Anna woke up and looked around without moving. She saw a small room, with curtains swaying in the breeze at the window. She was in a small bed, covered in light-colored sheets.
“I’m so thirsty,” she said out loud.
Moving her mouth to speak caused her pain.
She was very confused. She couldn’t remember ever seeing this room before, and she had no idea how she got there.
The last thing I remember is going to sleep on the train, she thought. Or was I on a train? Was it all just a bad dream? Nothing made any sense to her.
As she listened, she heard a man’s voice somewhere outside her room singing and humming, but it was a voice that she did not recognize. The words were not words that she had heard before, neither was the melody familiar. However, the song had a soothing lyrical quality to it that comforted her.
As she listened to the song, she also heard crickets and birds outside, and the leaves of trees rustling in the breeze. The sounds were so peaceful, almost as if nature were singing along with the man’s voice. She could feel herself getting sleepy just listening to the melody.
She blinked her eyes in an effort to focus on what was going on around her. That made her face hurt again, but this time she expected it so it was tolerable.
She wanted to just go back to sleep and never wake up, but now that she was awake she was not comfortable. Her leg ached, almost as if someone were sitting on it. She tried to move it, and the searing pain caused her to whimper and her eyes to water. She tried to move her arm to wipe her eyes, and the searing pain was there too.
Lying still so the pain would go away, she realized that the singing had stopped. A movement at the door to the room caught her attention. She tried to look that direction without moving her head.
“Hello my Anna. You are awake. How are you feeling? Praise the Lord, for He is good. His mercy endureth forever,” a man said with a heavily-accented, lyrical voice. It was the same voice that she heard singing before.
She studied his appearance for a moment without speaking. He appeared to be an older black-skinned man, with short cropped white hair and white beard stubble on his chin. He was wearing nondescript, light-colored clothes, and seemed of an average build. His eyes caught her attention. They almost glowed as he looked at her. She finally realized that he must be waiting for something, maybe an answer to a question. She didn’t remember him asking a question.
“Who are you? Do I know you?” she whispered. Her throat was dry, and it made talking difficult.
“There should be time for questions later, my child. How do you feel?” he asked.
Maybe he’s Caribbean, she thought. Definitely a different accent, yet wonderful to listen to.
“My face hurts when I move it. And my leg and arm are just throbbing,” she explained.
“That is excellent. It is no wonder that they hurt if you moved them, my Anna. They are healing. Pain is the reminder that healing is needed. Praise God for pain! It would be best not to move those injured limbs yet. Are you thirsty?”
All at once Anna remembered that she was extremely thirsty. Her need for water was greater than her need for answers. He was holding a pitcher and a cup that she had not noticed before. He poured what looked like water into the cup and inserted a bent straw so she could drink without sitting up.
He came close to her with the cup of water, and she smelled a fragrance of wildflowers and honey – or maybe it was almonds and cinnamon. She emptied the first cup of water through the straw. He poured another.
“You smell good,” she said quietly between breaths.
He did not answer, but merely held the cup for her to drink again. This time she did not drink it all.
When she stopped drinking, he told her kindly, “You should eat to build up your strength.”
He set the pitcher and glass down on the table next to the bed, and picked up a bowl of soup.
“If you will allow me, I will feed you,” he offered.
“Sure,” she whispered, looking into his eyes. There was not a trace of danger or shadows in this stranger’s face, just the pure look of innocence, like that of an infant child. Somehow she knew that he was here to help her, and that she could trust him completely. He spooned soup into her mouth. It seemed hot at first, but she quickly adjusted to the temperature. It was some type of vegetable soup. It tasted good – salty, but not too salty.
After tasting the soup she realized she was also extremely hungry. She wondered how long it had been since she last ate.
As he fed her, she continued looking at his face and his eyes. They were eyes like she had never seen before – neither hideous nor attractive, just absolutely fascinating. Without speaking, those eyes seemed to tell her to not be afraid. Like a baby, she opened her mouth to accept each bite, and swallowed the mouthful without talking.
When she finished the bowl of soup, he asked, “Do you desire more?”
“Water,” she answered.
The water tasted so good. Her eyelids grew very heavy as she said, “I think I’ll sleep now.”
“Sleep my child and heal.” His lyrical voice soothed her thoughts and calmed her fears. A melody quietly filled the room, as she fell asleep.
Again Anna woke up in the same bed and looked around. This time the sun was shining in a different part of the room, illuminating the table beside the bed. Sitting on the table was the pitcher and a glass.
Without moving, Anna tried to take a survey of her body, wondering what the dark-skinned man had meant about her need for healing. What happened to me? Why am I in this bed, and where am I exactly? Was I in some kind of an accident? I don’t remember being in an accident. Where are Jackson and Matt? This guy that is taking care of me - how does he know me? Should I know him?
In the midst of her pondering over the unanswered questions, Samu-el entered the room without a sound. Anna saw him out of the corner of her vision and decided to try to find out some answers to the questions. Before she could ask, however, he spoke first with his heavily-accented voice.
“You are awake, my child, that is good. Are you thirsty?” he asked her.
