What’s the thing you’re most scared to do? What would it take to get you to do it?
Ella’s heart pounded so hard it felt as if it would burst out of her chest. Cold sweat beaded her forehead, the palms of her hands, and the back of her neck. Never, ever had she expected to have to face this situation, but here she was–and no one else was there to take her place.
Her eyes were fixed on two things that were much to close together. One was her three-year-old granddaughter. The other was the hideous, hissing thing coiled in the corner. Not yet rattling it’s tail or rearing to strike, she knew that could happen in a flash.
She quietly called to her mop-headed granddaughter. “Eva, hush. Take one step backward. Follow my voice. Do not turn around. Do not run. Good girl. Ok, now one more step backward. Good. Quietly, Sweetheart. One more step. You’re almost here, Honey. Slow, quiet. One more step–okay, I have you!”
Shuddering with relief, Ella pushed Eva behind her, facing the snake in the corner with such fear and loathing that she thought she would faint. She couldn’t, though. If she did, it would be over for both her and her sweet granddaughter.
She began the slow backing up process, pushing Eva with one hand and reaching for the door with the other. She knew she was close, but the monster in the corner would come so fast that it wouldn’t matter if they were only one step away from the door. They’d still be in striking range.
“Gramma, I bumped the door!” squeaked Eva. Shivering, Ella reached for the knob, backed herself and Ella through the door, and slammed the door shut behind her.
She turned, picked Eva up and held her so close the child could hardly get a breath. Leaning back against the door, she worked at gathering up her strength to get out of the house and go for help.
The slithering sound raised the hairs on the back of her neck, and she was suddenly spurred by a rush of adrenaline that had her racing out the front door and down the lane. “Not bad for an old lady,” she thought.
She was hollering her neighbor’s name as she climbed the steps. Sue came to the door, looking concerned when she saw Ella carrying Eva.
“Is she hurt?” Sue asked.
“No, but there’s a rattler in the house. Please. Call someone. I can’t go back in there!”
“Well, shoot, Honey. Just let me grab my pistol and we’ll take care of that nasty thing.”
And she did.