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Larry E Heck

The young lady stood next to a handcart somewhere in the wilderness. 

“So cold … so very cold!” 

The baby in her arms was wrapped tightly in the only blankets she had.  She held it tightly to her body in an effort to keep it warm.  “Her body shivered.  She stumbled as if she might fall, but caught herself and hugged the baby tighter.”

“I’ll get the tent up?” a young man said as he stepped up beside her.  He was dressed in worn and tattered clothes that had obviously been patched many times.  Snow from the ground around them had caked onto his pants all the way up to his knees and was frozen solid.

She turned to him and tried to smile but her face felt frozen.  “Thank you, Josh,” she said barely above a whisper.  Her free hand automatically went to the locket on the chain around her neck.  It had the only remaining photo of her husband.  He had been found frozen to death the morning after pulling their handcart across the Platte River.  Since that time, Josh, the teenage son of another family had pulled her handcart and helped her and her baby survive.  “What is this place?”

Josh pulled the tent out of the handcart and tucked it under his arm, “It’s called Sixth Crossing.”

Suddenly, the scene around her began to fade as if a heavy mist was forming.  Josh turned to her but simply faded into the mist.  She looked down at the baby in her arms but it was gone.  The only thing remaining visible was the locket in her hand; then it faded away.

“No-o-o-o,” she groaned as she also faded into the mist.

“No-o-o-o,” Jesse Draw found himself saying as he sat up in bed with a jerk.  He was sweating but still felt cold.  It took a moment for his senses to return from a deep sleep.  “No-o-o,” he repeated with a groan.  He leaned forward with his eyes cupped in his hands.  He whispered, “Not again.”

Jesse did not see the faint image of a woman standing near the window to his room.  He did not know she was the ghost of an ancestor who died in 1846.  She was trying to deliver a message to him revealing the ancestry he never knew.

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