“Yes,” she answered. After drinking the water he offered her from the cup, she asked him, “Where am I? What happened?”
“What do you remember?” he asked.
“I remember being on a train, at least I think I was on a train. After that, it’s all blank until I woke up in this bed. Where am I?”
“You are in Samu-el’s care,” he answered, as if that totally explained the situation.
“How did I get here?” she asked, hoping to open up the conversation to get more details.
“Andri-el brought you to me.”
He acted like that fully explained the situation also. However, his answers were not helping her understand any better.
“I remember being on the train with Jackson. I was on the train wasn’t I?”
“Yes, you were on the train with Jackson, going toward the state of Florida.”
“Then where is Jackson?” she asked, closing her eyes against the pain in her leg and arm that came in thick waves, threatening to overwhelm her.
“Jackson is Home,” Samu-el said without further explanation.
“Why did he leave me?”
“Do you remember anything about your time on the train?” Samu-el asked.
“Am I in Florida?”
“What day is it?”
“Today is what you call Thursday. You have been here with Samu-el for almost two days.”
“Why does my arm and leg hurt so much?” she almost screamed, wincing from the pain.
“They were injured. For now it would be best to hold still and try not to move them.”
“Are you a doctor?” she asked.
“Samu-el is a healer,” was his only explanation, although he smiled and almost laughed at her question.
“Who did you say brought me here?”
“Andri-el brought you to me,” Samu-el answered.
“Who is Andriel?” Anna asked.
“You do not know Andri-el? How is that possible? How can eyes that see the physical world so plainly see so little else beyond it? That has always been a great mystery to me. They truly see through a glass darkly, my Lord. Open her eyes so that she may see Thy hand at work.”
Almost at once Anna looked and saw the woman with bright blonde hair standing beside Samu-el. At the same time she heard yelling and screaming outside the walls of her room.
“Do not listen to the noise, my Anna. He cannot enter,” the woman reassured her.
“Who are you,” Anna asked quietly.
“My name is Andri-el. I brought you here to be in Samu-el’s care while you are healing.”
“Is this a dream?” Anna wondered out loud. “I must be sleeping or loosing my mind.”
“It is no dream, my Anna,” the woman laughed. “Nor are you loosing your mind. Do you not remember me?”
“Actually, now that you mention it, your face does look familiar somehow, yet not really – almost as if you are a person from my past. Were you a friend of my parents?”
The woman smiled a gentle smile as she answered. “You are almost correct, my Anna. You did see me as a child. I held your hand as you walked out of your parents’ house for the last time many years ago.”
Anna closed her eyes, letting the memories resurface. There was a loud roar from the airplane. There was a loud crash. There was a woman that spoke gently to her. Yes, there was a woman that held her hand. Yes, maybe that woman did look like this woman.
“Samuel said you brought me here,” Anna continued. “How is it possible that you’re always around when I need help?”
“Have you considered that maybe I am simply always around, whether you need help or not?”
Anna thought about that for a minute. Surely this must be either a dream or a hallucination. But I may as well ask some more questions to see what I can find out, she decided.
“What happened to me? Why am I lying here in this bed, barely able to move, and every movement causes intense pain in my leg and arm?” Anna asked either of them.
“What do you remember, my Anna?” Andri-el answered.
“That’s what Samuel keeps asking me. And why do you keep calling me ‘my Anna’?”
“Because you are my Anna.”
“Are you my mother? Have you come back from the dead to watch over me?”
“No, my Chosen Princess, I am not your mother. I was there before your mother went Home, and I am here afterwards.”
The noise outside reached a crescendo, getting Anna’s attention again. “What’s all that racket outside?” she asked. “Who’s doing all that yelling, and what are they yelling about?”
“That is Lu-seth. Pay him no mind. His opinion of himself is larger than it should be, therefore he yells loudly to try and overcompensate.” Andri-el laughed at the absurdity as she indicated with her hands how small he really is.
“Is he yelling at me?” Anna asked.
“Do not concern yourself with him, my Anna, or his reasons for yelling. Samu-el keeps him from coming inside. Just rest and be at peace. Your body is healing. Soon you should be back to normal.” Andri-el’s voice and manner were a great comfort to Anna.
“Why can’t I remember what happened to me?”
“When a person’s body goes through a great trauma, like you have been through, then maybe it is best that they do not remember right away. But do not worry. Maybe you will eventually remember the details that you search for. Then you can fit the pieces together like a puzzle.
“You should rest now, my Anna,” Andri-el told her. She touched Anna’s forehead with her hand. Andri-el’s hand felt incredibly warm, almost hot, against Anna’s skin. A great feeling of peace settled over her as she closed her eyes. Andri-el’s face remained in her vision even with her eyes closed.
As she was falling asleep, Anna heard Andri-el whisper, “Remember the words of our Lord – I will never leave you nor forsake you.” The room got suddenly quiet, and when Anna opened her eyes she did not see Andri-el anymore. Samu-el was also no longer in the room. She closed her eyes and went to sleep, so happy that the yelling had stopped.