Sunday, September 30, 2007

Prompt 4.1 If I should die before I wake..../Writers Muses

Vukovar 1991...

"Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the lord my soul to keep, if I should die..." Kneeling next to his young daughter as she recited her prayers, Luka found his attention wandering as the sound of mortars began outside. How close would they come tonight?

"Tata, you're not listening." Jasna tugged at his sleeve, forcing him back into the room with her.

"I'm sorry, baby, go on." He brushed his hand over her hair, before folding them in front of him.

"If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. God bless Mama, and Tata, and Marko...Amen." She turned her dark eyes to her father as she finished, the look of worry on her face meant for one much older.

"Amen." Luka echoed her response before sitting back and pulling her onto his lap.

"What's wrong, Jasna?" As he held her it was impossible to ignore the tremble that ran through her each time an explosion sounded outside.

"I don't want God to take me yet." The five year old struggled to hold back the tears that seemed ready to burst forth at any moment.

"Oh, baby, God isn't going to take you." Luka pulled her into his arms, holding her tightly as he tried to find the words he needed to reassure her of her safety even as he knew it was something he had no control over.

"It's just a prayer, baby, Tata will keep you safe." He tightened his hold, rocking her as her tears broke, then continued to hold her with his cheek pressed against her hair, whispering the words over and over until she finally fell asleep.

"Tata will keep you safe." He could only hope that it would be a promise he could keep for her.

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