of the pedals. A pit bull was heading her way! John had slowed, but the dog wasn’t interested in his tall, powerful body. There was only one thing on the menu, and she seemed to be it—a human-sized dog biscuit.
What she saw next was definitely not what she expected! Out of nowhere, a shepherd-collie mix dashed out, grabbed the pit bull by the neck and threw it onto its back. Then, the fair-haired dog staked its large paw on the pit bull’s belly and held it down until she passed by.
The wheels on the bike continued to roll, even though Sally had stopped pedaling. The memory of what had just happened whirled about in her brain. Did she just see that? Finally, after a few feint breaths, a smile creased her lips.
God had just sent her a four-legged angel with blond hair!